Month: July 2005

  • The Babu hearts Manguel

    Been reading Alberto Manguel’s A Reading Diary; the man would be the King of Litblog if he ever tried. From the introduction: Reading is a comfortable, solitary, slow and sensuous task. Writing used to share some of these qualities. However, in recent times the profession of writing has acquired something of the ancient professions of […]

  • Quoth the raven…

    Chris Gibson updates Poe’s raven: “Deep into the monitor peering, long I sat there wond’ring, fearing,Doubting, while the disk kept churning, turning yet to churn some more.“Save!” I said, “You cursed mother! Save my data from before!”One thing did the phosphors answer, only this and nothing more,Just, “Abort, Retry, Ignore?”

  • Harry, Scotter?

    Trust the TLS: “A bibliomane friend from North of the border has sent us The Singer Passes, a collection of poems published in Glasgow in 1934. The author is Harry Potter. Greater Rowlingologists than we have no doubt pondered the question of how the bespectacled boy got his name, but none, so far as we […]

  • Old books never die…

    …they just mate at night while you’re not looking, which is why there is never any space on the bookshelves. The New York Times reports on the used books market: “Consider a recent paper, “Internet Exchanges for Used Books,” by Anindya Ghose of New York University and Michael D. Smith and Rahul Telang of Carnegie-Mellon. […]

  • Read ’em and weep

    Candida Crewe offers hope to the serially rejected. Call The Babu a cynic, but he can sense the rushing sound of a thousand three-volume manuscripts being mailed her way even as he types: On the first day of my new job in the editorial department of a small publishing house, I found a note from […]

  • Just shoot the critic and get it over with

    Adam Langer offers a guide to The Seven Deadly Reviews, ranging from the Philip-Roth-is-Nathan-Zuckerman-Fundamental-Error to the Boneheaded Comparison. “Once, when I was interviewing the Australian singer-songwriter Paul Kelly, I informed him that his publicist had praised him as “a literate John Cougar Mellencamp.” Kelly snorted. “Great,” he said (or “grite” as he pronounced it). “I […]

  • Gurudev in the Land of the Free Lunch

    Amardeep’s posted on Tagore at Sepia Mutiny. “The story of Tagore in America is still instructive, and I think we’ve seen versions of it again –- with the rapid rise and quick declines in popularity of people like Deepak Chopra (note: he’s now making ‘spiritual’ video games), and perhaps even Arundhati Roy. (If you benefit […]

  • Baby, you can drive my… carburetor

    The results of the Bulwer-Lytton Annual Fiction Contest are in: “As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire, highly functional yet pleasingly formed, perched prominently on top of the intake manifold, aching for experienced hands, the small knurled caps of the oil dampeners begging […]

  • Yeah, but on the inside I’m laughing

    Howard Jacobson pleads for the return of the novel to that first fine careless taste of irresponsibility:“The first novels ever written were novels that made us laugh. We laugh rarely when we’re reading now, aloud or to ourselves. The blockbusters which people take to the beach, like the novels solemnified by 9/11 – though those […]

  • SV: The most feared book in the world

    (First published in Speaking Volumes, Business Standard, July 26, 2005) Even though eighty years have elapsed since he wrote it, Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf is still legally banned in Germany. And we fear the ghost of Hitler so greatly that few wish to mark, or even acknowledge, the anniversary of Mein Kampf ‘s publication. You […]