December 14, 2018
by Neelima
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Visual Friday: Snowing Books

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December 13, 2018
by Neelima
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Orwell in the 21st Century @ Link Wanderlust

The great octopus Netflix has its tentacles on pretty every story that has been told. It’s a retelling kind of retail; now they have the rights to George Orwell’s Animal Farm. The challenge in remaking such a work, more than the special effects it takes to bring an allegory to life, is whether the retelling becomes political commentary. This has happened before.

“Because there are two versions of Animal Farm. The first is the allegorical story written by Orwell in 1945, charting the story of Napoleon’s porcine revolt against Mr Jones, the embodiment of decadent and exploitative capitalism. The second Animal Farm is the animated film of 1954, which, by rights, should list the CIA in its roll of credits.”

Orwell was against anything extreme, not just communism, even capitalist excesses haunted him.

“The moral and intellectual clarity of Orwell’s day, and the relative incoherency of ours, makes an authentic reboot of Animal Farm hard to imagine. At best, we will have an unnecessary historical drama; at worst, a corruption of Orwell’s original message, with Donald Trump cack-handedly photo-shopped in. I hope Andy Serkis sticks to the original text, but fear that reshaping the Russian Revolution’s fable to fit today’s political context will prove too tempting.”

Read more about The problem with the new Animal Farm: Four legs good, two films bad? by Guy Davies.

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December 11, 2018
by Neelima
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Readers can’t Digest-Week 211 (5-Dec to 11-Dec)

1. Prize-nominated poet’s debut cancelled as plagiarism accusations build 

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2. Waterstones Scottish Book of the Year 2018: English author Maine scoops prize

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3. Parliamentary Book Awards 2018 winners revealed: Jowell wins best memoir

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4. Ishiguro to be awarded Bodley Medal

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5. ‘Axe the reading tax’: book industry demands end to VAT on eBooks

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December 10, 2018
by Neelima
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Reader Traits and 4 Red Cars @ BYOB Party at the Takshashila Institution in Nov 2018 (Part 3)

Image result for the uncommon reader amazonAnuradha, a voracious reader, enjoyed reading The Uncommon Reader: A Novella by Alan Bennett. The premise of the book is adorable- what happens when a monarch becomes a book addict? There will be consequences, of course. With unmistakable British humor, Bennett traces the lifecycle of the reader. A reader is consumed by a book and utterly changed by the time the book is digested. “Consciously and unconsciously, books shape the voice in your head. It changes the way you perceive reality. In this case, the Queen ignores her royal duties and I am sure many of us have ignored our duties as well, especially when we are caught up in a book!” Anuradha said.

The readers in the room sighed in collective agreement.

Image result for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time amazonManya spoke about the bestselling book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon. The story revolves around Christopher John Francis Boone, a boy who knows his facts and has a photographic memory but can not comprehend emotion. “The plot changes every 50 pages and is readable in one sitting,” Manya said.  She also read out a delightful passage from the book:

“The psychologist at school once asked me why 4 red cars in a row made it a Good Day, and 4 red cars in a row made it a Quite Good Day, and 5 red cars in a row made it a Super Good Day, and why 4 yellow cars in a row made it a Black Day, which is a day I don’t speak to anyone and sit on my own reading books and don’t eat my lunch and Take No Risks. He said that I was clearly a very logical person, so he was surprised that I should think like this because it wasn’t very logical. I said that I liked things to be in a nice order. And one way of things being in a nice order was to be logical. Especially if those things were numbers or an argument. But there were other ways of putting things in a nice order.”

Check out 20 questions with Mark Haddon and watch him speak on YouTube here.

More books in Part 4.

December 6, 2018
by Neelima
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The Ethics of Memoir @ Link Wanderlust

Historically speaking, the identity of the author is irrelevant when it comes to critiquing the book. Memoir fraud could benefit readers.  Books like James Frey’s memoir of recovery from addiction to alcohol and crack cocaine may resonate with individuals who read the book to understand more about the deaddiction process. Sometimes autobiographies represent not an individual but a group of individuals and so a little bit of tampering with veracity is justifiable. Karl Ove Knausgaard’s multivolume work My Struggle seems to be true as well but autoficton could very well be fictional, authenticity only a matter of how real it seems to the reader or how well the writer makes up the truth.

“But that was then, and this, to put it mildly, is now. The rules have changed. The ethics of authorship are completely different. In academic discourse, hybridity is out; intersectionality is in. People are imagined as the sum of their race, gender, sexuality, ableness, and other identities. Individuals not only bear the entire history of these identities; they “own” them. A person who is not defined by them cannot tell the world what it is like to be a person who is. If you were not born it, you should not perform it.”

The question really is do literary hoaxes serve a purpose in this era of fake news, plagiarism and forgery? Read Literary Hoaxes and the Ethics of Authorship by by Louis Menand for more.

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December 4, 2018
by Neelima
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Readers can’t Digest-Week 210 (28-Nov to 4-Dec)

1. Aspen Words Prize Longlist of 16 Titles for 2019 Prize in Issue-Driven Fiction

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2. Margaret Atwood Is Writing A Sequel To The Handmaid’s Tale

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3. Sally Rooney’s Normal People named Waterstones book of the year

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4. P is for pterodactyl, T is for tsunami: the ‘worst alphabet book’ becomes a bestseller

alphabet GIF by Olle Engstrom

5. Prime Minister’s Literary awards 2018: Gerald Murnane wins for ‘exquisite’ novel

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December 3, 2018
by Neelima
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Investment and Inequality @ BYOB Party at the Takshashila Institution in Nov 2018 (Part 2)

Image result for Investment Philosophies aswathRalph spoke economics at the BYOB Party this time. The book he focused on this time was Investment Philosophies by Aswath Damodaran, a well-known academic and practitioner in finance.

It’s a very interesting book, a reference textbook for management students too. There are some very descriptive exercises which I didn’t do as I was intimidated by the prospect. It’s the perfect guide for investors who want a better understanding of investment strategies including indexing, passive and activist value investing, growth investing, chart/technical analysis, market timing, arbitrage, etc. It’s no book for a novice and is based entirely on empirical studies. No gut feel or magic wand here.

You can follow Damodaran’s YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLvnJL8htRR1T9cbSccaoVw

Image result for The Price of Inequality amazonThe economics trend continued with Devanshu who talked about The Price of Inequality by Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz. Turns out inequality doesn’t help the privileged either in the long run. Stiglitz does an in-depth study of what leads to inequality- unpredictable markets and faulty political systems. Adam Smith was discussed as is the case when economics is brought up. Indira mentioned an insightful book called The Growth Delusion by David Pilling, a revelatory and entertaining book about the pitfalls of how we measure our economy and how to correct them. If you are looking for the equivalent of Strunk and White of Economics, look no further than the book Economics in one Lesson by Henry Hazlitt- another good book to understand the economy. To understand the story of runaway capitalism, watch The Lorax.

More books in Part 3.

Visual Friday: Thanksgiving in Books

November 30, 2018 by Neelima | 0 comments

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November 29, 2018
by Neelima
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Writer Traits @ Link Wanderlust

What are the traits that a writer has? Is there any genetic peculiarity, any mannerism or habit that grants the label? Karen E.Bender creates a list of qualities like the love of language and sensitivity, an openness to the imagination, stubbornness and the ability to be deluded.

“A delusion is problematic if you’re, say, refusing to acknowledge that a certain person actually does not like you, or if you’re sinking into debt, or if you’re hearing voices. But in creating art, in sitting down in front of a blank page and saying, “I am going to write a novel,” or a story, or anything that does not have a clear outcome or map, delusion (or, perhaps deep suppression of the incredible difficulty of this undertaking) can have a use.

Makes you wonder about the truth behind most writers. To be fair, not all writers have similar experiences or personalities. Can a broad yardstick be used to define nearly all writers of our time? Perhaps not but a writer or at least the world’s perception of one is a stubborn bull who loves words and is sensitive to nuances that non-writers do not write about. Inspiration aside, a writer is somewhat consistent in his pagely ambition.

Read If You Have These Traits You Might Be a Writer.

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