Are books meant to make us feel good? Are they meant to make us cheerful? I don’t think so. Not always.
Books are meant to make us feel awed and humbled. The pleasure they provide – the pleasure of the mind, the joy of seeing worlds created by words – is undimmed even if they are about catastrophic subjects, even if they are nihilistic in their approach or end in tragedy or are untouched by redemption. Read more
Ever since I was a little boy, I always wanted to see my name on the front cover of a book. (The other way of putting this is that from whenever I can remember, I wanted to be a writer without the faintest idea of what I should write about. George Orwell and VS Naipaul said the same thing, I think. So I was in good company – till I actually began to write.) Read more
One of life’s great thrills for me is to chance upon in a bookstore, unexpectedly, a title I have been looking for for a long time. It happend to me the other day in a bookshop in Kolkata. And I am still as much basking in the glow of that serendipitous discovery as feeling awed by the book itself after having finished it. Read more
Making lists is an amusing parlour game. When it comes to books, it’s probably trickier than, say, making a list of the best opening batsmen ever or the best guitarists of all time.
So much of our response to what we read depends on when we read it, and how. In my early teens, I used to be besotted with Richard Bach. By my late teens, I had begun to think of his stuff as sophomoric pseudo-philosophy-lite. Read more
(A longer version of this piece appeared in Mint Lounge on February 28. Read it here. )
Revolutionary Road, the acclaimed Sam Mendes film with a terrific, performance from Kate Winslet, will release in India on Friday.
I’m not sure how many people will go to watch the film, but I hope a lot of people do. That’s not because I am a great fan of the movie. Read more