Month: December 2008

  • What elephants! What tigers!

    William Radice writes a well-meaning review of The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets:“Their poems start to rub up against each other, more interestingly and movingly in this anthology than in any other I have seen.” Radice is an old India hand, but the rest of the review is illuminating because of his annoying assumptions […]

  • The McCrum scale

    In Robert McCrum’s column on the best of the year’s fiction, he tackles the logrolling issue by offering full disclosure on the degree of his relationship with each author on a scale of 0-10, with 0 being “don’t know at all”, 9 being “very close” and 10, which no author gets, being presumably “she and […]

  • Speaking Volumes: 2008’s best fiction

    (I know: best-of-the-year lists are the ultimate cliche, the lazy columnist’s easy standby, and I’ve been doing them since 2002, so I should know. The truth is I like doing them for entirely selfish reasons: they give me an excuse to potter around my bookshelves, page back in my reading diary and reconnect with books […]

  • Speaking Volumes: Reading in a time of terror

    In the days just after the Mumbai attacks, reading is the last thing on my mind. Like most of the people I know, I’m reading not books but blogs, Twitter feeds, the newspapers. In the course of time, we read the lists of the dead, dreading the moment when our eyes will snag on a […]

  • Speaking Volumes: Kill all the (wo)men

    (This was supposed to be a gentle ode to the joys of reading books in connected series, rather than in isolation, but I got caught up with Manjula Padmanabhan’s Escape and its predecessors. As sometimes happens, I discovered later that I’d drawn on information I’d first researched for a column written many years ago, but […]

  • The Food Club: Changing palates

    (Some time ago, the Business Standard asked me to do an offbeat food column. It’s still finding its feet, but it’s a lot of fun to write.) Mention “eating healthy” to most normal people and they automatically think “deprivation”. The idea of dieting in any form, whether you’re a diabetic, a heart patient or a […]

  • Speaking Volumes: A legend at lunch

    Getting older has its privileges, if very few of them. One is the pleasure of meeting an author who has shaped your world view over the course of decades. Back in the 1990s, Nadine Gordimer had an unexpected effect on the narrow world of Delhi University’s students. She was often cited, her works were passed […]