The Ayatollah and I weren't on the same page
What are you reading right now?
The Patna Manual of Style by SIDDHARTH CHOWDHURY, though
in a mystified fashion.
Which book, author or series do you reach out for when you just
want a comfort read?
Life at Blandings or any of the Emsworth stories
by PG WODEHOUSE.
Which is the weirdest book you have read, and why was it weird?
The Little Green Book by AYATOLLAH KHOMEINI. Someone
gifted it to me, for reasons I can`t begin to imagine. The book contains nuggets
of perceived wisdom from the man when he was in exile. Suffice it to say I read
it from cover to cover with an open mouth. Suffice it to also say that the
Ayatollah and I were not on the same page as regards those insights of
Who are your favorite contemporary writers, and your favourite writers of
question. I like virtually everything RUSHDIE, VIKRAM SETH, MANU JOSEPH and
KIRAN NAGARKAR write. As also AMITAV GHOSH, WILLIAM DALRYMPLE, IRWIN ALLAN
SEALY, NEIL GAIMAN, ANEES SALIM, NADEEM ASLAM. My favourite writers of all time
are the aforementioned PGW, SHAKESPEARE, JRR TOLKIEN, and (here I`m leading
with my chin) AYN RAND, as also COLIN THUBRON, JANE AUSTEN and BRUCE CHATWIN. And…
no, I`d better stop.
Which was the last book that made you laugh?
The Competent Authority by SHOVON CHOWDHURY. Brilliant
satire with many laugh-out-aloud passages.
If you have to get the PM to read one book, which one
would it be and why?
The Hindus, An Alternative
History by WENDY
DONIGER. Oh wait, that`s still banned, right? Then maybe my book Kith and Kin, for a light read. It will
give him an insight into the way Mallus think and behave!
Name one book that is a favourite -- but most people would be surprised to
know you'd even read it...
GREEN`s I Never Promised You A Rose
Garden. It deals with terminal schizophrenia and is a most
disturbing read, but it is also the most compelling first-person account of
Which was the last book you just couldn't finish?
compulsive book-finisher but I just couldn’t reach the end of In the Light of What We Know by ZIA
HAIDER RAHMAN. Erudition, alas, does not always make for good reading.
Which book would you ask people not to read -- if you believed in doing such
things, of course?
don`t... not even the books I pan while reviewing them for newspapers,
magazines and my book blog. The truth is, reading is a deeply enriching
activity. You learn, even from the books you dislike.
Which book do you remember most vividly from your
Beau Geste by PC WREN. I first plucked it from
my grandmother`s bookshelf when I was about twelve years old. Loved the story,
which was basically an homage to courage, decency, doing the right thing. What`s
more, it stood up very well to a second reading last year.
Sheila Kumar is author of the book Kith and Kin, Chronicles of a Clan. She regularly reviews books for periodicals as well as on her blog.
Labels: books, Kith and Kin, Sheila Kumar, Shelf Esteem, The Times of India