Tuesday, May 31, 2005

About Schmidt is all about Nicholson. But Nicholson like you've never seen before. I could spot an eyebrow arch a couple of times, but that was it. None of the over the top aggression and mannerisms that one has come to associate with Nicholson over the years. A brilliant performance, mainly because he wasn't playing himself after a long while.

The movie is directed by Alexander Payne, he of Election and Sideways fame. The guy is good, worth tracking.

Friday, May 27, 2005

All the Presidents' Men

APJ Abdul Kalam and I stepped off the chopper. I opened the umbrella for him as we moved away, towards the waiting Musharaff and his aide. The cameraman ran behind us, camera whirring, eager to capture every moment.

Musharaff stepped forward and greeted Kalam. Kalam smiled and spoke softly, "I wanted to make this a personal trip. Your last nuclear blast was clearly unwarranted. I wanted to just come by and tell you that no matter what stand the Indian government takes, I strongly disapprove".

I looked at the aide and said,"We have brought only one camera. When your President came to Agra he had hundreds of cameras and reporters all over the place. See? That's how our President conducts himself". The aide looked away, clearly embarrassed.

An hour later, I stepped out of the airport for a brief walk and spotted Musharaff whispering to his aide. I slowly went near them and hid behind a tree. Musharaff was urging the aide to get his visa stamped immediately. "I don't trust these Indians. You need to be there right away", he said.

My cell phone started to ring at that very instant, emitting incessant beeps. Musharaff peered behind the tree and told me, "That's not your cell, that's your alarm. It's 6 am."

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Tech Talk

I'm thinking of upgrading my prehistoric Windows 98 to something more modern and less problematic, like Win XP. However, what's stopping me is the cost. Of course, I can grab a pirated version and go right ahead, but I thought I'd at least consider a Linux distro. My main requirements out of the OS are:

1. I should be able to setup my DSL modem and use my BSNL broadband account fairly smoothly. Smooth to me, not sm00thorz, if you know what I mean.
2. I need to be able to burn CDs using my Samsung CD Writer.
3. I should be able to watch Div-x movies
4. Winamp or its Linux equivalent should work
5. I should be able to work with MS Word, Excel and Powerpoint.
6. Yahoo and MSN messengers should work. Oh, ok. At least GAIM or something that alows me to sign into Yahoo, MSN and AIM.

I understand there is a distro (SUSE?) which allows you to run Linux off a CD and evaluate it. Would that be a good option? Are the above requirements too stringent? Hmm.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Time's Top 100 movies

This is an excellent list. Now to look out for them at National Market!

Aguirre: the Wrath of God (1972)
The Apu Trilogy (1955, 1956, 1959)
The Awful Truth (1937)
Baby Face (1933)
Bande à part (1964)
Barry Lyndon (1975)
Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980)
Blade Runner (1982)
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Brazil (1985)
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Camille (1936)
Casablanca (1942)
Charade (1963)
Children of Paradise (1945)
Chinatown (1974)
Chungking Express (1994)
Citizen Kane (1941)
City Lights (1931)
City of God (2002)
Closely Watched Trains (1966)
The Crime of Monsieur Lange (1936)
The Crowd (1928)
Day for Night (1973)
The Decalogue (1989)
Detour (1945)
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)
Dodsworth (1936)
Double Indemnity (1944)
Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop
Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

Drunken Master II (1994)
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
8 1/2 (1963)
The 400 Blows (1959)
Farewell My Concubine (1993)
Finding Nemo (2003)
The Fly (1986)
The Godfather, Parts I and II (1972, 1974)
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966)
Goodfellas (1990)
A Hard Day's Night (1964)
His Girl Friday (1940)
Ikiru (1952)
In A Lonely Place (1950)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
It's A Gift (1934)
It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
Kandahar (2001)
Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
King Kong (1933)
The Lady Eve (1941)
The Last Command (1928)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Léolo (1992)
The Lord of the Rings (2001-03)
The Man With a Camera (1929)
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
Metropolis (1927)
Miller's Crossing (1990)
Mon oncle d'Amérique (1980)
Mouchette (1967)
Nayakan (1987)
Ninotchka (1939)
Notorious (1946)
Olympia, Parts 1 and 2 (1938)
On the Waterfront (1954)
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
Out of the Past (1947)
Persona (1966)
Pinocchio (1940)
Psycho (1960)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)
Pyaasa (1957)
Raging Bull (1980)
Schindler's List (1993)
The Searchers (1956)
Sherlock, Jr. (1924)
The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
The Singing Detective (1986)
Smiles of a Summer Night (1955)
Some Like It Hot (1959)
Star Wars (1977)
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Sunrise (1927)
Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
Swing Time (1936)
Talk to Her (2002)
Taxi Driver (1976)
Tokyo Story (1953)
A Touch of Zen (1971)
Ugetsu (1953)
Ulysses' Gaze (1995)
Umberto D (1952)
Unforgiven (1992)
White Heat (1949)
Wings of Desire (1987)
Yojimbo (1961)

Revenge of the Sith had the corniest dialogue you can imagine. If you can sit through that and remain awake for the first 100 minutes, then you'll enjoy some of the snazziest action ever seen on screen. Starting with Obi-Wan doing Greivous harm, moving on to Anakin getting converted to the Dark Side and winding up with the fantastic duel over lava, the last 45 minutes made it all worthwhile. If you are someone who hasn't watched a single Star Wars film, I recommend skipping the first two episodes and walking in halfway into the third.

Ho hum ha ha ha. He's blind, he cuts people. Oh wait a minute, he's not really blind. Oh no, he is. Why do all these folks queue up to get slaughtered anyway? Why is this a cult classic? Why do I keep watching these new wave Japanese/Chinese movies?

Considered the black sheep of the trilogy, this movie isn't all that bad really. A bit darker, fewer jokes and a mite too confusing. You can't avoid watching it though.

Hmm. Did they change it recently? I always thought this was a hilarious rip-roaring adventure yarn. Anything but, when you watch it now.

Another repeat. Good, rollicking fun. The soundtrack isn't half bad either.

Again. And again. Never get tired of watching it, never get tired of reading it. Almost perfect.

Wicked. Not a movie to watch with your significant other. Or hold on, maybe it is.

Yawn. Overrated, sentimental 'classic'. The more I see of Tornatore, the less I like him.

Wonderful, wonderful movie. The characters are - pardon the obvious pun - very well drawn and the dialogue is top-notch. Pixar is incredible!

Gets under your skin, this film. The plot's quite stupid and the acting sucks. The saving grace is of course Sharon Stone - and I don't mean just the famous legs-crossing scene.

My second Miyazaki. Quite nice, really. Interesting story, cute characters. I must remember to watch the others from Studio Ghibli.

The weekend that was

Revenge of the Sith had the corniest dialogue you can imagine. If you can sit through that and somehow remain awake for the first 100 minutes, then you'll enjoy some of the snazziest action ever seen on screen. Starting with Obi-Wan doing Greivous harm, moving on to Anakin getting converted to the Dark Side and winding up with the fantastic duel over lava, the last 45 minutes made it all worthwhile. If you are someone who hasn't watched a single Star Wars film, I recommend skipping the first two episodes and walking in halfway into the third.


Thanks to , I'm now completely Friends-Only. Hurrah!


Dinner at Sufi was a complete disaster. For starters, they did not have starters. Or at least, starters you could start with. There was also this wedding party going on at the basement which featured Cacofonix and his crew. He launched into a Carnatic rendition of Staying Alive, which we barely managed. Needless to add, the rain came pouring down as well. The plain rice was, well, plain. The green veggie thingy was absolutely unpalatable. The chicken was just about ok - at least the parts that were not burnt. Maybe we caught them on a bad day.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

The News

We've had some fun, and yes we've had our ups and downs
Been down that rocky road, but here we are, still around
Thought about someone else, but neither one could debate
Thought about breaking up, but now we know it's much too late

We are bound by all the rest
Like the same phone number
All the same friends
And the same address

Yes, it's true, I'm happy to be stuck with you
Yes, it's true, I'm happy to be stuck with you
Because I can see that you're happy to be stuck with me

We've had our doubts, but we never took them seriously
And we've had our ins and outs, but that's the way it's supposed to be
Thought about giving up, but we could never stay away
Thought about breaking up, but now we know it's much too late

And it's no great mystery
If we change our minds
Eventually, it's back to you and me

Yes, it's true, I'm happy to be stuck with you
Yes, it's true, I'm happy to be stuck with you
Because I can see that you're happy to be stuck with me

Monday, May 16, 2005

Independent Lists

The Independent has come up with an nice article on HMV Britain's poll to find out the top 50 British movies of all time. Excerpt:

It's official. The people have spoken, and they have decreed that the best British film of all time is The Italian Job. Not the remake, but the original 1969 heist movie, directed by Peter Collinson, starring Michael Caine, Noël Coward, Benny Hill, three customised Minis, some unconvincing "dolly birds" and a deeply irritating song called "The Self-Preservation Society".

We'll give you a minute to digest that information, before hitting you with the news that Bridget Jones's Diary is the third-best British movie of all time (beaten to the runner-up slot by Trainspotting); that last year's mildly amusing rom-zom-com hybrid Shaun of the Dead is fourth; and the Hugh-Grant-gets-cute-with-Julia-Roberts vehicle, Notting Hill, is fifth.

John Walsh has given his alternative list, both of which I've detailed below. In the ubiquitous LJ meme style, of course.

Chosen by HMV customers

1. The Italian Job (1969, Peter Collinson)
2. Trainspotting (1995, Danny Boyle)
3. Bridget Jones' Diary (2001, Sharon Maguire)
4. Shaun of the Dead (2004, Edgar Wright)
5. Notting Hill (1999, Roger Michell)
6. Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels (1998, Guy Ritchie)
7. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994, Mike Newell)
8. Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979, Terry Jones)
9. Snatch (2000, Guy Ritchie)
10. The Full Monty (1997, Peter Cattaneo)
11. Lawrence of Arabia (1962, David Lean)
12. Withnail & I (1995, Bruce Robinson)
13. Love Actually (2003, Richard Curtis)
14. Zulu (1964, Cy Endfield)
15. The Great Escape (1963, John Sturges)
16. Get Carter (1971, Mike Hodges)
17. Monty Python & The Holy Grail (1975, Terry Gilliam/Terry Jones)
18. Layer Cake (2004, Matthew Vaughn)
19. The Wicker Man (1973, Robin Hardy)
20. The Ladykillers (1955, Alexander Mackendrick)
21. 28 Days Later (2002, Danny Boyle)
22. A Clockwork Orange (1971, Stanley Kubrick)
23. The Third Man (1949, Carol Reed)
24. The Long Good Friday (1980, John Mackenzie)
25. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957, David Lean)
26. A Matter of Life and Death (1946, Powell/Pressburger)
27. Quadrophenia (1979, Franc Roddam)
28. Billy Elliot (2000, Stephen Daldry)
29. Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949, Robert Hamer)
30. Brief Encounter (1945, David Lean)
31. Dog Soldiers (2002, Neil Marshall)
32. Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone (2001, Chris Columbus)
33. Shallow Grave (1994, Danny Boyle)
34. Chariots of Fire (1981, Hugh Hudson)
35. Kes (1969, Ken Loach)
36. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004, Beeban Kidron)
37. Gandhi (1982, Richard Attenborough)
38. The 39 Steps (1935, Alfred Hitchcock)
39. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964, Stanley Kubrick)
40. Oliver! (1968, Carol Reed)
41. Goodbye Mr. Chips (1939, Sam Wood)
42. Alfie (1966, Lewis Gilbert)
43. A Fish Called Wanda (1988, Charles Chrichton)
44. Bend It Like Beckham (2002, Gurinder Chadha)
45. Battle of Britain (1969, Guy Hamilton)
46. Doctor Zhivago (1965, David Lean)
47. Passport to Pimlico (1949, Henry Cornelius)
48. The Railway Children (1970, Lionel Jeffries)
49. A Bridge Too Far (1977, Richard Attenborough)
50. Sense & Sensibility (1995, Ang Lee)

Chosen by John Walsh

1. Great Expectations (1946, David Lean)
2. Oliver Twist (1948, David Lean)
3. Darling (1965, John Schlesinger)
4. Billy Liar (1963, John Schlesinger)
5. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962, Tony Richardson)
6. if... (1968, Lindsay Anderson)
7. O Lucky Man! (1973, Lindsay Anderson)
8. Women In Love (1969, Ken Russell)
9. Whistle Down the Wind (1961, Bryan Forbes)
10. Naked (1993, Mike Leigh)
11. Secrets and Lies (1996, Mike Leigh)
12. In Which We Serve (1942, Noel Coward/David Lean)
13. Topsy-Turvy (1999, Mike Leigh)
14. Room at the Top (1959, Jack Clayton)
15. The Innocents (1961, Jack Clayton)
16. The Trilogy (1972-78, Bill Douglas)
17. My Name is Joe (1998, Ken Loach)
18. Gregory's Girl (1981, Bill Forsyth)
19. The English Patient (1996, Anthony Minghella)
20. The Talented Mr Ripley (1999, Anthony Minghella)
21. Local Hero (1983, Bill Forsyth)
22. Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers (1993, Nick Park)
23. Hope and Glory (1987, John Boorman)
24. The Draughtsman's Contract (1982, Peter Greenaway)
25. The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989, Peter Greenaway)
26. The Commitments (1991, Alan Parker)
27. The Butcher Boy (1997, Neil Jordan)
28. Henry V (1989, Kenneth Branagh)
29. The Lady Vanishes (1938, Alfred Hitchcock)
30. Brighton Rock (1947, John Boulting)
31. The Red Shoes (1948, Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger)
32. Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960, Karel Reisz)
33. The Lavender Hill Mob (1951, Charles Chrichton)
34. The Servant (1963, Joseph Losey)
35. The Crying Game (1992, Neil Jordan)
36. Dr No (1962, Terence Young)
37. A Man for all Seasons (1966, Fred Zinnemann)
38. The Madness of King George (1994, Nicholas Hytner)
39. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943, Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger)
40. I'm All Right Jack (1959, John Boulting)
41. Shakespeare in Love (1998, John Madden)
42. Tom Jones (1963, Tony Richardson)
43. This Sporting Life (1963, Lindsay Anderson)
44. My Left Foot (1989, Jim Sheridan)
45. The Go-Between (1970, Joseph Losey)
46. The Man in the White Suit (1951, Alexander Mackendrick)
47. Blow-Up (1966, Michelangelo Antonioni)
48. The Remains of the Day (1993, James Ivory)
49. Goldfinger (1964, Guy Hamilton)
50. Peeping Tom (1960, Michael Powell)

I clearly have a lot of catching up to do.

Saturday, May 7, 2005

Book meme

Found this at 's journal. Appears to be a variant of an old meme which I had attempted before, but what the hell - it's Saturday.

* bold those books you’ve read
* italicize started-but-never-finished
* underline owned but not read
* add three of your own
* post to your journal

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. 1984, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson 37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens 64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Susskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie
101. Three Men In A Boat, Jerome K. Jerome
102. Small Gods, Terry Pratchett
103. The Beach, Alex Garland
104. Dracula, Bram Stoker
105. Point Blanc, Anthony Horowitz
106. The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens
107. Stormbreaker, Anthony Horowitz
108. The Wasp Factory, Iain Banks
109. The Day Of The Jackal, Frederick Forsyth
110. The Illustrated Mum, Jacqueline Wilson
111. Jude The Obscure, Thomas Hardy
112. The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged 13 1/2, Sue Townsend
113. The Cruel Sea, Nicholas Monsarrat
114. Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
115. The Mayor Of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy
116. The Dare Game, Jacqueline Wilson
117. Bad Girls, Jacqueline Wilson
118. The Picture Of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
119. Shogun, James Clavell
120. The Day Of The Triffids, John Wyndham
121. Lola Rose, Jacqueline Wilson
122. Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray
123. The Forsyte Saga, John Galsworthy
124. House Of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski
125. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
126. Reaper Man, Terry Pratchett
127. Angus, Thongs And Full-Frontal Snogging, Louise Rennison
128. The Hound Of The Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle
129. Possession, A. S. Byatt
130. The Master And Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
131. The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
132. Danny The Champion Of The World, Roald Dahl
133. East Of Eden, John Steinbeck
134. George’s Marvellous Medicine, Roald Dahl
135. Wyrd Sisters, Terry Pratchett
136. The Color Purple, Alice Walker
137. Hogfather, Terry Pratchett
138. The Thirty-Nine Steps, John Buchan
139. Girls In Tears, Jacqueline Wilson
140. Sleepovers, Jacqueline Wilson
141. All Quiet On The Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque
142. Behind The Scenes At The Museum, Kate Atkinson
143. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby
144. It, Stephen King
145. James And The Giant Peach, Roald Dahl
146. The Green Mile, Stephen King
147. Papillon, Henri Charriere
148. Men At Arms, Terry Pratchett
149. Master And Commander, Patrick O’Brian
150. Skeleton Key, Anthony Horowitz
151. Soul Music, Terry Pratchett
152. Thief Of Time, Terry Pratchett
153. The Fifth Elephant, Terry Pratchett
154. Atonement, Ian McEwan
155. Secrets, Jacqueline Wilson
156. The Silver Sword, Ian Serraillier
157. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey
158. Heart Of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
159. Kim, Rudyard Kipling
160. Cross Stitch [aka Outlander], Diana Gabaldon
161. Moby Dick, Herman Melville
162. River God, Wilbur Smith
163. Sunset Song, Lewis Grassic Gibbon
164. The Shipping News, Annie Proulx
165. The World According To Garp, John Irving
166. Lorna Doone, R. D. Blackmore
167. Girls Out Late, Jacqueline Wilson
168. The Far Pavilions, M. M. Kaye
169. The Witches, Roald Dahl
170. Charlotte’s Web, E. B. White
171. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
172. They Used To Play On Grass, Terry Venables and Gordon Williams
173. The Old Man And The Sea, Ernest Hemingway
174. The Name Of The Rose, Umberto Eco
175. Sophie’s World, Jostein Gaarder
176. Dustbin Baby, Jacqueline Wilson
177. Fantastic Mr. Fox, Roald Dahl
178. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
179. Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, Richard Bach
180. The Little Prince, Antoine De Saint-Exupery
181. The Suitcase Kid, Jacqueline Wilson
182. Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
183. The Power Of One, Bryce Courtenay
184. Silas Marner, George Eliot
185. American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis
186. The Diary Of A Nobody, George and Weedon Grossmith
187. Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh
188. Goosebumps, R. L. Stine (all of them?!)
189. Heidi, Johanna Spyri
190. Sons And Lovers, D. H. Lawrence
191. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
192. Man And Boy, Tony Parsons
193. The Truth, Terry Pratchett
194. The War Of The Worlds, H. G. Wells
195. The Horse Whisperer, Nicholas Evans
196. A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry
197. Witches Abroad, Terry Pratchett
198. The Once And Future King, T. H. White
199. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle
200. Flowers In The Attic, V.C. Andrews
201. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
202. The Eye of the World, Robert Jordan
203. The Great Hunt, Robert Jordan
204. The Dragon Reborn, Robert Jordan
205. Fires of Heaven, Robert Jordan
206. Lord of Chaos, Robert Jordan
207. Winter’s Heart, Robert Jordan
208. A Crown of Swords, Robert Jordan
209. Crossroads of Twilight, Robert Jordan
210. A Path of Daggers, Robert Jordan
211. As Nature Made Him, John Colapinto
212. Microserfs, Douglas Coupland
213. The Married Man, Edmund White
214. Winter’s Tale, Mark Helprin
215. The History of Sexuality, Michel Foucault
216. Cry to Heaven, Anne Rice
217. Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe, John Boswell
218. Equus, Peter Shaffer
219. The Man Who Ate Everything, Jeffrey Steingarten
220. Letters To A Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke
221. Ella Minnow Pea, Mark Dunn
222. The Vampire Lestat, Anne Rice
223. Anthem, Ayn Rand
224. Bridge To Terabithia, Katherine Paterson
225. Tartuffe, Moliere
226. The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka
227. The Crucible, Arthur Miller
228. The Trial, Franz Kafka
229. Oedipus Rex, Sophocles
230. Oedipus at Colonus, Sophocles
231. Death Be Not Proud, John Gunther
232. A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen
233. Hedda Gabler, Henrik Ibsen
234. Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton
235. A Raisin In The Sun, Lorraine Hansberry
236. ALIVE!, Piers Paul Read
237. Grapefruit, Yoko Ono
238. Trickster Makes This World, Lewis Hyde
240. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
241. Chronicles of Thomas Convenant, Unbeliever, Stephen Donaldson
242. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
242. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon
243. Summerland, Michael Chabon
244. A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole
245. Candide, Voltaire
246. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, Roald Dahl
247. Ringworld, Larry Niven
248. The King Must Die, Mary Renault
249. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein
250. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle
251. The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde
252. The House Of The Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne
253. The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
254. The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan
255. The Great Gilly Hopkins, Katherine Paterson
256. Chocolate Fever, Robert Kimmel Smith
257. Xanth: The Quest for Magic, Piers Anthony
258. The Lost Princess of Oz, L. Frank Baum
259. Wonder Boys, Michael Chabon
260. Lost In A Good Book, Jasper Fforde
261. Well Of Lost Plots, Jasper Fforde
261. Life Of Pi, Yann Martel
263. The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingsolver
264. A Yellow Raft In Blue Water, Michael Dorris
265. Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder
267. Where The Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls
268. Griffin & Sabine, Nick Bantock
269. Witch of Blackbird Pond, Joyce Friedland
270. Mrs. Frisby And The Rats Of NIMH, Robert C. O’Brien
271. Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbitt
272. The Cay, Theodore Taylor
273. From The Mixed-Up Files Of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E.L. Konigsburg
274. The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster
275. The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin
276. The Kitchen God’s Wife, Amy Tan
277. The Bone Setter’s Daughter, Amy Tan
278. Relic, Duglas Preston & Lincolon Child
279. Wicked, Gregory Maguire
280. American Gods, Neil Gaiman
281. Misty of Chincoteague, Marguerite Henry
282. The Girl Next Door, Jack Ketchum
283. Haunted, Judith St. George
284. Singularity, William Sleator
285. A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson
286. Different Seasons, Stephen King
287. Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk
288. About a Boy, Nick Hornby
289. The Bookman’s Wake, John Dunning
290. The Church of Dead Girls, Stephen Dobyns
291. Illusions, Richard Bach
292. Magic’s Pawn, Mercedes Lackey
293. Magic’s Promise, Mercedes Lackey
294. Magic’s Price, Mercedes Lackey
295. The Dancing Wu Li Masters, Gary Zukav
296. Spirits of Flux and Anchor, Jack L. Chalker
297. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
298. The Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices, Brenda Love
299. Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace
300. The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison
301. The Cider House Rules, John Irving
302. Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card
303. Girlfriend in a Coma, Douglas Coupland
304. The Lion’s Game, Nelson Demille
305. The Sun, The Moon, and the Stars, Stephen Brust
306. Cyteen, C. J. Cherryh
307. Foucault’s Pendulum, Umberto Eco
308. Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson
309. Invisible Monsters, Chuck Palahniuk
310. Camber of Culdi, Kathryn Kurtz
311. The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand
312. War and Rememberance, Herman Wouk
313. The Art of War, Sun Tzu
314. The Giver, Lois Lowry
315. The Telling, Ursula Le Guin
316. Xenogenesis (or Lilith’s Brood), Octavia Butler
317. A Civil Campaign, Lois McMaster Bujold
318. The Curse of Chalion, Lois McMaster Bujold
319. The Aeneid, Publius Vergilius Maro (Vergil)
320. Hanta Yo, Ruth Beebe Hill
321. The Princess Bride, S. Morganstern [or William Goldman]
322. Beowulf, Anonymous
323. The Sparrow, Maria Doria Russell
324. Deerskin, Robin McKinley
325. Dragonsong, Anne McCaffrey
326. Passage, Connie Willis
327. Otherland, Tad Williams
328. Tigana, Guy Gavriel Kay
329. Number the Stars, Lois Lowry
330. Beloved, Toni Morrison
331. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, Christopher Moore
332. The mysterious disappearance of Leon, I mean Noel, Ellen Raskin
333. Summer Sisters, Judy Blume
334. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Victor Hugo
335. The Island on Bird Street, Uri Orlev
336. Midnight in the Dollhouse, Marjorie Filley Stover
337. The Miracle Worker, William Gibson
338. The Genesis Code, John Case
339. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevensen
340. Paradise Lost, John Milton
341. Phantom, Susan Kay
342. The Mummy or Ramses the Damned, Anne Rice
343. Anno Dracula, Kim Newman
344: The Dresden Files: Grave Peril, Jim Butcher
345: Tokyo Suckerpunch, Issac Adamson
346: The Winter of Magic’s Return, Pamela Service
347: The Oddkins, Dean R. Koontz
348. My Name is Asher Lev, Chaim Potok
349. The Last Goodbye, Raymond Chandler
350. At Swim, Two Boys, Jaime O’Neill
351. Othello, by William Shakespeare
352. The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas
353. The Collected Poems of William Butler Yeats
354. Sati, Christopher Pike
355. The Inferno, Dante
356. The Apology, Plato
357. The Small Rain, Madeline L’Engle
358. The Man Who Tasted Shapes, Richard E Cytowick
359. 5 Novels, Daniel Pinkwater
360. The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Juliet Marillier
361. Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier
362. To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
363. Our Town, Thorton Wilder
364. Green Grass Running Water, Thomas King
365. The Interpreter, Suzanne Glass
366. The Moor’s Last Sigh, Salman Rushdie
367. Mother Tongue, Bill Bryson
368. A Passage to India, E.M. Forster
369. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
370. The Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux
371. Pages for You, Sylvia Brownrigg
372. The Changeover, Margaret Mahy
373. Howl’s Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones
374. Angels and Demons, Dan Brown
375. Johnny Got His Gun, Dalton Trumbo
376. Shosha, Isaac Bashevis Singer
377. Travels With Charley, John Steinbeck
378. The Diving-bell and the Butterfly, Jean-Dominique Bauby
379. The Lunatic at Large, J. Storer Clouston
380. Time for Bed, David Baddiel
381. Barrayar, Lois McMaster Bujold
382. Quite Ugly One Morning, Christopher Brookmyre
383. The Bloody Sun, Marion Zimmer Bradley
384. Sewer, Gas, and Electric, Matt Ruff
385. Jhereg, Steven Brust
386. So You Want To Be A Wizard, Diane Duane
387. Perdido Street Station, China Mieville
388. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Bronte
389. Road-side Dog, Czeslaw Milosz
390. The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje
391. Neuromancer, William Gibson
392. The Epistemology of the Closet, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
393. A Canticle for Liebowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr
394. The Mask of Apollo, Mary Renault
395. The Gunslinger, Stephen King
396. Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare
397. Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke
398. A Season of Mists, Neil Gaiman
399. Ivanhoe, Walter Scott
400. The God Boy, Ian Cross
401. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, Laurie R. King
402. Finn Family Moomintroll, Tove Jansson
403. Misery, Stephen King
404. Tipping the Velvet, Sarah Waters
405. Hood, Emma Donoghue
406. The Land of Spices, Kate O’Brien
407. The Diary of Anne Frank
408. Regeneration, Pat Barker
409. Tender is the Night, F. Scott Fitzgerald
410. Dreaming in Cuban, Cristina Garcia
411. A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
412. The View from Saturday, E.L. Konigsburg
413. Dealing with Dragons, Patricia Wrede
414. Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Lynne Truss
415. A Severed Wasp, Madeleine L’Engle
416. Here Be Dragons, Sharon Kay Penman
417. The Mabinogion (Ancient Welsh Tales), translated by Lady Charlotte E. Guest
418. The DaVinci Code, Dan Brown
419. Desire of the Everlasting Hills, Thomas Cahill
420. The Cloister Walk, Kathleen Norris
421. My Antonia, Willa Cather
422. Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath
423. The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins
424. Conceived Without Sin, Bud MacFarlane Jr.
425. Pierced by a Sword, Bud MacFarlane, Jr.
426. Tully, Paullina Simons
427. On the Beach, Nevil Shute
428. Cat's Eye, Margaret Atwood
429. Earth Abides, George R. Stewart
430. Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy From Mars, Daniel K. Pinkwater
431. The Talisman, Stephen King and Peter Straub
432. Black House, Steven King and Peter Straub
433. Please Don't Eat the Daisies, Jean Kerr
434. The Golden Spiders, Rex Stout
435. Pippi Longstocking, Astrid Lindgren
436. The Gift of Sex, C & J Penner
437. Dominion, Randy Alcorn
438. Trixie Belden and the Secret of the Mansion, Julie Campbell
439. The Shaman, Noah Gordon
440. Pope Joan, Donna W. Cross
441. The Bible
442. 84 Charing Cross Road, Helene Hanff
443. Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, Ann Fadiman
444. The New Lifetime Reading Plan, Clifton Fadiman and John S. Major
445. In This House of Brede, Rumer Godden
446. The School at the Chalet, Elinor M. Brent-Dyer
447. The Cricket Term, Antonia Forest
448. The Element of Fire, Martha Wells
449. Hexwood, Diana Wynne Jones
450. Sabriel, Garth Nix
451. The Legend of Khasak - OV Vijayan
452. Leave it to Psmith - PG Wodehouse
453. Second Turn - MT Vasudevan Nair

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Car dicky out completely

Big heap truck went bang bang against car today. Son of a gun driver drives merrily away. Rs 21,000 estimate from workshop. Insurance likely to cover only half, given age of car. Heart failure. Stop.

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

King & McBain

I used to have this irritating and time consuming habit of reading all the books ever written by an author, if I liked the one book I tried. Of course, I couldn't complete the entire set from prolific writers like Wodehouse, Enid Blyton and Agatha Christie, but I did give it a fair shot. I remember finishing off whatever had been written by folks like Sidney Sheldon, Robert Ludlum, Ken Follet, Alistair MacLean, Desmond Bagley, 'Franklin W Dixon' and even Craig Thomas and Colin Forbes.

I think I gave this up after reading a tome called Windmills of the Gods The Doomsday Conspiracy by Mr Sheldon. Shocked me out of it, really.

However, I still do collect books written by two people - Stephen King and Ed McBain. Specifically, the 87th Precint series by Ed McBain. I do collect the odd Travis McGee books by John D MacDonald and the occasional John (Irving/Updike/Fowles/Steinbeck) too, but they do not fill my bookshelves like King and McBain. King occupes one and a half rows in my library; McBain takes up one. I believe I have over 75% of the Stephen King books and about 60% of the 87th Precint Series. It's easy enough to go to Landmark and buy up the remaining Stephen Kings and at least the later McBains, but I don't feel tempted to do that. I'd rather stretch it out: wait for a good deal, browse the pavements, kick it around a little.

I like Ed McBain for his dialogue. No one does it better. His dialogues are a bit like those from the scene in Million Dollar Baby where Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman discuss Freeman's socks. It goes on for a couple of minutes, it's not directly relevant to the main story, yet it contributes a lot in fleshing out the characters.

I read King for the way his characters think. The way he describes everyday situations. The way he talks about childhood and growing up. Yeah, he does write horror pretty well, but that's just gravy.

These guys have written absolute junk too - oh, have they! The last two books I read were King's Song of Susannah and McBain's Hark!. Both were unpalatable. McBain has become old, tries too hard to be clever and frankly, the Deaf Man looks more like a complete nincompoop than the criminal mastermind he is supposed to be. Song of Susannah is not a novel. It's a by-the-way scribble on the margin of a used notebook, a hairball coughed up by someone thoroughly bored of writing.

Which doesn't change a thing, of course. I am looking forward to buying The Dark Tower and Money, Money, Money, the next time I visit a bookstore. A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.

Monday, May 2, 2005


Thanks for all the messages, folks. Rachu is doing much better - the wound is healing fast. She is back at the creche today.