Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Crown is my favourite occasions restaurant in Chennai. I have a review up at the Chennai Metroblog.

I am completely sold out on the Deck of The Crown. It makes such a perfect location for special evenings, especially when you have offers in hand from friends who ask you where you would like to be treated to good food! Chennai looks so beautiful at night from the Deck, rows of red tail lights on snaky roads, spots of dense greenery, a few tall and well-lit buildings on every side...
Fact: The number of children reading for fun drops significantly after age eight

Fact: Gripping writing makes children (and adults) read books

You know what is coming next don't you?

A study finds that Harry Potter books have a positive impact on children's reading habit, which in turn improves their concentration and academic performance. Go read here and here.

The Harry Potter study found that the average age at which readers pick up Harry Potter is 9, and many older children will read and re-read the books as they get older.

This good news follows the findings from Yankelovich’s The Kids and Family Reading Report, released in June, which found that after the age of 8, the number of kids who read for fun significantly drops.

“Harry Potter has become part of our culture, and what it has done so magically is to prove that even in the digital age, well-written books are and will remain a great source of enjoyment and enrichment for adult and young readers,” says Lisa Holton, president of Scholastic Book Fairs and Trade Publishing, in a release today.

So, what will happen after the seventh and final Harry Potter book comes out? Half of the readers surveyed say they will look for a new series (wannabe-bestselling authors take note!) and 27 percent say they will read whatever Rowling publishes next.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Some pictures really speak a thousand words...for something that is generating billions of words around the world.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Maybe the whole 'Harry Potter may die in the last book' is just an authorial display of control. I agree with what this article has to say on the topic.

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry may have prepared Harry Potter to duke it out with Lord Voldemort, but the real test of his survival will be the battle over who actually “owns” Harry – author J.K. Rowling or her fans. According to a British Victorian literature expert, Rowling’s threat to kill at least two main characters in her final book is her way of taking control and is not unlike actions taken by other authors whose books have become extremely popular with readers.

In the end, however, Harry will survive, says James Krasner, professor of English and British Victorian literature at the University of New Hampshire. “There's no way Harry will die,” he says. “Harry won't die largely because these are comic stories, like Dickens' novels, in which good has to win."

Whenever an author's books become very popular in his or her lifetime, as is the case with Rowling, a tug of war starts between the author and the fans about who the characters really belong to. Rowling, like Conan Doyle (creator of Sherlock Holmes), is trying to assert her control. She’s reminding us that Harry is her character, not ours; she can kill him if she wants to. Doyle actually did kill off Sherlock Holmes, but Rowling won’t go that far because she cares about Harry. Conan Doyle was really sick of Holmes,” Krasner says.

***

"Rowling's books are very well written, and we're lucky to be around to see them created. Her particular talent is plotting and comic characterization. She's a lot like Dickens in that she does such a good job with comedy, and with predictable plotlines, that she can move into tragedy, and complexity, rather than starting with a tragic mode,” Krasner says.

So if Harry Potter doesn’t die in the final book, who does?

According to Krasner, “Lord Voldemort has to die. And Snape, who is really fighting for good despite all appearances, will likely die. Neville Longbottom is really the chosen one, so I suspect he'll die,” he says.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Did you know which are the longest novels? Atlas Shrugged is around but look, A Suitable Boy is longer and War and Peace is shorter than these two! And Gone With The Wind does not even qualify as long!
There were years when Atlas Shrugged was my daily Bible. Those years are long gone now, mere fond memories when someone mentions the book. I no longer defend Rand's view vehemently nor do I discuss the merits of Francisco D'Anconia vs John Galt. I loved Dagny Taggart far more than the rest, not because she was the main character but because I appreciated how she stood for what she believed in. All of this is past tense, of course.

Therefore I never realized that I could be this irritated when I read that Angelina Jolie may play Dagny's part in Atlas Shrugged the movie. Oh Please, not her. I like Jolie okay but I cannot imagine myself watching her play Dagny. Give me Ashley Judd any day.

PS: I hope you can read this post using its url because I certainly can't. I am now a subscriber to my own blog's feed. Sigh.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The things we don't admit to...

You know how it is with relationships - you meet a person for the first time, make up your mind based on appearances (manners are a part of it) and over the next few meetings either gravitate towards or pull away from them as your opinion gets built on. Therefore you'd agree that if I knew a person very well for about four years, I should be able to judge that person's taste well based on past experience.

Now let's jump to this conversation:

Him: "Hey, whats with your raving about Troy? It is a lousy movie"

Me: "Rubbish. People like movies for different reasons. Troy was visually appealing to me. Such rich blues, ah!"

Him: "You saw it for Brad Pitt. I know it. You married women are dangerous"

Me: "Are you utterly jobless? I refuse to be baited."

Him: "C'mon, confess to me, wasn't it Brad Pitt?"

Me: "Actually it was Hector. What is that guy's real name btw?"

Him: "Hector? Hmm...never mind. So when are we meeting up?"

Me: "Don't know man. Let's see. Dinner in a day or two perhaps? Let me check the hubby's convenience too...so what are you upto now?"

Him: "Nothing in particular. I've rented a few movies, will probably watch those. My folks are out, so I have the entire house to myself. My mom's nagging is getting worse. She is forever trying to fix me up!"

Me: "Ha, ha...maybe I should call her and offer to help."

Him: "Shut the hell up willya. Don't do this to me Ms.Busybody"

Me: "Okay, I was just kidding. You needn't work yourself up into a fury now. So, what movies did you rent?"

Him: "Err...the usual...recent ones"

Me: " Like what? The Passion of the Christ? Or is it one of your World Cinema moments?

Him: "Well, it is actually...now, can you keep a secret?"

Me: "You are asking me if I can keep a secret? Isn't that precisely the reason why you associate with me?"

Him: "Okay, you cannot laugh now. I borrowed Jhoot, Gilli and one more, wait...yeah, Chellame."

Me: "You borrowed what? My God, did you borrow gen Tamil movies? Christ! This is capital...hee hee"

{I laughed non-stop for close to a minute and very embarrassingly reminded him of his past statements about commercial movies}

Him: "Stop it. Can't you see how difficult it is for me to admit this to you?"

Me: "Gugggh...sure I can..hee hee"

Him: "Damn, why did I ever tell you this? Who the hell asked you to call me now?"

Me: "Well who asked you to pick up that phone? You never do usually."

Him: "Okay, I do watch dabba Tamil movies once in a while okay...that is a fact that I do not admit to. Now, can we pretend we did not have this conversation?"

Me: "What conversation?"

Him: "Good Girl! Okay I better get going now. Call you later okay?"

Me: {suppressing giggle} "Sure. Let us do that dinner thing soon. Bye"

After this conversation (which happened around 4 on a Sunday afternoon), I promptly turned my attention to the muted TV screen to watch Shahjahan, which incidentally, I was watching for the fourth time on TV!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The World eBook fair pages take ages to load. Sigh. Anyway, the fair hosts an mp3 audio ebook collection - few files but hugely interesting.

I am having lots of fun with Mark Twain's On the Decay of the Art of Lying.
World ebook fair starts from today. Over 1.3 million ebooks are available for free download until Aug 4. Go on, make the most of it.

What is different from the regular Gutenberg downloads is that there are a lot more donors and therefore a lot more books to download.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

On the Chennai Metblog, I have a post on Anglo-Indians - part flashback, part information.