Category: Booklove

  • Column: “It was a pleasure to burn”

    Column: “It was a pleasure to burn”

    I wrote about Fahrenheit 451, and a world gone mad from junk, for the Financial Times this week: “In Bradbury’s novel, books are outlawed in a time saturated by mindless television, loud and banal radio streams, where people fear books, silence, pedestrians. Montag’s wife Mildred, shifting between hours of watching TV shows and mowing down […]

  • Book Review: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

    Book Review: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

    an elegy for a bulldozed world, Roy’s instincts placing her once again on the side of the outcasts, challenging Delhi’s infamous ‘insider’ culture by foregrounding a far more interesting set of city insiders.

  • Bob, or the Book of Books, and the pleasure of lists

    Bob, or the Book of Books, and the pleasure of lists

      This week’s column for the Financial Times is about Pamela Paul’s My Life With Bob – an account of the slim, no-frills notebook where she kept the simplest of records, logging the names of all the books she read, from 1988 onwards. So simple, and yet so revealing, if you can bring yourself to […]

  • Speaking Volumes: Afterwards

    Speaking Volumes: Afterwards

    In a world where entire sections of the population embrace the politics of hate and anger, acquiring power through the careful nurturing of grudges and grievance, it is not an ordinary act to choose the path of radical love: on Antoine Leiris’ You Will Not Have My Hate.

  • The Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize: shortlists from 2008

    The Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize: shortlists from 2008

    The prize was set up to “encourage authors from the subcontinent” in honour of Shakti Bhatt, writer and editor of Bracket Books, who passed away after a brief illness on March 31, 2007, at the age of 26. For authors, this is a very special prize — because it’s the only Indian prize for first […]

  • Translations: Falling Walls, Upendranath Ashk

    Translations: Falling Walls, Upendranath Ashk

    (Introducing a monthly column on books in translation. The only rule the column plans to follow is on language: if the book under review is from one of the three Indian language I can read, I will attempt a comparison with the original. If a book under review is from one of the many Indian […]

  • Speaking Volumes: The Pleasure of Reading

    Speaking Volumes: The Pleasure of Reading

    There is a word for the awkward way people stand when examining other people’s bookshelves: ahenny. Douglas Adams made it up, and it is best used like this: “She was standing ahenny when he entered; he understood at once that he had been judged for his books and found wanting.” I wish some other benefactor […]

  • Booklove: The Sound of Things Falling

    Booklove: The Sound of Things Falling

    (Published in the Business Standard, June 16, 2014) It is only once in a while that animal tragedies impinge on human consciousness: the pathos of their suffering has to be extreme in order to jump the queue of human misery. Some weeks ago, a Copenhagen zoo culled Marius, a giraffe with the soft nose and […]

  • Speaking Volumes: The listener and the storyteller

    Speaking Volumes: The listener and the storyteller

    (Published in the Business Standard, June 2, 2014) http://blogs.wfmt.com/offmic/2014/05/28/web-exclusive-maya-angelou/ In 1970, an interviewer whose collection of oral narratives would transform North America’s sense of history had a long chat with an author whose memories of her own history would transform the lives of thousands across the world. The recording of that interview between Studs Terkel […]

  • Booklove: KD Singh, Delhi’s gentle bookseller

    Booklove: KD Singh, Delhi’s gentle bookseller

    (Published in the Business Standard, May 26, 2014) The Book Shop in Delhi was a lot like the magical places of fantasy described in the books it carried: larger on the inside than it seemed from the outside. The space it occupied in the lives of city readers was far broader than the compact premises […]