“There was a flash and all of a sudden Madonna found that she was sitting in a beautiful garden surrounded by piles of books with her name on the cover. Why, when Fairy Andrew held up a mirror, she found she even looked like an author! Her incredible hair was swept up into an intellectual chignon; she wore spectacles and a prim, faux-vintage shift, just like Enid Potter or Beatrix Blyton might have done in the olden days. “But,” Madonna whispered to Andrew, “but… I don’t even like books.”

“Trust me,” responded that kind fairy. “They’ll never guess.”‘

If you read just one thing today, let this be it. The Babu wants a public service medal for Catherine Bennett.

Apologies for missing this one: “Another category is snarky commentary on the shallowness of modernity, dressed up in novel form: Key practitioners are David Foster Wallace, Dave Eggers, Jonathan Franzen, et al. There are other categories, but it fatigues me to list them.

Here’s what I do want points for: These are not novels. They are essays, maybe even newspaper columns, sometimes glorified diary entries, stretched out to unconscionable length and price.”

The Babu’s often been asked why he doesn’t post reviews on Kitabkhana, to which he offers a purely mercenary answer (“pay me!”). Over at 2blowhards, One Blowhard goes into the question more seriously as he should, since he’s a genuine, bona fide culture-blogger. (The Babu runs Kitabkhana as a sort of storehouse for links he’d forget about otherwise; any intellectual comment that emerges in the process is an unintended by-product, sort of like those conversations you have over a late-night cup of coffee.) The discussion over there’s worth jumping into.

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