Stories about books

You know you are a nerd when…

Forever depressed, suppressed, and oppressed, the nerd inside me finally woke up one fine day and decided enough was enough! It was about time I raised a voice for my kind. Who are we? Walking through a mall, you find us staring at the latest gadgets rather than the really cute girl passing nearby. We have watched all the latest Hollywood movies and take out time to write a review for each and every one of them at imdb.com. If you lend us as much as a type-writer, you will see our blog the very next day on the website of The ...

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Shobhaa has her day

Feisty, clever and – at times – abrasive, Shobhaa De has penned a plethora of electrifying books which, in their unorthodox appeal, have astounded critics and readers alike. The shock value of her work is as rich as her thoughtful renderings of Bombay, Bollywood, child-rearing, marriage and national pride. And yet, her writings have always been viewed skeptically on account of their sheer originality. On the other extreme, the element of subversion that is dominant in her work has always made one wary of her. It is this incongruous treatment of her novels that has baffled me ever since I ...

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Sacrificing education for floods

As the aftermaths of the deluge begins to unfold, the national economy has started to cringe under the weight of the losses incurred. With the flood waters having affected nearly one-fifth of Pakistan’s land-area, we can only start to imagine the total damage. On one hand, power generation units and fuel supplies have been battered and on the other, the huge losses in crops and livestock weigh heavy on our agrarian economy. To top things off, governmental neglect has been utterly baffling. Not only is there absolutely no crisis management strategy on ground, there also seem to be no economic policies ...

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9 reasons why I am not a Twilight fan

1. The length: One fine morning Stephanie Meyer woke up from a nightmare and told herself she could write. The product was the Twilight series. Inundated with horrible grammatical errors and overused adjectives the plot (or lack thereof) has been extended over four books. It  is excruciating. 2.Pedophilia: If it isn’t a seventeen year old falling in love with an old vampire, it is a werewolf falling for an infant. The author needs therapy for her convoluted imagination. 3. The hype: The frenzy around the books is inexplicable. What I fail to understand is how and when the human brain stooped ...

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A discourse on creativity

Writing fiction is akin to erecting a temple of consecrated ideas which, like religious convictions, should be sacrosanct for the author. However, it is disconcerting to note how this analogy can be brazenly distorted to signify that the essential quality of a literary work is in the framework of ideas inherent in its plot. Such a line of reasoning casts aside the importance of stylistic merit and hence, it can be argued, that literature which presents strong ideas without much sophistication, is a weak portrayal of the author’s flair for creativity. Literary creativity is a two-pronged concept that entails ...

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Education – a mere business?

Education in Pakistan is no longer a social responsibility and has instead become a business. Agree or disagree? Decide once you have read the latter part of this write up. My younger sister studies in a renowned private school in Karachi. For the very first time, this school has introduced a ‘study pack’ category in the fee challan. Upon inquiring, I found out that from now on the school will be providing textbooks and copies themselves, instead of asking the students to rely on bookshops. It seemed like the perfect idea until we found out that only ‘real siblings’ can ...

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Napoleon once said, ‘History is a myth agreed upon’

Napoleon may be or may not be right in his assessment of history, but the fact remains that history is one of the most essential pillars of the firm colossal building of knowledge. The study of history is most inevitable to acquire membership of the intellectual community. But the dilemma is that, for each nation, the sole purpose of teaching history at schools is self-glorification and fulfillment of national vanity. The acquisition of pure wealth of knowledge is not the purpose and requirement of this education. Rather main attention and emphasis is put on preparing extremely patriotic and nationalistic generations, with ...

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Chapters that don’t exist

“I was shocked when I saw the paper. It did not contain any of the questions I had prepared,” said a shocked BCom student of Punjab College of Commerce. He had only prepared three chapters. And then the collective lot of his buddies got the University of Punjab to reschedule the exam, with the option of bonus marks for anyone who decided not to re-sit the exam. To any independent observer not accustomed to the educational system of Pakistan, we must appear strange people. Our books are big and fat, filled with chapters full of information, or so they claim. ...

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Milan Kundera: high peaks, deep chasm

Who’d have expected an author’s fortunes in Hardywood to fluctuate so much with a single novel-screening? In the past, popular authors have been dumped unceremoniously, but has there ever been an author who, in a single novel-screening, has impressed the viewers greatly, and then, only a few hundred or so pages later been discarded with unspeakable disgust? Indeed a high peak, and then a deep chasm. Milan Kundera’s novel “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting” was the first translation screening in Hardywood; in that sense, his debut was historic: Hardywood has always been hesitant in allowing translated novels, believing that in ...

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