Posts Tagged ‘Beyond a boundary’

Sunday morning lit links!

January 6, 2008

Ravi Vyas in the Classics Revisited section of the Hindu Literary Review recommends C L R James’ Beyond a boundary in the strongest possible terms:

Great claims have been made for (Beyond a Boundary): that it is the greatest sports book ever written; that it brings the outsider a privileged insight into West Indian culture; that it is a severe examination of the colonial condition. All are true.

From the blurb of C.L.R. James’ Beyond a Boundary

Someone who has written virtually hundreds of blurbs knows they are nothing more than self-serving hyperbole but in James’ Beyond a Boundary it cannot be dismissed as so much hot air. Two Nobel laureates have written about it: Derek Walcott called it “a noble book” and V.S. Naipaul rejoiced at “one of the finest and most finished books to come out of the West Indies”. But that too is not enough; and to say that it is pifflingly inadequate praise is also not enough because the book goes beyond the concrete details of the game into broader historical and philosophical issues. The themes of the book reach, as the title suggests, far beyond the boundaries of the cricket field and no detailed knowledge of the game is needed to appreciate its implications. (Though if you know the nuances of the game, so much the better.) It is a book that captured the interconnectedness of things and the integration of human experience. It expressed in a fundamental way the elements that constituted human existence, combining as it did spectacle, history, politics; “sequence/tableau, movement/stasis, individual/society.” Cricket was whole.

M S Nagarajan recommends Bill Bryson’s biography of Shakespeare:

This brief and informative biography does contain some attention-grabbing details that satisfy our intellectual curiosity. In Elizabethan times, a box used to be kept in the office for the theatre goers to drop in their admission fee, a penny, which provided the cheapest seat in the theatre. Whence come the term box-office! Bryson’s Shakespeare is the outcome of serious research. He effectively debunks and explodes myths and theories unsupported by any viable evidence. The book is a welcome addition to Shakespearana!

Pradeep Sebastian ponders on the ritual of trimming one’s book collection:

This entire exercise of trimming one’s library now seems to me not about downsizing the books but really about getting to know them all over again. To pick one from the shelves, remember where and when you bought it, and recall the pleasure acquiring the book gave you is why a book collector gets all her books off and on the shelves ever year. Before you put them in a box to be given away, you are curious to flip the pages and see if you’ve stuck something in there — a note, a favourite bookmark, a photograph. At last I am done with sorting the books. And I’m happy to note the box of books leaving my library is really quite small — elegant in their economy even. It is not the end of my days as a bibliomane, after all. My philistine relatives will simply have to accept, as they skip and hop over them, that books will furnish my apartment.

Take a look!