Month: June 2003

  • The interview that interviews itself: the Melbourne Age meets a media-weary, media-wary Jonathan Franzen. The Babu feels for them both. A close cousin of this sort of interview is the bikini interview, as illustrated by the Rediff take on Aniruddha Bahal–one that appears to cover all the main points, while concealing everything of any importance.

  • Who cares who killed Roger Ackroyd? Pradeep Sebastian does, and explains why.

  • Arundhati Roy is now an acknowledged icon for the protestors converging in Switzerland and France to register their rejection of G-8; her writings provide the oxygen they need. (The Babu warns against calling her a “poster girl” for the movement; he hears from singed interviewers that Roy objects to the phrase, and quite correctly too.) […]

  • Just how numerically illiterate does The Guardian think its readers are? This report claims that Philip Pullman has outdone J K Rowling in terms of UK sales figures. Take a closer look at the fine print: Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, as in all three books combined, outsells any individual Potter book. The Babu plans […]

  • The Babu isn’t sure whether the “coincidences” between Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and Lewis Purdue’s Daughter of God are striking enough to be called plagiarism: this could be just the classic nightmare where two authors stumble on the same ideas. Read the article and decide for yourself; or better yet, read the books […]

  • “One finds a number of curious stories being peddled to schoolchildren: Aryans sallying out from India to settle Iran, Homer adapting ‘The Iliad from the Ramayana, Christ roaming the Himalayas in search of Hindu wisdom. These claims will sound unlikely even to the hardened Indophile, but they are being promoted in government-sponsored textbooks, columns by […]

  • Perhaps poets are best met in poems, says Uma Mahadevan-Dasgupta, reviewing Eunice de Souza’s second foray into fiction. De Souza may be miffed at the general opinion of her prose, but she may be consoled by the knowledge that her poetry is reckoned far superior. She will never rank among the egomaniacs or paranoid amateurs […]

  • As usual, the Babu will be forced to mete and dole links to The Hindu’s Literary Review in order to make the issue stretch over an entire month. He can’t resist pointing you in the direction of this essay by Amitava Kumar: “When history has been turned to ashes, what remains in its place is […]

  • The Babu plans to spend his weekend catching up with the New York Times list of essential summer reading. It’s classic NYT: predictable but inoffensive.

  • To do is to bee, to bee is to do, and the Babu bets you anything you like that Sai Gunturi is humming the punch line (“Do bee do bee do”) after winning the 2003 Spelling Bee. Here’s a list of champions and their winning words, and if you want to know what they mean, […]