The first time I read Jane Austen, I was hooked. If you had asked me at that time why, I wouldn’t have known what to say. Since then, I’ve read all her published novels. Not just once but several times. I have my favorites. Pride and Prejudice, of course. Then Persuasion, which I think is her most mature novel. I’d rank her other novels as … Continue reading The Lady’s Genius Is In The Details: John Mullan’s What Matters in Jane Austen
In the cramped studio we rented when we first stayed in Paris a few months, a well-worn paperback of Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast lay on top of three or four books on a night table. The intriguing title was familiar, the first few pages beguiling. I “knew” Hemingway, having read two of his books. Reading about 1920s Paris in Paris? Who could resist? Besides, … Continue reading Hemingway’s Paris of the Twenties: A Moveable Feast
Myanmar—does that ring a bell? You guess that, maybe, it’s the same as Burma. And maybe you’ve even heard of its most famous citizen, Aung San Suu Kyi. Or, maybe, you have no idea whatsoever what Myanmar is. And you couldn’t care less. Myanmar is fascinating—rich in resources, diverse, exotic, unique, complex. Once a monarchy, invaded by the British, then terrorized by a military regime … Continue reading Fiction as History: Amitav Ghosh’s The Glass Palace
This post is technically not a review. Rather it’s a rant about the typical novels in the romance genre. I nearly zapped a historical romance out of my iPad while reading it one evening. It wasn’t badly written. It wasn’t boring. But it annoyed me that for the umpteenth time, the author says her hero has “wide/broad shoulders.” Now, how often must she remind of … Continue reading No Broad Shoulders. No Romance.
I just read an article published early this year (February) that had me thinking again about book reviews. I was led to the article by a more recent one written three months later by the same author, Lev Grossman, in which he weighs in on the debate in certain circles between literary fiction and genre fiction. In both this debate and Grossman’s musings on book … Continue reading Who’s To Say: Subverting the Tyranny in Book Reviews
Don’t you just love, get exasperated, sometimes get thrilled, even occasionally feel depressed at, the reviews you get for your beloved creation? You pause, take it in, and then, you tell yourself it is as much about the readers as it is about you. Or better yet, it is more about the readers than it is about you. At which point, you ought to relax … Continue reading What Some People Are Saying: Book Reviews