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Shakespeare and his women

It’s a pity Shakespeare (1564-1616) is no longer compulsory reading in Singapore schools. So many girls here have the perfect figure to play the boy-girl roles of Shakespeare’s comedies. No offence meant. It’s just that Shakespeare is taken so seriously it throws people off. Lighten up, please, Shakespeare wrote for […]

Blink: Not what it’s blurbed to be

"Trust your instincts. Don’t think — blink," says the blurb. But I am beginning to have doubts about my instincts after reading this. "Blink is all about those moments when we ‘know’ something without really knowing why," says the blurb. But I thought the book showed our first impressions could […]

Who let the blogs out?

Who Let the Blogs Out?: A Hyperconnected Peek at the World of WeblogsA book by Biz Stone Dan Gillmor may not know it, but I link to his blog. He links to Glenn Reynolds aka Instapundit which makes me two degrees removed from the pundit. Bloggers, click on your blogrolls, […]

Lost in translation

A rock’n’roll fan, I don’t care for Tagore’s songs or dance dramas, but I have come across no poet who has written more consistently well than the grand old man of Bengali literature. Wordsworth can bore, Keats has his juvenalia, Yeats and Dylan Thomas can be incomprehensible, Tennyson trite, Browning […]

To Kill A Mockingbird

"When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. When it healed, and Jem’s fears of never being able to play football were assuaged, he was seldom self-conscious about his injury. His left arm was somewhat shorter than his right; when he stood […]

Literature or social studies?

Two days ago a letter appeared in The Straits Times headlined: "English literature: Keep its beauty pure". "Literature and fiction are not synonyms," said the writer quite rightly but then went on to add: "My dictionary defines literature as ‘writings having excellence of form or expression and expressing ideas of […]

A rare English novel

I just finished reading Ian Rankin’s Fleshmarket Alley. What struck me was not so much the storytelling or the characterisation — Rankin has done better in earlier John Rebus novels which go deeper into characters and atmosphere. But this is a book one should read not only as a crime […]

Hart of Gutenberg

One of the Guardian blogs recently carried the rumour that Google might buy the Opera browser. It duly noted that both Google and Opera denied any such deal, but still it ran the story. Anything that Google does is news, even when it is only copying others. Reams have been […]

About A Boy

Warm and funny, About A Boy is one of the most enjoyable books I have read this year. Nick Hornby is one of the most popular British novelists today. And almost page bears shining proof of his gifts of comedy and empathy as he tells the story of two lovable […]