Friday, April 28, 2006

The Easter Story

Almost missed out this little piece from The Times. Jeanette Winterson on the Easter story. A reminder that one can be queerly irreligious - yet spiritual.
It is significant that the first person to find the miracle is a woman, and a woman who was a prostitute. Christianity, in its earliest force, was not a religion of power; it was a religion of love.

Taken from The Times, April 15, 2006

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Scholars discover lost play by Samuel Beckett

The 23 blank pages, which literary experts presume is a two-act play composed sometime between 1973 and 1975, are already being heralded as one of the most ambitious works by the Nobel Prize-winning author of Waiting For Godot, and a natural progression from his earlier works, including 1969's Breath, a 30-second play with no characters, and 1972's Not I, in which the only illuminated part of the stage is a floating mouth.

Full Story.

AUTHOR: Ali Smith

The Guardian on Ali Smith

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

BOOKS: Orange Prize 2006 Shortlist

The shortlist is finally out for this year's Orange Prize award. The Orange Prize is one of the few book awards for fiction written by women. Why do we need it? Because it's still a predominantly male-centred literary world.

The Shortlist:

The History Of Love by Nicole Krauss
It is 60 years since Leo fell in love with a girl called Alma in the Polish village where he was born and wrote a book in her honour. He assumes that the book, and his dreams, are lost, until they return to him in a brown envelope.

Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel
Harper Perennial
Alison, a medium, tours London's dormitory towns with flint-hearted Colette. But behind her smile is desperation: the next life holds terrors she must conceal from her clients, and she is plagued by the spirits of men from her past.

The Accidental by Ali Smith
Hamish Hamilton
The mundane summer holiday of 12-year-old Astrid and her family - mother Eve, stepfather Michael and elder brother Magnus - is interrupted by the arrival of Amber, who turns up on the doorstep and ends up staying. Who is she and what does she want?

Everyman's Rules For Scientific Living by Carrie Tiffany
In 1934, the Better Farming Train slides through Australia's fields and small towns, bringing advice to those living on the land. In its carriages, an love affair develops between idealists Robert and Jean.

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
Moving back through the 1940s through air raids, black-outs and illicit liaisons to end with its beginning in 1941, The Night Watch is the story of four Londoners - three women and a young man with a past.

From The Guardian

Monday, April 24, 2006

DATE: 21 October 2006

I was just noting an entry in my diary, when I noticed that 21st October 2006 is Deepavali.

Will be there. In T-shirt and jeans hor. ;)

BOOKS: Reading Meme

Via Ed

Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you’ve read, italicize the ones you might read, cross out the ones you won’t, underline the ones on your book shelf, and place parentheses around the ones you’ve never even heard of.

The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J. K. Rowling
The Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story - George Orwell
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
1984 - George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J. K. Rowling
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
The Secret History - Donna Tartt
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Atonement - Ian McEwan
The Shadow of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Dune - Frank Herbert
Sula by Toni Morrison
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

What titles would you add to this list, because you love them or think they are worthy of note?

The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
Notice by Heather Lewis
The End of Alice by A. M. Homes
Fall On your Knees by Ann Marie MacDonald
The Passion by Jeanette Winterson

BOOKS: Saramago's "Seeing"

Ursula K. Le Guin on reading Jose Saramago's Seeing.

I have to read Blindness before I start on Seeing. Especially since I'm holding onto PW's copy!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Gone To Tibet

Back on 24th April 2006.

Lonely Planet Destination: Tibet

I Love ME Soooooooo Much

Spidey Love

It's just the kind of picture I HAD to put up.

Via Warren Ellis

Friday, April 07, 2006

J K Rowling Can't Find Paper

So, the next Harry Potter will be late because J K Rowling can't find paper to write.

Like dat also can ah?
"What is a writer who likes to write longhand supposed to do when she hits her stride and then realizes, to her horror, that she has covered every bit of blank paper in her bag? Forty-five minutes it took me, this morning, to find somewhere that would sell me some normal, lined paper. And there's a university here! What do the students use? Don't tell me laptops, it makes me feel like something out of the eighteenth century."

Full story.

TIBET: What to Pack Again

I've re-packed my backpack for Tibet too many times to count. Out of sheer paranoia, I've purchase a heavy duty fleece jacket from Campus Corner. It's a nice bright blue that I like.

I am such a slut for blue.

So for cold wear I'm packing:

1) Heavy duty fleece jacket
2) The fleece vest that WW lent me.
- It's light-weight so it's more suitable for when I am on the move, and I can wear my water-proof Nike jacket over when it snows.
3) Black Nike jacket
- I rarely travel without it

And because I have enough space, I have increased my underwear from 3 to 5. This is partly due to grossed-out protest from friends who cannot believe 3 pairs of underwear should be made to last 2 weeks.



If you've taken the time to read The Guardian article on "what do men read to get them through life?" - you will know the title chosen by the men surveyed is Albert Camus'L'Etranger. This, against Jane Eyre, chosen by the ladies. Hmm.

Once more we are reminded that Men and Women are different.

But did we need a survey to tell us that?
They use fiction almost topographically, as a map. Many of our women respondents last year explained that they used novels metaphorically - the build-up to an emotional crisis and subsequent denouement in a novel such as Jane Eyre might have helped negotiate an emotional progress through a difficult divorce, or provided support during a difficult period at work, or provided solace when things seemed generally dull.

This did not seem ever to be the case for men, though some men admitted to having made a sound investment in an author - such as Orwell - whom they used as a guide throughout their adult life on the basis of a first encounter in adolescence.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


The Guardian
This year, we tackled the obvious next question: what do men read to get them through life? If polling women's reading habits had thrown up such an astonishing variety of reading, surely men's reading would be equally revealing. After all, as two female researchers, we might have been prepared for women's reading choices; in the case of men, we admitted we really hadn't a clue.

Full article.

BOOKS: Chess by Stefan Zweig

Recently discovered Stefan Zweig's Chess: A Novella. Read it in one sitting.

The story takes place on a cruise-ship, where introduces a chess prodigy is challenged by a prideful Scotsman, McConnor. The chess prodigy a brutish, thick-browed imbecile with no intellectual faculty whatever - except in chess.

During a chess match, as McConnor was slowly losing to the chess prodigy, a mysterious stranger steps up to offer advice. His predictions and steps are all brilliant, and the game ends in a draw.

To everyone's surprise, the mysterious stranger claims to have not touched a chess set for twenty-five years. Yet he is obviously a genius.

How this stranger come to be the chess genius that he is lies at the heart of this tale.

About Zweig:
Austrian biographer, essayist, short story writer, and cosmopolitan, who advocated the idea of an united Europe under one government. Zweig achieved fame with his vivid and psychoanalytically-oriented biographies of historical characters. Among his best-known works is BAUMEISTER DER WELT (1936, translated as Master Builders), a collection of his biographical studies. Zweig was a prolific writer. In the 1930s he was one of the most widely translated authors in the world. His extensive travels led him to India, Africa, North and Central America, and Russia. Among his friends were Maksim Gorky, Rainer Maria Rilke, Auguste Rodin, and Arturo Toscanini.

Full write-up.

Pushkin Press is currently in the progress of making Zweig more available to the English reading market. That's a good thing. He's relatively unknown and unread by English readers - in spite of his cult status among the German readers.

SPAM: Dying Childless Widow

I received this in my email this morning. As usual, the absurdity of the message is laughable, so I thought I just needed to share this with everyone.

I like the premise set up for this story: Christian widow, dying, child-less, trying to do good for some god-fearing person out there.

Who comes up with this?

From: Mrs. Julian David
26 Kesington Court,
London, England.


I am the above named person but now undergoing medical treatment in London, England. I am married to Mr. Jim Walter David who worked with British Railway Commission in Chelsea England for over a decade before he died on 5th of July in the year 2003. We were married for fifteen years without a child. He died after a brief illness that lasted for two weeks. Before his death he made a vow to use his wealth for the down trodden and the less privileged in the society. Since his death I decided not to re-marry or get a child outside my matrimonial home. When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of 10 Million (Ten Million Pounds) in a Vault with a Security/Finance House in SA. Presently, this money is still there. Recently, my Doctor told me that I would not last for the next 150days due to cancer problem. Though what disturbs me most is my stroke.

Having known my condition I decided to donate this fund to an individual or better still a God fearing person who will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct here in. I want an individual that will use this to fund and provide succour to poor and indigent persons, orphanages, and above all those affected in hurricane wilma. I understand that blessed is the hand that giveth. I took this decision because I do not have any child that will inherit this money and my husband relatives are not inclined to helping poor persons and I do not want my husbands hard earned money to be misused or spent in the manner in which my late husband did not specify. I do not want a situation where this money will be used in an unGodly manner, hence the reason for taking this bold decision. I am not afraid of death hence I know where I am going. I know that I am going to be in the bosom of the Almighty. I do not need any telephone communication in this regard because of my health, and because of the presence of my husbands relatives around me always. I do not want them to know about thisdevelopment. With God all things are possible.

As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the Security/Finance House in SA. I will also issue you a letter of authority that will empower you as the original beneficiary of this fund,through my Lawyer. I want you to always pray for me. My happiness is that I lived a life worthy of emulation. Whosoever that wants to serve the Almighty must serve him with all his heart and mind and soul and also in truth. Please always be prayerful all through your life. Any delay in your reply will give me room in sourcing for an individual for this same purpose. Please assure me that you will act according to my specification herein. Hoping to hear from you.pls reply through this box.

( )

Thank you and may the Almighty bless you.
Yours sincerely,

Mrs. Julian David(Benefactor)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

TIBET: What to Pack

My dad has packed for Tibet. It's a compact backpack two-third of my own. He's perplexed at what his little girl (I'll always be Daddy's Little Girl) is bringing to Tibet.

Right now I'm still considering what book to bring to Tibet.

Dhammapada perhaps.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Pink on the furore over her 'Stupid Girls' video

From The Observer

Pink talks:
The media would have us believe that they are only giving us what we want but a recent ICM poll found that 83 per cent of us thought the media coverage of celebrity excessive. So who exactly is interested in the Stupid Girls? Psychologist Lynn E McCutcheon of DeVry University in Orlando examined fans of the famous. According to him, people who worship celebrity are not as intelligent as those who don't. Ouch!

She’s my favourite bitch of the moment. Hee.

I'm Not Dead
Her new album, "I'm Not Dead" is out today.

BOOKS: This Book Will Save Your Life

I'm finally reading the proof for this book, coming out this month actually.

A. M Homes is often described with adjective such as "transgressive," "dark" and "funny." This new book is oddly a play on transformation, almost a tale of a man coming to a crisis of his life and learning from it - something that seems more out of Oprah Winfrey than what fans are used to.

But it is funny. Homes always had a tendency towards humour of the absurd. Human life is absurd afterall.

Will update as I progress in my reading.