Saturday, January 31, 2009

Among the various ways in which one gets introduced to a book, the best is to be the blessed fool who picks the volume at random from a library shelf

Joseph O'Neill on John Updike:

Friday, January 30, 2009

Days Are Numbers (The Traveller)

I am very partial to most of the APP and Alan Parsons pieces. Picking from that collection is a difficult task. Yet, I find this song particularly comforting...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Circle of Life

Or Life is a Circle?

What is that thing about pegs and holes?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Kannamoochi Yenada

A favourite number, one that has personal connotations, from the movie Kandukondain Kandukondain

for lyrics (scroll down on the linked page - it contains the text of all the songs in KK)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Keeping it Short

I have been quite a short story reader lately. The reasons for the shift are all practical - time, variety, sense of completion and the like. 

What I'd like to confess to is the blog keeping it short. I look at it as a short story log that I hope gets interesting when I read it a few years from now. 

If you have short story recommendations for my reading list, do post a note. Thanks.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Do Kadam Aur, Sahi

I have many ARR favourites. But some play on, forever. Here's one from the movie Meenaxi. The video isn't the original from the movie because the movie wasn't out at all. However the song is the original.

for a wonderful take on the lyrics: Do Kadam

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Then there are pieces like Henry James tearing apart Lord Leighton's work; Julian Barnes talking about Edgar Degas' portrayal of women; members of the Bloomsbury group praising the work of Walter Sickert (a Jack the Ripper suspect)...
quoted from here
Oh please, what did Julian Barnes say about the Degas women? Note to Self: When you make notes, make them copious.
"But I always want to know the things one shouldn't do."

"So as to do them?" asked her aunt.

"So as to choose," said Isabel.

-The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Year of Lists

I almost typed A List of Years instead.

I was talking to K, dear friend K, gentle prodder K, bait loving online angel K, the other day and ended up telling her, rather thinking aloud, about the books that I wanted to read in 2009. It wasn't a plan at all until that point. And then I thought, why not. A list of books to read could be a good first list to start my year with. And if Gilbert can do 108 chapters for the 108 beads then I can do nine must read books for 2009. I was laughing (at myself), naturally, at the way we love cliches, at the way we want them to work. Plus nine is a doable number, two thousand and nine isn't.

  1. Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence Between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell - heard a podcast, read an extract, and given the nature of the subject, resolved to make it top of the list
  2. Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing - a Margaret Atwood needs no reason to qualify itself on any list
  3. White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson - like 1, a letters book, therefore tempting
  4. Netherland - I first heard Joseph O'Neill talking about the book in a Guardian podcast. A few weeks later the whole world was talking his book. Booker 2008 longlisted (always look at the longlist. always. choose using your discretion. always). Incidentally the NYTimes article carries a photo of O'Neill and he reminds me so much of a notorious, intentionally in your face Indian blogger who writes rather well
  5. The Blind Assassin - refer 2
  6. Harvesting the Heart - Jodi Picoult has been on the must-check-out-author list for ages. I picked out the book with the most resonance. Other title recommendations welcome
  7. Ticknor - Sheila Heti's website is fantastic. So is her writing going by the samples I've read. And she comes highly recommended from my favourite blogger
  8. Christine Falls - how can I not have read it until now? blasphemy
  9. The White Tiger - my cat on the wall choice. Reasons: a) popular, necessary for drawing room conversation b) very mixed reviews c) Adiga started schooling at my alma mater (!) d) my dad gifted me the book and said that I cannot fume without a basis
There is a good chance that I might succeed at 2, 5, 8 and 9 because I own copies. The rest need some effort in the procuring department. 

And before I forget, 

dear K, post dedicated to you.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Many Happy Returns Maestro

A very happy birthday to you AR Rahman.

Thanks for another year of brilliant music.