Machines Like Us. Do They?

The days of the pandemic, when technology is playing an even bigger role in people’s lives and many are singing its praises, is a good time to turn to science fiction. To imagine what AI can do to our lives and our work. More importantly, to our relationships with each other. These days, I read… Continue reading Machines Like Us. Do They?

Of Open Cities in the Time of Lockdowns

Deserted city streets. Empty or shuttered shops and restaurants. Air travel pretty much grounded. And a raging pandemic in our midst. Seems to be a strange time to be reading a book that is about just the opposite. About a life we once knew, which makes the act of reading it now, a study in… Continue reading Of Open Cities in the Time of Lockdowns

Discovering Virginia Woolf, The Critic

A connection on LinkedIn shared a new book by Virginia Woolf published by Times Literary Supplement and I decided that I must buy and read this book of hers. Titled Genius and Ink, Virginia Woolf on How to Read, it is a selection of her essays and criticism for the Times Literary Supplement, to which… Continue reading Discovering Virginia Woolf, The Critic

The Anarchy: A Cautionary Tale of Capitalism

I have never understood the recent trend (a decade or more) of subtitling book titles, and I suspect it’s the publishers’ tactic of trying to boost book sales. But in the case of William Dalrymple’s recent tome, The Anarchy, the subtitle actually does more justice to the subject: The East India Company, Corporate Violence and… Continue reading The Anarchy: A Cautionary Tale of Capitalism

Travel, In Ways You Never Imagined

As someone who loves travel, I must say that Olga Tokarczuk’s book, Flights, opened up new vistas in my mind about how to think about it. Part travelogue, part meditation on time and journeys, part historical storytelling, it is hard to even call it a novel, which is what it is. The genre-defying Flights is… Continue reading Travel, In Ways You Never Imagined

A Paean to Thymos

Over a year ago, I had written a post on identity politics as it exists around the world, including in India, and in it I had referred to an excerpt from Francis Fukuyama’s new book, Identity, that I happened to read online on Quillette. I had then said that I would like to read the… Continue reading A Paean to Thymos

The Magical Surrealism of Italo Calvino

Having finished reading two of Italo Calvino’s books in quick succession, I have to say that I have been transported to a magical land. Invisible Cities and If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller are studies in surrealism that leave you suspended in space and time. Calvino is known to be a master story-teller, but… Continue reading The Magical Surrealism of Italo Calvino