Booknotes: Favorite Writing How-to Books Part 5

In this month’s installment, let’s look at podcasts related to writing. I am a huge fan of literary podcasts (especially the ones from BBC Radio 3 and 4 and, of course, NPR) because I get to listen to conversations with favorite writers from the comfort of my home, at my convenience, and while I’m multi-tasking. The podcasts I am listing below, however, are ones I have stuck with for more than three years or so. I do not listen to every single episode but I do subscribe to their feeds. One thing I will say upfront about these is that they are not as diverse as I would like them to be. To be clear, I do not mean only in terms of racial or ethnic diversity, though that is also a gap, but diversity in terms of gender identity, class, caste, sexuality, disability, etc. I do hope this will improve over time. Continue reading Booknotes: Favorite Writing How-to Books Part 5

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Top Five Short Story Reads from January 2017

The 2016 BASS collection is my all-time favorite edition of the entire series so far. For one, a terrific writer of color who actively advocates for other writers of color has guest-edited it: Junot Diaz. For another, it includes stories from smaller literary venues and not just the traditional establishment names. What is rare for me is that I enjoyed every single story in this particular collection so much (with, perhaps, the exception of one — see below) that I am unable to even pick my top favorites. So, instead of choosing, I have simply shared ten out of the twenty stories because they are all available free online. Stories by: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Mohammed Naseehu Ali, Ted Chiang, Louise Erdrich, Ben Marcus, John Edgar Wideman, Yuko Sakata, Meron Hadero, Daniel J O’Malley and Karen Russell. Continue reading Top Five Short Story Reads from January 2017

5 short stories

Top Five Short Story Reads from October 2016

For me, the best “horror” story fits this description by Neil Gaiman: “I like horror, but I tend to like it as seasoning. I’d get very bored if I was told I had to write a horror novel. I’d love to write a novel with horror elements, but, too much, and it doesn’t taste of anything else.” So, here are some terrific horror short stories by Usman Malik, Alyssa Wong, Ruskin Bond, Kelly Link, and Stephen King. Continue reading Top Five Short Story Reads from October 2016

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2015: A Year of TV, Film, Radio

I’m still working on wrapping up my favorite stories of 2015. This post focuses on stories from TV, film, radio. With television, I didn’t watch as much as I have done in past years. Though, going by all the many end-of-year lists by various media outlets, there was just an absolute glut of wonderful new shows. Someday, maybe, I’ll get caught up. In the meantime, here’s … Continue reading 2015: A Year of TV, Film, Radio

incarnations sunil khilnani

Incarnations: India in 50 Lives

At the risk of making a general statement, I believe that part of the Indian psyche has always been to glorify/romanticize our past, belittle our present, and fatalize our future. Whether we’re doing this in the context of the country at large or in our own day-to-day lives, this cultural trait is embedded in our DNA, it seems, from the day we’re born. So, whenever I come upon anything in popular media with hooks like, say, “Remarkable individuals who shaped India, and sometimes the world”, I sit back and think: “Yeah, right.”. Continue reading Incarnations: India in 50 Lives