Category Archives: Non-Fiction Notes

Vivian Ridler, Printer to the Universe!

One of my prized possessions is a 1945 edition of Addison and Steele’s The Spectator (Volume 1 of a four-volume set of pocket-sized hardcovers, published by Everyman’s library). I picked it up for 100 rupees (a little over a dollar) … Continue reading

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Down the Rabbit Hole. Again!

I am thirty. Have been for a few months. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, had he decided to live forever, would be hundred and eighty four. Of course, Lewis Carroll is alive, and well, has decided to live forever, and, at the … Continue reading

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Non-Fiction Notes: Plato at the Googleplex: First Impressions

In case you’re wondering, the Googleplex is the corporate headquarters of Google. Rebecca Goldstein’s newly published book is about the continuing relevance of philosophy and philosophical inquiry, specifically Platonic philosophical inquiry, to the lives we lead in the 21st Century. … Continue reading

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Notes on Writing: Writing Science, the Obsessions of Science Writers

The best science writers do not write science; they write cultural histories. With the single-minded obsession of an auteur meticulously putting together a motion picture, they tease out the narratives underlying the human efforts to make sense of the Universe. … Continue reading

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Notes on Reading: Reading Lives

I feel the fundamental question underlying biography reading is: Why? Why the life of this person? Why only this person? Why Murray Gell-Mann but not John Archibald Wheeler? Why Isaac Asimov but not Robert Anson Heinlein? Why Richard Feynman but not Edward … Continue reading

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Notes on Movies: The Film Club: An Imaginary Review à la Borges

I haven’t read The Film Club. Just browsed through it during my last visit to the bookshop. The first paragraph is fact. The second paragraph is mostly about what I think the book should be like. Rather, it’s about what … Continue reading

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Notes from the Bookshop 2 (or Why I’m all set to agree with Orhan Pamuk and AA, or My first Robertson Davies!)

My notes from the bookshop will, from now on, be numbered and — at most times — be unimaginatively unadorned. But occasionally, as on this occasion, I’ll have a parenthetical thought to add. Ever since I read Orhan Pamuk’s essay — … Continue reading

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Notes on History: 20th Century Year by Year: The Great Work of Time

A decade into the 21st century, I think the time is now apt to  contemplate the great work of Time, that is, the interpretation of the chronicle of human existence as a narrative. To illustrate this I’m going to pick up a … Continue reading

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Miscellaneous Non-Fiction Notes: A Flummery of Food

I picked up this delightful and delectable little book from the Landmark bookstore during one of their yearly sales. And what a find! Compiled and introduced by the late Andre Simon, A Flummery of Food is a collection of great writings, … Continue reading

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Musings and Reminiscences: Basking in Curiosity

Somewhere in George Johnson’s excellent scientific biography, Strange Beauty: Murray Gell-Mann and the Revolution in 20th-Century Physics, there’s this poignant line about Gell-Mann’s son Nick He had absorbed so much just from basking in his father’s curiosity. The sentence came … Continue reading

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