Short Story Reads: Night in Tunisia and Other Stories by Neil Jordan

Over the years my shepherd like attitude to books has waned. No longer does my heart bleed if a page has a dog-ear. Placing a book under a heap of dozen other books to straighten out the dog-ear, applying steam iron on the page, binding books with cardboard hardcover, designing a separate book cover with … Read more

Poetry Reads: Basanti Hawa by Kedarnath Agarwal

There are innumerable things about the Hindi language that appeals to this writer’s heart.  Expressing in English has its joys in putting pen to paper, in arranging, rearranging words, in description, documentation, rhyme and flow.  But for the sheer spontaneity of conversation – Hindi it is. The following Hindi poem (featured here with my translation) is a school favourite. … Read more

Short Story Reads: Mrs. Packletide’s Tiger by Saki

Saki was the pen name under which British writer Hector Hugh Munro wrote before his life was tragically cut short at 45 in France, along with millions of others during World War I. By then Saki had left behind hundreds of short stories – all noted for their ready wit, black humor and macabre. Especially … Read more

Fantasy Reads: The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

The first edition cover of  The Hobbit To put it simply, I haven’t read a fantasy as satisfying and sumptuous as The Hobbit. In its best moments (and there are innumerable), Tolkien makes us believe that he was there, seeing it all, in another place, another time, eons ago. First published in 1937, Tolkien wrote … Read more

Fiction Reads: A Tiger for Malgudi by RK Narayan

RK Narayan (1906 – 2001) Most of RK Narayan’s novels and short stories are set in the fictional, sleepy town of Malgudi, somewhere in south India. A Tiger for Malgudi is no exception. Even as an aging zoo tiger narrates its life history, the story’s climatic moments inevitably occur in the small town. Instead of … Read more

Poetry Reads: Jejuri by Arun Kolatkar

   Arun Kolatkar (1932-2004) was reclusive (didn’t own a telephone: ever), bilingual poet with rare gifts.  A clear demarcation of style and substance is evident in his Marathi and English works. Apart from wit, satire, and humour, Kolatkar’s English poetry has its unique punchlines, dream-scraping, and exaggerated comic imagery. A Sir J.J School of Art … Read more

Poetry Reads: When I Dance by James Berry

The second-hand book market in Pune has its share of hidden treasures. All one needs to do is linger in such surroundings, engage in some scouring, back-bending, explore untouched stacks and dusty corners, and who knows what you may come across? It was on one such lingering expedition that I happened to grab a copy … Read more

Murder Mysteries: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

The first time I read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, to be more precise, reached a pivotal point, I couldn’t, and this is no exaggeration, believe my eyes.  Down with fever that pre-teen December in Ahmedabad, and confined to the bed, I was convinced that the fever had gone to my head.  How on the earth could … Read more

Poetry Reads: Celia Celia by Adrian Mitchell

It was on a visit to the city British Library that I came upon on a wonderful anthology called Poems on the Underground. That was when I chanced upon a particular Adrian Mitchell poem, among many other beautiful, varied reads. Poems on the Underground is pretty much a poetry-lover’s collector’s item.  The London Metro train … Read more

Non-Fiction Reads: The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara

This isn’t a tale of derring-do, nor is it merely some kind of ‘cynical account’; it isn’t meant to be, at least. It’s a chunk of two lives running parallel for a while, with common aspirations and similar dreams. In nine months a man can think a lot of thoughts, from the height of philosophical … Read more