Month: July 2003

  • James Long isn’t sure he likes being Will Davenport as well. But it’s the throwaway line about the clause in his contract that sends shivers down the Babu’s spine: is this really how corporatised publishing has become? “Story-telling, which for me is the entire purpose of writing, has been carved up into genres imposed as […]

  • Placed in the awkward position of writing a history textbook that was subsequently authored by others (think of overwriting on palimpsests), Saradindu Mukherji poses a few questions about the manner in which the NCERT has dealt with him.

  • “The best writers are those who make the preternatural act of will that it takes to fend off cynicism and despair in the face of all-pervasive cant; to stay fresh, remain curious, and get it right. In this Waugh finally failed, as did Amis and Larkin: All three more or less died of boredom.” Katherine […]

  • * “I suspect that Eliot’s The Waste Land was written, much of it, when drunk.” A N Wilson explains why he never got around to writing Bin Ends, a book about writers and alcohol–it would have had to be subtitled The Never-Ending Story.

  • “It’s not the screws of the Nautilus you hear, but the combined sounds of Verne, H.G. Wells, Bram Stoker, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Robert Louis Stevenson, and H. Rider Haggard twirling rapidly in their graves.” The Boston Globe laments the dumbing down of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, or LXG as the film version is […]

  • The Guardian on why books are getting shorter. Odd, that: a short while ago, they had Blake Morrison on why books are getting longer. Might the Babu suggest that if one applies the law of averages, one comes to the conclusion that books are about as long, or as short, as they’ve ever been since […]

  • * It starts with Chaos, but then when you’re compiling an authoritative family tree for the denizens of Greek myth, you have to begin somewhere.

  • “Faced with a doctor’s waiting room full of patients with Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease or one of a dozen other dehumanizing illnesses, can we morally say we will not pursue our era’s most promising chance to relieve their misery?” Atul Gawande in the New York Times on a book that examines the debate over […]

  • “On our way back our companion pointed out signs that hung from posts on the pavement, black German words on a white background. I recognized only ‘Juden’ as common to them all. These signs were meant to remind you of the exact day when, say, Jews became barred from taking PhDs. Another proclaimed the date […]

  • Bhishm Sahni, actor: Saibal Chatterjee pays tribute, Saeed Mirza on the man he worked with, Govind Nihalani on Tamas.