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Side Reads - A Book of English Essays - Edited by W.E. Williams

Remember our school days? Remember those dreary passages we had to read and read again - between the lines and over and under them? Remember wondering how could the study of language be so dry? Well, it turns out, what we were served was high in protein, but pretty much devoid of spice and juice. Let me set the record straight. Essays are fun. Read A Book of English Essays to see if I'm right.  As the name says, it is a collection of small essays on a multitude of topics by the who's-who of English literature - Francis Bacon, Joseph Addison, Charles Lamb, Leigh Hunt, A.A. Milne, R.L. Stevenson - honestly the list is quite scary. But once you pull your head out of the table of contents, it's a treasure mine. Most essays are short, possibly the length of a newspaper article (which is how they must have been originally published I think). What is interesting though, is the topics they are on. So there are absolutely gorgeous ones like 'Getting Up on Cold Morni
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Personal - By Lee Child

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Mood Reads - June 30, 2020

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Picking up where we leave

We always leave ourselves behind. If not all of it, definitely some parts. It's not that that bit was messy, but mostly because something better or worse demanded more attention. In the end, it boils down to the power of the dramatic. Admittedly, reading - for the fun of it, that is, is one of those less dramatic, quiet parts of our lives that we flit in and out of. Till a few years back, this used to bother me a bit. After all, reading is what makes us; that, and our childhood. And what am I, if not an avid reader? Turns out, I'm just fine.  I may not have created world records in books consumed, but I haven't turned to dust either! Rather, I'm here, a slightly newer version of me, that bit different (because let's accept it, the old world is - perhaps, fortunately - no more) and an appetite built over the last three months of somehow being very worried and very relaxed at the same time. Mind, it wasn't easy, plugging back in. And again, it to

Top 10 books to read when you are depressed

Books are handy weapons to stave off blues - be it the dregs of the Sunday evening or a nasty bout of flu. When you are depressed, it takes herculean efforts to shake off the feeling. And I'm not even talking about the more severe, clinical form of depression. I can't get myself to pour myself a glass of water the day after Diwali; on Fridays on the other hand, I am the epitome of eternal sunshine. For such moody, dull days, these top 10 books are the surest way to dust a little sparkle in your life. 1) Three Men In A Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) : This is Jerome K. Jerome at his absolute best. It was published some 130 years back and is still capable of eliciting raucous laughter. It is the honest journal of three young, bumbling flatmates and their dog on a river cruise. Look out for some meandering, pedantic pages, but they offer some relief from the relentless humour.  2) James Herriot's   Dog Stories : If you love animals (and dogs, in particular), t

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Higginbothams of Ooty

It took us some time to decipher that the name of the crossroad was Charing Cross. After all, it is an unexpected name for an Indian crossroad in Tamil Nadu, and the mildly opinionated chap driving us to our hotel had a heavy accent. Charing Cross turned out to be a triangular enclosure, with an imposing fountain (we later discovered that it was named the Adam's Fountain; it is three-tiered, the second one topped by four very colourful cherubs). Since we had arrived in the middle of the afternoon in the thick of winter, the roads were thronging with people and vehicles. Shops were bustling and business appeared brisk. Our driver skilfully negotiated the traffic as we passed woollens shops, gift houses, eateries, groceries and mobile-phone shops.  We returned to the market later in the evening, after having deposited our luggage. Both my husband and I had been fending off a nasty bout of flu and needed to restock our now near-empty medicine pouch. Charing Cross in the eveni

The Sense of an Ending - Julian Barnes

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Man-Eaters of Kumaon - Jim Corbett

Genre: Non-fiction Rating: 5/5 This one is decidedly a classic, so there is little point in reviewing this book. It is a beautiful one, without doubt.  Personally, I avoid any form of entertainment (books, movies, plays, anything) which features cruelty - either directly or tacitly - towards animals (I have not yet seen any of the Planet of the Apes movies, Ant Man  was uncomfortable too). So deciding to read this book took a certain degree of convincing.  Much credit goes to the beautiful cover of the book. This one is an Aleph Classics  (co-founded by David Davidar of The House of Blue Mangoes fame, and Rupa Publication) edition. In terms of sheer elegance, the cover design is unmatched. The palette concept of jungle green coupled with the late afternoon sun creates an ambiance even before you delve into the pages. I picked out the book from a thin pile on a shelf in the little HigginBothams book-store near Charing Cross in Ooty, one biting winter evening (more