Month: July 2003

  • Vikram Seth’s got what he wanted. If you’re jibbing at the figure–over one million pounds for a non-fiction memoir of his great-uncle–reflect on this. Hillary Clinton picked up an advance of eight million dollars for her mayonnaise (it’s bland, but it spreads in all directions) memoir; I’m willing to bet that Mr Seth’s book will […]

  • * The Babu drew a deep breath and uttered a sharp ‘Tchah’ (try this sometime, it’s harder than it sounds) when he read this non-story in the New York Times, breathlessly headlined Harry Potter and the Internet Pirates. What Amy Harmon neglected to mention was that illegal Potter downloads are available on a relatively minuscule […]

  • Roz Kaveney takes Hitch down. (Link found on Bookslut.)

  • The Babu used to think that “pre-approved” was a term used in conjunction with “credit card” or “home loan”. Turns out that there are “pre-approved” books as well (* From the Daily Telegraph). It’s called the art of blurbing, though America, home of the euphemism, knows it as “advance praise”–but the Babu prefers Pico Iyer’s […]

  • MobyLives is for angry nobodies? New York Magazine, say you’re sorry. (Nope, the Babu doesn’t know any of the good souls over at MobyLives. He notes that he finds far more articles of interest at MobyLives than in New York Magazine. Besides, there’s a leap of logic involved here: New York Magazine also carried an […]

  • What is an Australian Bearded Dragon? The winner of this year’s Bulwer-Lytton contest owns one. Marian Simms is also an expert on cheese, as her winning entry makes clear: “They had but one last remaining night together, so they embraced each other as tightly as that two-flavor entwined string cheese that is orange and yellowish-white, […]

  • “She had many books left to write”: Pulitzer Prize winner Carol Shields died today, after a long battle with breast cancer. Tributes have been pouring in: The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, a 2002 interview from The Guardian and CTV.

  • Salute Tim Adams: he read everything on Britain’s bestseller list in the space of a week. He wrote this report with what was left of his brains.

  • “But rhetoric is not the preserve of politicians, and sometimes the best of it comes from what we might call the professional margins: not the government, still less the lackey columnists or think-tank CV-padders, but the denizens of what used to be known as Grub Street. Smartypants hacks, in other words, masters of clever polemic […]

  • Sagarika Ghose, author of The Gin Drinkers and rumoured to be almost delivered of her second novel, reports from the Muslim heartland.