As You Like It, Rosalind

Rosalind has been my favourite Shakespearean heroine from the first time I read As You Like It. That was shortly after the Beatles had disbanded, when soft rock was ruling the airwaves and there were no such things as PCs and the World Wide Web. The world has changed utterly since then even in its reading of Shakespeare. As You Like It now turns out to be not just a romantic comedy, which was what I thought it was, but a play with homoerotic elements. Continue reading “As You Like It, Rosalind”

Forever Fats Domino

Blueberry Hills belongs with Elvis Presley’s Are You Lonesome Tonight?, Joan Baez’s Diamonds and Rust, and Bob Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right and It Ain’t Me Babe among the sweetest, saddest love songs of all time. And now the voice and piano behind Blueberry Hill is dead. Fats Domino has died at the age of 89. But the boogie-woogie pianist who helped launch rock ’n’ roll will always have a place in my heart. Continue reading “Forever Fats Domino”

P.G. Wodehouse and the Beatles

There’s something in common between PG Wodehouse and the early Beatles. Both are unique and both are fun. Listen to Beatles hits like Please Please Me, Help and A Hard Day’s Night – you are struck by the sheer energy and exuberance, the boys sound like no one else on earth. And the lyrics and music are catchy and uncomplicated. Wodehouse also is in a class by himself. I haven’t read a funnier, more entertaining writer. Continue reading “P.G. Wodehouse and the Beatles”

Kazuo Ishiguro and other Nobel Prize winners writing in English

More than a quarter of the Nobel prizes in literature awarded since 1901 have gone to authors writing in English. But English is not the mother tongue of all of them. Kazuo Ishiguro is the fourth Nobel prize winner in literature who writes in English but whose mother tongue isn’t English. Continue reading “Kazuo Ishiguro and other Nobel Prize winners writing in English”

Anthony Howard and the old New Statesman

I just came across Anthony Howard on Wikipedia. He was the editor of the New Statesman when I used to look forward to every issue of the weekly.

Just out of high school, reading English as an undergrad, I had a thing about newspapers and magazines back then. Shakespeare and Wordsworth were all very grand but, to keep up with the language, one had to read new books and periodicals too. And top of the pops for me were the New Statesman and Time. Continue reading “Anthony Howard and the old New Statesman”

Technology alone isn’t enough

Technology alone isn’t enough, said Steve Jobs. He was right.

This article was written on a PC using Microsoft Word and fact-checked online, drawing information from the internet. It wouldn’t have been possible had Bill Gates and Paul Allen not co-founded Microsoft and Tim Berners-Lee not invented the World Wide Web.

Technology has transformed the world. No wonder everyone from political leaders to parents urges the young to study science and technology. Those are the academic disciplines that help nations progress and provide the best and the most job opportunities in the world today.

Has any other field of study had as much influence on the world? Are innovators like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Tim Berners-Lee rivalled by economists like John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman? Continue reading “Technology alone isn’t enough”

Why write?

What’s the difference between writers and journalists? Journalists write to inform the public about what’s happening in the world. Writers can write about themselves and imaginary worlds. I was reminded of the difference while reading the book, Why Write?

The author, Mark Edmundson, does not contrast writers and journalists. But he could be alluding to journalists when he talks about writers who “write to learn something”. They are sociable, equally at home with others, gathering material, and alone, writing, at their desks, he says. Continue reading “Why write?”

Feedbin, Feedly, Inoreader, Newsblur: News aggregators compared

The Readability bookmarking service was shut down on September 30. But Readability’s armchair icon can still be found in the Feedbin news aggregator. It’s what makes reading articles in Feedbin so simple and easy on the eye. Click on the armchair icon and you get to read the entire article from any website  in a clear, easy-to-read format without having to go to the website itself. Continue reading “Feedbin, Feedly, Inoreader, Newsblur: News aggregators compared”