Category: the art of reading

  • Journal: Reading with intent

    Journal: Reading with intent

    There was a time in my twenties and thirties when I read (or speed-read) about 30-40 books a month, as part of my job as a book reviewer and columnist. In some weeks, the number of books I read ran higher than 10, though 15 was the maximum I could safely attempt. People almost always […]

  • Book review: The Possessed, Elif Batuman

    (This review was written at high speed, and I wish I’d done more justice to Batuman’s book. The Possessed sent me back to the Russian classics after a decade, and what Batuman does is make you read the books as though you’re reading them again for the first time. Review published in the Business Standard, […]

  • Book review: The Groaning Shelf, by Pradeep Sebastian

    (Published in Biblio, July 2011.)The Groaning Shelf and other instances of book lovePradeep SebastianHachette India, Rs 395, 295 pagesISBN: 978-93-80143-03-3In 1994, the Internet in India was an infant, alien presence, and to log on was akin to conducting an arcane temple ritual. With sufficient patience and enough supplication, the creaking modems of those days might […]

  • JLF: The Old Woman and The Cats, read by JM Coetzee

    “You have held an Indian audience silent for over forty five minutes…”Of all the discussions, debates and readings at the festival, this was my favourite, because it was such a pure reading. Coetzee offered only a brief introduction, took no questions; this was not the usual ten-minute excerpt, either. Only poets read a complete piece […]

  • The BS column: The reading life: Gandhi, Ambedkar, Nehru

    (Published in the Business Standard, August 17, 2010) As another August 15 passes by, here’s a thought: what would our country have been like if the leaders of the freedom movement had not been readers? It’s easier to see them as writers. Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiographies, letters and other work have provided gainful occupation for thousands […]

  • Jaipur Literature Festival: Vikram Chandra

    On technique: “If you’re a writer or a sportsman, if you’ve ever practiced a sport, you’ll notice that at first you get worse. That’s because you’re becoming aware of the technique involved, whether it’s writing or a sport. Then you practice some more and then you get better. There’s a balance between learning technique and […]