Sunday, March 7, 2010

For fine reading

Here's a book you can safely judge by its cover. Wolpert's biography of Nehru, Guha's India after Gandhi, Linda Goodman and Shakespeare all share shelf space on the cover, and the eclecticism of the collection is a good enough indicator of what lies in store inside Written For Ever: The Best of Civil Lines.

The pieces are all taken from the five volumes of Civil Lines that were published between 1994 and 2001, at terribly irregular intervals — whenever the editors had put enough writing of a certain quality together, that had something to do with India, and that had never been published before.

Rukun Advani, editor of the collection, has a tongue-in-cheek introduction. Advani takes a pot-shot at a former employer. The publishing house he worked at (Oxford University Press) “booted (him) out”, he says, as it was taken over by “jumped-up salesmen”. He also heaps scorn on the bloggers and the “attention-deficit plebs”— you and me and the whole wide world could go into that description — who would never be allowed a space in Civil Lines..

Full review here Hindu

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