Tag Archive: literature


Recent fav flavors from flavorwire   http://flavorwire.com/414942/10-soul-cleansing-books-to-help-you-become-a-better-person/view-all/



wild-cheryl strayed


Wild, Cheryl Strayed


If you’re one of the last people left who hasn’t picked up this book, which some have claimed is one of those rare life-changing memoirs, reading Strayed’s story of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail alone in an attempt to get over her grief and addiction is every bit as meaningful an experience as you’ve heard.




Buck, MK Asante


A powerful memoir of survival after things fall apart. The Zimbabwe-born poet’s story of coming of age in North Philadelphia with his father gone, his mother committed to a mental hospital, and his brother in jail, will help you realize that — even against the toughest of odds — you can make it.




And the Mountains Echoed, Khaled Hosseini


Khaled Hosseini is one of the world’s great storytellers, and his latest work is full of love, war, birth, death, and reflections on the impact certain decisions can have on the future.





Borges: Selected Non-FictionsJorge Luis Borges


Obviously read his fiction, but there is so much wisdom to be taken from Borges’ nonfiction that as soon as you start reading it, you realize how much more you still have to learn about the world.




The Tenants of Moonbloom, Edward Lewis Wallant


In this overlooked classic from the middle of the 20th century, we watch as Moonbloom grows from an awkward and isolated middleman collecting rent from his brother’s crummy apartments into a fuller, better person. Uplifting and page-for-page perfect; you should really seek out The Tenants of Moonbloom.




Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman


Who hasn’t felt inspired by Whitman’s — and possibly America’s — greatest poetry collection? A meditation on what is, but more importantly, what could be. Spend your day with this if you’re looking to recharge.





Essays, Henry David Thoreau


This collection of Thoreau’s most famous essays on solitary soul searching and self-discovery in the Massachusetts woods is the perfect type of thing to read if you are looking to step outside your own comfort zone.




The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, Frederick Douglass


Very few life stories showcase the overcoming of adversity and oppression to quite the same extent as this autobiography of one of America’s most inspirational figures.




The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein


For those in search of something a little lighter, we’d suggest reading (or re-reading) this one, and remembering that Shel Silverstein really just wanted to make all of us — including kids — better people.





the quotidian to the completely outlandish. Here are some particularly interesting ideas.





A car






A boat










Your plumbing







That sarcophagus you just happen to have hanging about in the garage*




* Just kidding: it’s from SkyMall, because of course it is




A staircase













An old ladder






… and your, um, TARDIS


Bonus: it’s bigger on the inside.




War and Pace, 1984 and Great Expectations are among the classic books Britons have pretended to have readClassic books in 140 characters – Telegraph.

   ( Few novels like Jane Eyre – love the work , but I feel the opening line is not sooooo  gr8 , and vice versa – loved the opening line but don’t feel like reading or didn’t like the piece of fiction  )

……………………..62% of people admitted they had falsely claimed to have read a classic literary work. George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four was the top choice for fakers, along with War and Peace, Great Expectations, Lord Of The Rings and Crime and Punishment.

To make it just that little bit easier to bluff your literary knowledge in the digital age, here are the five books in tweet-sized 140-character summaries.

Pip is poor. Wants to be posh. Old hag raises expectations that are shattered when he finds benefactor is a crook. Heart broken by Estella


Big Brother controls all, including truth. Winston Smith falls in love, keeps a secret diary. Punished in Room 101 for ‘thoughtcrime’. Obeys


Frodo and Hobbit pals take magic ring on quest. Gollum tries to steal ring. Wizard Gandalf is nice, Sauron is nasty. Battles. Ring destroyed


Raskolnikov, Russian student, may get away with a double murder. Bit guilty. Confesses. Sent to a Siberian prison. Redeemed by love of Sonya


Napoleon invades Russia. Russian aristocratic families sent into a tizz. War ensues. French retreat. Russians celebrate. Lots of them marry



Fav excerpts from30 great opening lines in literature



< > Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1878)


All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”Leo Tolstoy: Anna Karenina (1878)

“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. Whenever you feel like criticising any one, he told me, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby (1925)

Leslie Poles Hartley CBE, known as L. P. Hartley, was best-known for The Go-Between.

“The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” L. P. Hartley: The Go-Between (1953)

Samuel Beckett's 1938 novel Murphy

“The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.” Samuel Beckett: Murphy (1938)

J.M Barrie wrote Peter Pan

“All children, except one, grow up.”J.M. Barrie: Peter Pan (1911)

Henry James's Portrait Of A Lady

“Under certain circumstance there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” Henry James: The Portrait of a Lady (1880)

A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens was published in 1859

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.” Charles Dickens: A Tale Of Two Cities (1859)


< > J.D Salinger's The Catcher In The Rye was published in 1951

“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.” J.D Salinger: The Catcher In The Rye (1951)

Jean Rhys wrote Wide Sargasso Sea

“They say when trouble comes close ranks, and so the white people did.” Jean Rhys: Wide Sargasso Sea (1966)

< > Elmer Gantry is a satirical novel written by Sinclair Lewis in 1926

“Elmer Gantry was drunk. He was eloquently drunk, lovingly and pugnaciously drunk.”Sinclair Lewis: Elmer Gantry (1926)

“I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking.” Christopher Isherwood: Goodbye To Berlin (1939)

“It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.” Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Love in the Time of Cholera (1985)

“Mother died today. Or maybe, yesterday; I can’t be sure.” Albert Camus: The Stranger (1946)


Fav flavors from Flavorwire , over the past week

The 10 Best Sites for Culture-Savvy Women    Jezebel ,Bitch ,  The Toast  , xoJane  , The Hairpin  ,  XX Factor  ,  The Cut   , The Beheld ,   The Gloss ,  Rookie 

The 10 Grumpiest Authors in Literary History Norman Mailer . Maurice Sendak ,Gore Vidal ,Gertrude Stein .Christopher Hitchens ,Charles Bukowski ,Patricia Highsmith .Vladimir Nabokov

The Writing Tools of 20 Famous Authors

8 of the World’s Most Idyllic Creative Retreats

10 Famous Artists’ Stunning Studios

Charming Paintings of Contemplative Girls Doing Crafts

Pics :-

Pablo Picasso’s atelier – Cannes, France


Dorset, Dorchester, Max Gate - home of the late Thomas Hardy,  by the time of his death in 1928 was England's most renowned writer - old photo early 1930's

Max Gate was where Thomas Hardy lived after the age of 34.


Dove Cottage

Dove Cottage is in the beautiful Lake District of England, and is where William Wordsworth lived with his sister Dorothy and wrote much of his famous poetry in the early 19th century.

Georgia O’Keefe’s studio – Abiquiu, New Mexico

Georgia O’Keefe’s studio – Abiquiu, New Mexico


ode to books

land of fantasy

freaky folk tales

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the curious case of the moated grange

I have long held a fascination with the life and times of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; not, however, his detective writing, nor the subsequent debunking of the many psychic charlatans that courted him, but more his inimitable style in documenting sensational tales of hauntings, and the rather odd relationship he had with women, in particular his mother, Mary Doyle, a preeminent force in Conan Doyle’s life.

In 1927, several newspapers ran articles on a tale that was eventually to become one of the many compiled in his last published work, The Edge of the Unknown. It is a particularly curious tale, and, I must say, one that always tends to send a slight shiver down my spine; though I am at odds to explain why – whether it is the strangeness of the medium’s gender mutation or the ghost’s mother-fixation so curiously reminiscent of Doyle’s own life, I can’t quite…

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Can’t believe Bronte was an Austen critic

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Broadcasters of silence – The Hindu.

Malayalam poet Veerankutty’s book in English, Always in Bloom is a reminder that some truths can only be whispered in intimacy, in silence.

Here is a voice so quiet that it could almost be a passing murmur in the mind. A voice that is hushed because that is the only way to talk about an undocumented verandah in a family home or an anonymous old woman with a sack of potatoes walking into a Kerala dusk.What does one say about a voice that doesn’t defend, proclaim, flaunt, attack, chest-thump? What does one say about a voice of conscious vulnerability, a voice that chooses not to raise its voice? To speak softly here is choice — radical choice, not cowardice, not incapability. This is a voice that reminds us that fragility can be its own reward. To underscore some insights, to shout them from the rooftops, to belt them out in a stadium is to distort their integrity. Nothing wrong with rooftops – or stadia. But what of truths that demand other modes of articulation?

The book is modestly produced, as books of poetry usually are. Additionally, as with so many works of translation, there are several bumpy moments — gauche constructions, awkward syntax, proof-reading blunders. But through all the clunkiness, something blazes through: the presence of a poet.

One realises yet again the power of that verbal resource in a poet’s arsenal: the image. For only a poet can tether to the page moments that could otherwise so easily turn into statistic or slogan, headline or homily. Veerankutty reminds you, for instance, that justice and injustice are not abstruse concepts for parliamentary (and News at Nine) debate, but this particular old woman hobbling along with her half kilo of potatoes, hoping to buy her ragi and her eye-drops before sunset.

And it is only a poet who can document a sense of wonder at the ‘precision’ of creation (‘ light staying light/and not slipping into/something else ’); the tenderness one feels at watching two people in love (‘ The world isn’t going to end soon ’); a mother leaving the door unlocked ‘ lest the verandah feel/left out, cold and lonely ’; a forgotten Bisleri bottle capable of producing an entire landscape replete with ‘ birds with sprouted wings…/trees with branches/leaning into the river ’; the need to stand witness to a tree — its grammar of defencelessness and dignity, its fragility and wisdom.

The poet Rilke talked of ‘the news that is always arriving out of silence’. Veerankutty’s volume is one more reminder of the value of that news — and how indispensable its broadcasters are to our lives.

Manohar Shetty’s new book of poems, Body Language (published by the indefatigable Poetrywala), speaks in a different register. The dominant tone is irony — a tone often regarded as a limited and overused resource. But the book testifies to just how polychromatic irony can be — ranging from self-deprecation to searing indictment.Generally, however, Shetty’s irony is less a savage Swiftian affair than a dry, dispassionate, mildly despairing amusement. There is a need to archive — with grim relish — the affectations of a new upwardly mobile Indian middle class. There’s no bookshelf here,/Or paintings…/The plush divan sinks/With a hush and leaves no wrinkles, ’ he says in a poem entitled ‘Luxury Home, Goa’, invoking in a few sharp strokes a particular brand of nouveau-riche abode. The last lines are slyly cruel: ‘ The kitchen/Is crystal rich,/Clinical, and the gleaming/Sink reflects an oblong/Face with a triple/Chin. ’

In ‘Dinars’, the satire is directed at another familiar brand of Gulf-returned Mr. Moneybags: with ‘an SUV’ purring ‘in his garage’; a wife with a gold necklace on her ‘sand-dune bosom’ and children whose voices ‘roar over the choir/ like a sandstorm’. ‘New Chic’ is a piercing lampoon of those who ‘speak soundlessly on their/ iPads’, consider ‘the no smoking sign’ to be their ‘last will and manifesto’ and believe (the irony is delicious here) that ‘Paulo Coelho/is deep, real deep.’

‘Colonial Museum’ adopts the imperialist’s gaze to speak in chillingly dulcet tones about ‘ chaprasis/grinning like langurs ’ and a land that was ‘ divided and sliced so delicately/like cucumber sandwiches ’. And ‘Local’ is an unsparing portrait of Goan small town-ism where ‘ a snide remark/made nine years ago/is a slur against/family honour ’ and ‘ the belle of the ball/is the next Miss Universe.

In Shetty’s finest poems, it is the spare and crafted images that give the irony its charge. There is also a satirist’s ability to read the ‘fine print’ (a recurrent phrase in Shetty’s poems) beneath every label and slogan, and show up the yawning chasm between the two.

What rescues this irony from broad strokes (in a couple of poems, including one about ‘Miss America’, one wondered if the cultural critique ran the risk of sexist stereotyping) are the moments of self-implication. And so there are poems that speak of ‘ our ‘diffident, difficult selves…carefully/counting our loose change ’ or ‘ my hunchback walk/and dragging feet ’ which suggest a personal admission of bewilderment.  One realises, then, that this is not the privileged insider parodying the arriviste. The gaze belongs, instead, to one who knows his position is far from secure; that he, in fact, is the endangered species, increasingly out of step with the times, aware that there might not be any campaigns, any dirges to mourn his passing — nothing other than perhaps a fine print obit in a local newspaper.In ‘Template’, Shetty speaks of ‘ the nervy/blue streak in the ice, its scalding clarity ’. It is precisely this ‘nervy blue’ aliveness that is the poet’s strength. It imbues the book with an ability to dart from biting rejection to playfulness and rueful candour in ways that frequently surprise the reader.

Here are two books completely unalike each other in their poetics. Interestingly, however, both are devoid of effusive blurbs and self-congratulatory author bios. And both reveal a preoccupation with silence — as possibility, as erasure.

You will only be heard, ’ says Shetty, ‘ when the noise/ has died down ’. Poetry, of course, is about keeping that faith, the odds notwithstanding.

If a plastic mineral water bottle can produce a universe (as Veerankutty tells us) and an ‘aloof’ book of verse – ‘an outsider, like Humphrey Bogart’ — can linger on in the memory (as Shetty reminds us), perhaps there is hope for the broadcasters of silence, after all.


I doubt if I can read all of them  , but my first picks are  Kerouac , (has long been on my list) , Salak ,Krakauer , have read few of Whitman , Rilke , Ginsberg (I think  he and kerouac together , for knowing about the beat generation)  and of course – Mehta /Mumbai. These are the classic recos , but i think there are many works of fiction , which i  picked up for a dose of mystery or chicklit etc and  ended up travelling ( armchair travel , I mean 🙂  ), as the writers succeeded in intertwining the plot with the place , making it a fascinating read  .

My recos : So from the works of fiction I’ve read ( and can hopefully recollect) thus far – picks from my limited knowledge –   The Razor’s Edge ( W. Somerset Maugham) – Paris in all its bohemian glory  ,  Austen / bronte – for their depiction of english countrysides ( envy lizzie’s walks in the countryside , beautifully picturised  in the  adaptation *ing Ehle – my all-time fav portrayal of   Miss Bennet) , FINDING MONSIEUR RIGHT – Muriel Zagha and  Ellen byerrum‘s  Lost corset( should carry  these 2 as tour guides for Paris) , Out of africa – the real Africa in all its glory  – incomplete without its ethnic tribes – the Masai – poignantly portrayed by Isak , Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda  – though not a travel book as such , I think it portrays the hidden India , our soul- which we are trying to move away from , a mystery set in  Maine –  the name of which I can’t  recollect as of now , Shallow breath – Australia , with its beaches and wildlife , Louise penny‘s books  for a peek into the Canadian countryside etc. Now for the matador   list :

1. Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway

2. The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux 

3. Finding George Orwell in Burma by Emma Larkin

4. When We Were Orphans by Kazou Ishiguro

5. Four Corners: Into the Heart of New Guinea-One Woman’s Solo Journey by Kira Salak

6. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

7. Into the Wild by John Krakauer

8. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress: A Novel by Dai Sijie

9. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

10. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

11. America Is in the Heart by Carlos Bulosan

12. Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History by Robert D. Kaplan

13. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

14. Video Night in Kathmandu: And Other Reports from the Not-So-Far East by Pico Iyer

15. The Castle by Franz Kafka

16. Life of Pi by Yann Martel

17. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

18. The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

19. The Dark Room by Rachel Seiffert

20. The Tale of Murasaki: A Novel by Liza Dalby

21. The Call of the Wild by Jack London

22. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thomson

23. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

24. Lord of the Flies by William S. Golding

25. Dubliners by James Joyce

26. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

27. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry

28. Maximum City Maximum City by Suketu Mehta

29. In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin

30. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

31. Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer

32. Going Solo by Roald Dahl

33. I Dreamed of Africa by Kuki Gallman

34. The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific by J. Maarten Troost

35. Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Marie Rilke

36. The Living City by Frank Lloyd Wright

37. Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

38. The Beach by Alex Garland

39. The Size of the World: Once Around Without Leaving the Ground by Jeff Greenwald

40. Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles

41. Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne

42. The Road to Oxiana by Robert Byron

43. Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck

44. The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain

45. The Book Bag by W. Somerset Maugham

46. The Summing Up by W. Somerset Maugham

47. The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham

48. Collected Poems 1947-1997 by Allen Ginsberg

49. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

50. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

Bring a vacation home into your interiors by following the cottage style influence.   The cottage style brings in relaxation, casual charm and an open atmosphere to any space.  Cottages are usually associated with calming retreats away from your daily life routine, such as visiting a beach or perhaps a bungalow in the city or even in escaping to a cabin tucked away in the woods.  So create this ambiance in your own favorite spaces or home décor.  The cottage style is a bit simplistic than most but none the less filled with plenty of beauty and serenity. – See more at: http://stagetecture.com/2013/06/guest-blogger-how-to-bring-cottage-style-into-your-interiors/#sthash.Bbdhwip5.A8ZlGoaH.dpuf
Bring a vacation home into your interiors by following the cottage style influence.   The cottage style brings in relaxation, casual charm and an open atmosphere to any space.  Cottages are usually associated with calming retreats away from your daily life routine, such as visiting a beach or perhaps a bungalow in the city or even in escaping to a cabin tucked away in the woods.  So create this ambiance in your own favorite spaces or home décor.  The cottage style is a bit simplistic than most but none the less filled with plenty of beauty and serenity. – See more at: http://stagetecture.com/2013/06/guest-blogger-how-to-bring-cottage-style-into-your-interiors/#sthash.Bbdhwip5.fVbWhLw6.dpuf


Rand take-downs

This article I  read at flavorwire  (The All-Time Greatest Ayn Rand Takedowns   – after the latest by Chris Kluwe – I agree with his opinion of Galt lacking empathy and divorced from reality) , sent me into one of my periodic Ayn Rand musings . I first “discovered ” Rand , in the form of an old tattered edition of  The Fountainhead  , on a searching spree after a loss – and the result of my treasure-hunt –  Fountainhead , Reader’s digests from the 60s and 70s etc. etc. – from the old attics in the village .

Thus started my  “relationship”  with  Ayn rand ,-from a  fanatic idealization of her philosophy , to a passionate  take-down and now we are on a neutral territory – Rand and I , but this was definitely not the case in my late teens when  I read  “The Fountainhead” – it was during that confusing transitory phase from adolescence into adulthood (do we ever fully crossover ??? ) and I’m sure all those “randians” who have read her  at that age will identify with me when I say that  most of  us turned into “Roarks” or “Rombies “(randian zombies , in my opinion) ,as i explained in an earlier  “Rand Ranting” ( https://excerptsandm.wordpress.com/2010/07/23/348/ )   . Well the Rand phase lasted for a long time  , and the latest article stirred up memories , Rand will always have her critics , but legions of  “RAN-doms”  – Ayn Rand Fandoms you know you are getting addicted to tumblr when you start using the word fandom ) and the websites , even the critics  are proof of her pure genius (only a masterpiece can spawn such passionate take-downs years  after its written ) and lets admit it – for all the rand bashing we indulge as adults now  , Roark  , or not to forget , John Galt  is certainly not a bad example to look upto  as a youngster .

So here’s the link and one can decide based on his/her “present”  opinion of her works


with this palatable side dish – http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=randroid


What’s even better than drinking while reading? Eating while reading, of course (hint: you can have a drink, too). With the news that Biblio, a book-themed eatery, was popping up in Williamsburg, Flavorwire took to the Internet to put together a guide to a few amazing-looking literary-themed restaurants from around the world. Indulge your eyes (and, if you’re close enough, your stomachs) at these bookish establishments.