RK Narayan’s Malgudi Days

RK Narayan enjoyed writing short stories more than novels. He said so in the introduction to his collection of short stories, Malgudi Days.

First published in Penguin Books in 1984, Malgudi Days includes selections from his earlier collections, An Astrologer’s Day and Other Stories (1947) and Lawley Road and Other Stories (1956 ), as well as stories that had appeared in such publications as The New Yorker, Playboy and Antaeus.

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Julius Caesar

Scholarship is like technology, always evolving. The Arden Shakespeare edition of Julius Caesar I picked up from the library can’t be the Arden edition of Julius Caesar I read in my schooldays. This edition, first published in 1998, is edited by David Daniell, who begins his introduction to the play by asserting, “Julius Caesar is Shakespeare’s first great tragedy.”

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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.

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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.

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Homage to Adrian Henri

The poems of Adrian Henri are as catchy and simple as pop songs. He, Roger McGough and Brian Patten were the three Liverpool poets presented in The Mersey Sound, a bestselling poetry anthology of all time. First published in 1967, The Mersey Sound has sold over a half million copies.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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