Bookless in Baghdad

Bookless in Baghdad

Product ID: 14689

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Author: Shashi Tharoor
Publisher: Penguin
Year: 2005
Language: English
Pages: 237
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0670058203


Shashi Tharoor began reading books-Enid Blyton’s Noddy series-when he was three. By the time he was ten, he had published his first work of fiction, Operation Bellows, a credulity-stretching saga of an Anglo-Indian fighter pilot. In between were years when he read a book a day. And in the years since, he has published eight books and written for many Indian and foreign publications. Bookless in Baghdad brings together pieces written over the past decade by this compulsive reader and prolific writer on the subject closest to his heart: reading.

In these essays on books, authors, reviews, critics, literary festivals, literary aspirants, Empire, and India, Tharoor takes us on a delightful journey of discovery. He wanders the book souk in a Baghdad under sanctions where the middle-class are selling their volumes so that they can afford to live; analyses the Indianness of Salman Rushdie; discusses P.G. Wodehouse’s enduring popularity in India; and drives around Huesca looking to pay an idiosyncratic tribute to George Orwell.

There are excursions into the pitfalls of reviewing, explorations of the anxiety of audience of Indian English writers, and a wicked account of how Norman Mailer dealt with a negative review.

Informed, honest and tongue-in-cheek, these essays will provoke, educate, amuse and divert the reader. Once again, Shashi Tharoor lives up to the credo he attributes to Moliere: if you wish to edify, you must entertain. He does both the panache that readers of The Great Indian Novel and India: From Midnight to the Millennium have come to expect-and to enjoy.




Growing up with books in India
Revenging Rudyard, subverting Scarlet
Mining the Mahabharata: Whose Culture is it Anyway?
In Defence of the Bollywood Novel
A Novel of Collisions
Art for Heart’s Sake


Right Ho, Sahib: Wodehouse and India
The Last Englishman: Malcolm Muggeridge
Blood and bombast: Winston Churchill
The Spy Who Stayed Out in the cold
Remembering Pushkin
The committed Poet: Pablo Neruda remembered
Speaking Ill of the Dead: Nirad Chaudhuri
R K Narayan’s Comedies of Suffering
The Enigma of Being V S Naipaul
Salman Rushdie: The Ground Beneath His Feet


Rushdie’s Reappearance
Books and Botox
Illiteracy in America
The Great American Literary Illusion
Literature, S’il Vous Plait
Bharatiya Sanskriti in the Big Apple
The Poets of Protocol
The Critic as Cosmetologist
The Cultural Geography of Criticism
How Not to Deal with a Bad Review
Elegy for a Literary Monument
How Riot Nearly Caused a Riot


With Friends Like These
From The Bathtub to Bollywood
For Whom the Bill Tolls
The rise of The Political Litterateur
Homage in Huesca
Is There A St Stephen’s School of Literature?
Quotes of Many Colours
The Pornography of Poverty?

Bookless in Baghdad
Globalization and the Human Imagination
The Anxiety of Audience
Copyright Acknowledgements