Sunday Reading for Losers

Posted by sepoy on November 07, 2004 · 2 mins read

Yesterday and today were probably two of the most beautiful days we will have until April. Glorious blue sky. Warm winter sun. Luckily, I was able to enjoy both days outside, even though many, many tasks demanded I remain couped in a room in front of an LCD screen (theory of pedagogy, my behind).

  • In the NYT, DFW unfurls on Edwin Williamson's bio of Borges (yes, with footnotes). It sucks, DFW concludes*, though the history of Argentine politics and literature is quiet good.
  • The Hindu carries an interview with Sarnath Banerjee, author of India's first graphic novel Corridor. Looks like comic/graphic format is about to hit big. It should.
  • J. M. Coetzee reviews Philip Roth's alternative historical novel of America in the NYRB. And suggests that Borges would have done a better job with the history in the book.
  • Philip Pullman, in the Guardian, writes that theocracies don't know how to read, democracies do. All the examples of theocracies he cites are Islamic (from Iran and Saudi Arabia), though he calls the Soviets as the biggest theocratic regime. The case is weak to me and I would amend his statement to "bureaucracies" don't know how to read. Oh, and he also picks up on "My Pet Goat". Michael Moore be proud. You have started the first true meme of the 21st century - from Osama b. Laden to Philip Pullman. THE Pet Goat will remain infamous forever. Oh, and Pullman needs to chill, the President didn't pick that book, it's just a chapter-book in a reading series.

*of course, DFW doesn't say that outright.


Cheeni | November 08, 2004

India's first graphic novel - hardly true that; it's not the first; and it's not very interesting. Why is every one making a big deal of this? Some marketroid is congratulating herself right now I'm sure.

sepoy | November 08, 2004

haha! marketroid! so, what is the first graphic novel? and don't say the Jataka stories.

Cheeni | November 09, 2004

I have no idea what the first graphical novel was, but why do you discount the Jataka/Panchatantra anyway? :-) I could understand discounting kanji or hieroglyphics. The graphical novel as a genre is not very distinguishable from the comic book or the cartoon; of which there have been plenty of Indian examples.

sepoy | November 09, 2004

Graphic Novel is a medium and format quite distinct from the comic books or cartoons which emerged barely 25 years ago (hence, the in-admissibility of jatakas). From its bindings, to its non-serial nature, to its intended audience and themes, there are many ways in which it differentiates itself from the comic book. Here is another history. Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, is a novel - but told with pictures. It is not a comic book. Frank Miller, Art Speigelman, Alan Moore etc. are novelists. I want to see what Corridor has contributed to the genre.

Cheeni | November 09, 2004

Thanks for the links; but my opinion hasn't changed - the graphic novel sounds like a marketroid's dream - comics for grownups; yippe-ka-yay, PROFIT! The Jatakas and the Panchatantras of the world then deserve their own category; they dwell on serious life issues via euphemistic mentions of the lives of forest dwellers.

Shashwati’s Blog Blog Archive Corridor: Bourgeois Bengali Angst in Delhi | November 10, 2006

[...] The novel seems to have done well in India, and the Hindu has an interview with Banerjee, via Chapati Mystery. Finally, Corridor is a great read, so support it by buying a legit copy! [...]