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  • raven 12:10 PM on April 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Books, , Getting Back, ,   

    I had a bird once. Love of my life, she was. Fucked it up, of course. I thought there’d be time. Turns out there’s just road. Long unpaved, potholed. Read that once in a book. Go and get her, pal.

    Krull, to Hank Moody, in Californication (I’ll Lay My Monsters Down)
     
  • raven 5:10 PM on October 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bans, Books   

    The Indian Political Rule ‘Book’ 

    Ban This Book

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  • raven 5:02 PM on September 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Books, J.M. Coetzee, , Students, , Teaching, Young Readers   

    Books, Writing & Young Readers 

    ‘You sound critical.’
    ‘ I am only pointing to the obvious. If he hadn’t wasted so much of his life correcting students’ grammar and sitting through boring meetings, he might have written more, perhaps even bwritten better. But he was not a child. He knew what he was doing. He made his choice.’
    ‘On the other hand, being a teacher allowed him contact with a younger generation. Which he might not have had, had he withdrawn from the world and devoted himself solely to writing.’

    Interesting point in that last sentence. Wonder how current writers maintain contact with the younger generations. Or is that another reason why the younger generations have given up on reading books for leisure, with the exception of fantasy genre – the writers are so out of touch with them they can’t relate to any bit of the books.

     
  • raven 9:33 PM on September 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Books, , Immortal, , Writing   

    Why write? 

    A conversation about writing books, from the book ‘Summertime’ by J.M. Coetzee:

    ‘Do you really believe that? That books give meaning to our lives?’
    ‘Yes. A book should be an axe to chop open the frozen sea inside us. What else should it be?’
    ‘A gesture of refusal in the face of time. A bid for immortality.’

    There’s more: though it drags a little, I like the way it ends (after the break)

    (More …)

     
  • raven 1:48 AM on September 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Afterlife, Apologies, Books,   

    I hope that in the afterlife we will get a chance, each of us, to say our sorries to people we have wronged. I’ll have plenty of sorries to say, believe you me.

    J M Coetzee, in Summertime
     
    • Ms.N 7:10 AM on September 21, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I say, if you are not ready to do it in this life, u are likely not to do it in the next…

  • raven 1:47 AM on September 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Affair, Books, Fling, ,   

    What I was determined to avoid was emotional entanglement. A passing fling was one thing, an affair of the heart quite another.

    J M Coetzee, in Summertime
     
  • raven 10:32 AM on August 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Books, Builders, Good People, Greed, , Mob,   

    ‘He fell, sir. From the terrace. About one hour ago. They say it’s a suicide.’ ‘I thought it would be a push down the stairs, or a beating at night. That’s all.’ ‘I forgot we were dealing with good people, Shanmugham,’

    from ‘Last man in the tower’ by Arvind Adiga
     
    • Mithyavadini 2:06 PM on August 9, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Gaah! Would have liked it better if Mr. Adiga didn’t have such an obsession with scatology. And frankly I’ve said “What’s WRONG with Masterji?” so many times I wish I didn’t.

      And well, hello there! Been good?

    • raven 2:39 PM on August 9, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I think his obsession with scatology is good, given it’s in keeping with the reality of life in India (and much of developing world).

      Similarly with the odd, adamant behaviour of Masterji. I’ve seen shades of similar behaviour in many people in face of sudden change. Loved the characters of Masterji and Dharmen Shah. They were both heroes – one in his own honourable, eccentric ways, and the other in ways of the world.

      Otherwise, been good. How’ve you been?

      • मिथ्यावादी 6:36 AM on August 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        I loved Dharmen Shah’s character actually. And all through the end I kept wishing he would meet Master ji. But then all novels better not have a happy end. And then again how often do novels have a single end? They have many. – blabber warning –

        Otherwise, been good too. Thanks. Out of work actually :) hopefully this phase will stay long enough to have my work-rusted bain think about what I want to do and soon enough that savings won’t run out. And hopefully the thinking part will finish too. TC!

  • raven 12:49 AM on July 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, Amitava Ghosh, , Books, Bookstores, , River Of Smoke   

    Why the bookstore chains are dying 

    Two of my favourite authors have published new books this year and I’ve been waiting to read them for some time. The books:

    Last man in the tower by Arvind Adiga, and
    River of Smoke by Amitava Ghosh

    I ventured into the Waterstone’s store 100m from my house with an intention to buy the books. They had only the hardcover versions (expected) priced at £20 & ~£18. I wasn’t willing to pay that much for the books. Checked a few other books around, paperbacks all. None was cheaper than £7.99. Didn’t like anything much, so walked out.

    Came home and checked on Amazon – the £18 book was priced at £8.99 while the £20 book was available for £11.99 – new copies in hardcover. Immediately ordered the £8.99 book and added the other to wishlist for ordering after I’ve finished the current book and the ordered one. By then that book may be available in paperback too.

    P.S.: If the chain bookstores, with their scale, centralised buying and logistics networks can’t come close to competing with Amazon, how can the little, standalone guys survive? And frankly, I’ll miss the small, standalone neighbourhood bookstores a lot more than the likes of Borders and Waterstones

     
    • Ms.N 12:54 AM on July 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I agree… but I worry more about the hole in the wall libraries, with their musty smell of paper, gives me a high just to be in there…this is why in india, Amazon may still not do too well…. unfortunately, not many small neighbourhood bookstores here.

      howz u? how was R’s b’day?

      • Ms.N 12:55 AM on July 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Also – did u read hungry tide…? havent read his other works yet… but this was brilliant (IMHO). loved the darkness of the sunderbans and the interplay between the lead characters.

        • raven 1:02 AM on July 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

          That was the 1st one I read. Loved it. Then read the Glass Palace, Calcutta Chromosome, Circle of Reason, Shadow Lines, and most recently Sea of Opium. River of Smoke is 2nd part of a trilogy that started with Sea of Opium.

          His earlier three books are quite different from the later (Glass Palace & later) works. Anyway, I like them all… suggest you try Glass Palace next and if you like it too, then the others.

        • raven 1:03 AM on July 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

          And ya… I read Hungry Tide while studying in Calcutta. The sundarbans were never far ;)

          • Ms.N 1:19 AM on July 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

            ahhh. i read that book, and I WANT to go there. i loved Pia’s character… at some point growing up, i did fancy becoming a cpnservationist or something like that, and look where i am today.

            a friend told me some of his books are depressing, so wasnt sure what to pick up nxt.

            • raven 1:22 AM on July 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

              I won’t call them depressing but most of his books do have heavy shades of grey, much like life itself. If you want something lively, R can suggest a few chicklits ;)

              • Ms.N 1:24 AM on July 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

                fantastico… but whats the next best of his to go for? keep me company in sunny tioman

                • raven 1:29 AM on July 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

                  I’d say go with Glass Palace. It’s set in Burma, Ratnagiri (Konkan) and Calcutta.

                  After that you can dip into one of his earlier works… Calcutta Chromosome or Circle of Reason. If by the end of it you still like him, read anything and everything else he’s written :)

                • raven 1:30 AM on July 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

                  Ahmm… let me check if R will sponsor my return tickets. I’ll assume you’ll take care of all acco :D

      • raven 12:59 AM on July 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        That was quick!

        Hole in the wall libraries? Never used them. But even the bigger libraries are disappearing. The town I grew up in had 3-4 big libraries. 2 are already closed, one is surviving because of being govt owned while the last one is connected to a big school so has nowhere to go. All of them dying thanks to apathy towards reading amongst the majority.

        Amazon hasn’t been doing in India because they didn’t have a local presence. So, everything was priced in USD/GBP and shipped from abroad including customs. Success of flipkart has proved the model and now that Amazon is setting shop in India, things may deteriorate drastically for Indian bookshop chains too!

        • Ms.N 1:16 AM on July 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

          yes, i am one of those who subscribe to email alerts for ur posts…:D. couldnt get my mind to work in the morning today…. yea, libraries used to be the way to get my hands on books growing up… the one in chennai was Murugan – quite famous, but even they have become haughty now that they have ‘a/c’ and ‘computerised catalogues’!!!!!

          Agree – flipkart is doing well, but i guess books are in general quite cheap in india right? so, i may still go to crosswords or odyssey…

          • raven 1:26 AM on July 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

            They are cheap for you and me, not for ordinary folk. Moreover even the crosswords, odyssey and landmark are only in the top few metros. Further down, even availability of books at a town/city’s bookshops is a doubtful affair. This is where flipkart might bite. This is also where the big libraries could’ve been great given they can (and do) carry a much wider range than any shop.

            The consultant in me like what the flipkart and amazon are doing – weakening and dis-intermediating the gangs of middlemen with a stranglehold over almost all traded goods in India.

            • Ms.N 1:58 AM on July 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

              agree… :) i like landmarkonthenet too… ordered a few from there.. and odyssey/LM are hardly the cute quiant bookshops we enjoy.

      • raven 1:05 AM on July 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        I’m ok. Where’ve you disappeared? Haven’t heard from you in ages other than the SocGen PdF a few days back.

        R’s birthday was ok. She was away in Madrid and reached back only late evening. Went out for dinner, cut a small cake. Think she was happy. Or drunk. :)

        • Ms.N 1:11 AM on July 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

          haven’t disappeared lah. just a lot to do, work, trying to meet people so i wont shrivel up into a lonely woman in a buzzing city… and am sleepy for the most part with trying to get in to work by 7.30AM!!! other than that, been to borneo, bali, KL, tioman (:) :) )on the cards for next weekend. fotos on FB, i know u dont go there… but do!

          Madrid – work i presume? sounds like a nice b’day :) she probably was drunk!

          • raven 1:14 AM on July 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

            Hmm.. that’s quite a bit of travelling. Let’s swap places after a couple of years. Then you can go exploring Europe while we go around SE Asia :)

            FB… even if I wanted, I couldn’t go there. I deleted my account way back in 2008 and have no intentions of creating one.

            Yup, Madrid was on work. Btw, I hear you ditched me and are instead going straight to US!

            • Ms.N 1:18 AM on July 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

              yes, lets swap… thought i had seen enough of Europe, but not so it seems… ! BTW, i know i am not a fan of museums, but happy to tll R to see some. loved the one i saw in Rome!

              what is this about me going to the US straight? I am going nowhere that side unfortunately….

              • raven 1:31 AM on July 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

                R told me you gals are planning a get together in US (LV, I think) later this year.

                Where did museums come in from?

    • Ms.N 1:21 AM on July 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      hey – i seem to have lost ur uk number… ping it to me sometime, and ask R to get on to whatsapp too please? how is corsica plan for aug shaping up.

      • raven 1:33 AM on July 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Even I’m not on whatsapp anymore since I lost the android phone. I’ll have to set it up on her droid and then she’ll use it. Gimme a day :)

        Corsica plans cancelled. Everything on the island was either booked or way too expensive. Changed that to Ireland but now even that is out after some work came up for R in that week.

    • Ms.N 1:24 AM on July 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      ooops… didnt mean ‘I had seen enough of Europe’ – meant, i had had enough of Europe for now after 2 back to abck trips…

    • Blot 10:30 AM on July 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I surprised myself with how much I felt I had to say on the subject. :D I will limit myself to expressing my ardent curiosity at the future of the book world. Lots of developments rocking the publishing side; which way will the buying side ultimately go? TBH, today I’m really okay with a future without printed books or stores to buy them from. But even a couple of years back, I would have never imagined myself espousing this ‘blasphemy’.

  • raven 4:35 PM on January 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Books, generation gap, glass half empty, glass half full, ,   

    ‘Oh, come on, at your age the glass is half full.’ ‘No, it’s at your stage that the glass is half full. At my age we don’t want half a glass, full or empty. In fact we don’t want a glass, end of. We want a tankard and we want it overflowing. We are the have-everything generation, remember.’ ‘No, we’re the have-everything generation.’ ‘Well we’re the pissed generation then.’

    The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson
     
    • Ms.N 2:00 PM on January 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      i definitely thought this book had something to with the fin world, what with the title, the way it is, and a character named libor. just read the reviews – and how wrong i was!

      • raven 8:05 PM on January 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        It’s a beautiful book. No storyline at all, in case you’re looking for one. But the writing, the conversations.. they’re beautiful. Loving it.

        Read anything good recently?

        • Ms.N 6:54 PM on January 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply

          lets see… did some real random reading. too big to fail. letters from paraguay (story of the mistress to the dictator pre-civil war). percy jackson – where greek heroes come to life in 21st century (did a back to back on all 5 books in this series). hungry tide – amitav ghosh – this was truly brilliant.

  • raven 2:51 AM on January 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Books, , , Pascal, , Rivals,   

    ‘I suspect you’re thinking of Pascal,’ Finkler said, finally. ‘Only he said the opposite. He said you might as well wager on God because that way, even if He doesn’t exist, you’ve nothing to lose. Whereas if you wager against God and He does exist…’ ‘You’re in the shit.’ ‘I wish I’d said that.’ ‘You will, Finkler.’

    The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson
     
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