– About

Hello. My name is Himadri, and I’m an argumentative old git.

Well, no, I’m not really – but it’s best to be self-deprecating before someone else deprecates you.

I started this blog in February 2010, a few days after I turned 50, not really knowing what direction it would take. I had a vague idea of writing about books, and sharing my views and opinions on literary matters. And maybe a few other matters as well. And have occasional intemperate rants about things I feel strongly about. What I think I was hoping for was a sort of literary cyber-café, where like-minded people can drop in and discuss literature.

I can, I realise, be opinionated at times, but I do think it a mark of civilised discourse that one may disagree without being disagreeble. Even on the internet!

As for other matters, I am Indian by birth, English by residence, Scottish by upbringing, and am happy with all three parts of me. I am, by profession, an operational research analyst; I live near London with my wife, who has put up with me now for over 30 years. Our two children, one boy and one girl, are now both students – one at university, one at a conservatoire – and, outside term time, the family house is still their home. And what little spare time I have is taken up with reading, listening to classical music, boozing, conversing in convivial company, and, lately, indulging my logorrhoea on this blog.

Please feel free to join in. I look forward to hearing from you.


51 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Lisa on May 4, 2010 at 2:41 pm


    I love your blog! Keep writing!


  2. Posted by Kat on November 10, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    I loved your comparative critique of Great Expectations and L’Education Sentimentale. You are a very gifted and insightful writer yourself.


    • Thank you very much, Kat, that is very kind of you: that’s certainly the best notice I’ve had yet!

      I love both Great Expectations and L’Education Sentimentale immensely, and just being able to think and to write about them is a privilege. That anyone actually enjoys reading what I write is a bonus!

      Cheers, Himadri


  3. Hello Himadri – I just want to say I love your blog. You have a great style and I really like your reading choices. I have been reading though some of your older posts. I particularly like your commentary on the Shakespeare plays.


    • Hello Brian, thank you for your kind words, & welcome to this board.

      This blog really started because, to commemorate my 50th year some time back, I decided to read through all the Shakespeare plays, in the order – as far as we may ascertain – in which they may have been written. And as I was oing so, I was making my own notes. Once I had finished my project, I thought it might be a good idea to polish those notes up a bit and put them up somewhere on the net. And since then, it has grown.

      I am not sure which direction this blog will take. I’ve recently been finding it difficult to find the time to write the kind of post I want to write, so I may well slow down a bit. But it’s good, I think, to be able to communicate with like-minded literary enthusiasts!

      All the best,


  4. I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for The Reader Appreciation Award!

    There’s no obligation to accept (I just wanted to tell my readers about your great blog) but if you want to pass it on just follow the what I did on my post or google the award.



  5. Hello Himadri,
    Thanks for visiting my blog and for joining us for the “Dickens in December” event.


  6. I am greatly enjoying your blog! And your writingI can’t recall how I got here, I guess the ghost stories post, but I’m glad I did. I also believe that it’s the irrational fear that gets you to enjoy a ghost story, in the appropriate ambiance as well. The New Yorker had an article about MR James: http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2012/02/13/120213crbo_books_lane

    Best of luck,


    • Hello Nino, and thank you very much for your kind words. Like most bloggers, I guess, I write pretty much for myself, and the very thought that it is read & enjoyed by others I find quite thrilling.

      I’ll certainly have a look through your blog, and also at the link on M. R. James.

      Best wishes, Himadri


  7. Posted by Roberta Rood on March 11, 2013 at 1:50 am

    Hi, Himadri. I greatly admire the breadth and depth of your intellect – and your sense of humor as well! I think you’ll be interested in the post I just completed:
    Thanks for your wonderful blog, and best wishes.


    • Hello Roberta, and thank you for your kind words, although I’m afraid my intellect – what little is left of it after so many years – isn’t much to boast about!

      I have been a bit tied up yesterday (hence the lateness of this response) but I did manage to have a quick read of your post on Parsifal and The Turn of the Screw – two works which, I must admit I had never considered together. I do wonder, though, whether Edmund Wilson was entirely justified in thinking sex as a “blind spot” of James’: could it not, I wonder, be argued that it was a subject that James felt had to be addressed obliquely, as a direct approach robs the subject of its many nuances? But whatever the case, underneath James’ gentility, which may often strike the reader as merely precious, there lurk quite shocking levels of sordidness!

      I’ll look through your blog at greater leisure over the next few days.
      Best wishes, Himadri


  8. Hi Himadri,
    I nominated your blog for an award (at The Word Weaver, aweaverofwords.wordpress.com), as a thank you and a token of my appreciation for your work. It’s all in good fun and I hope you decide to accept it. Best wishes, Nina.


    • Hello Nina, thank you very much for your kind words. I do love writing on this blog, although there are certain times (like now) when other more pressing demands on my time means I have little to spare or this. But hopefully, I should be back on track after Easter!

      It is, of course, lovely to be nominated for awards, and I’m vain enough to feel flattered by it! So of course I’d be happy to accept. But that there are people out there happy to read my ramblings continues both to delight and to surprise me in equal measure!

      All the best,


  9. Posted by Roberta Rood on March 29, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Congratulations, Himadri! A well deserved accolade.



  10. Posted by Erika W. on May 12, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    I was browsing around your site, having read the latest with much interest. But…with regards to your photograph, am I perverse? It looks as if you are examining a very small mouse found in your dinner–I can even see its tail…

    Sorry… Erika W.


    • 🙂

      Now that you mention it, it does look like a mouse’s tail falling into my wine glass, doesn’t it? Was I turning into Lennie from “Of Mice and Men”? I am a bit zoophobic in this respect, and really don’t like the idea even of touching small furry creatures…

      I chose this picture because I thought it showed me in a suitably argumentative pose. I think what looks like the mouse’s tail is really the left cuff of my jacket refracted through the glass. But every time I see the picture now, I’ll be seeing it as a mouse’s tail! 🙂


      • Posted by Erika W. on May 13, 2013 at 8:37 am

        How very nice of you to reply to my piece of silliness. You do look as if you are in the middle of an interesting conversation, or argument of course.

        My very best wishes and please keep your entries coming.

  11. Hi Himadri,

    I wanted to let you know that I’ve nominated you for a Liebster Award – a token of my appreciation and enjoyment of your wonderful blog. There is absolutely no obligation to participate, so please accept it as an honorary Liebster Award if you’d prefer…

    However, should you wish to throw yourself completely into the Liebster pond – the details are here:


    All the very best,



    • Hello Melanie,

      Thank you very much for this! I have had a look at the eleven questions you’ve set – as well as your answers to the eleven questions you were asked – and it would be great fun answering these!

      Cheers for now, Himadri


  12. I have just found out about your blog through A Celebration of Reading. I’ve read only two posts so far but (as you know) it was more than enough to click the ‘follow’ button. I am very much looking forward to reading the entire archive. Hearty greetings..


  13. Posted by Dhanya on November 13, 2013 at 4:36 am

    Hello Himadri,
    A nice blog, quite informative and intellectual. I really loved your blog. I’m writing with full appreciation and happiness in finding your blog and reading through it.


  14. 12 February again, H.



    • Ah – thank you Eric! I am feeling suitably old and decrepit! However, celebrations are muted. We live quite close to the River Thames, and the river has burst its banks, causing floods.

      Now, I know that the net is an international thing: this blog regularly gets readers from the Philippines, for instance, and, by the standards of the Philippines, what has been happening here can barely be called floods at all. Indeed, given the horrific devastation caused by the floods in the Philippines quite recently, it is almost insulting to use the same term for what has been happening here. Nonetheless, there is flood water all around us just now, and twenty yards down out street it is looking like Venice. Except it’s not as beautiful as Venice, obviously: the architecture is definitely of the British Suburban School rather than Renaissance.

      So I have been trying to safeguard our house as best I can against the encroaching waters. And yesterday evening, I kept off the booze: it’s best not to drink when there are waters around.

      But anyway – I’ve done all that can be done, and it’s in the hands of the gods now, as they say. If all ends well, I’ll have a few drinks to make up for my very sober birthday last night!

      All the best, Himadri


  15. Stay dry, H.

    As you know I have many friends in the U.K. from my Internet wanderings. I’ve been watching the situation there unfold over the last few weeks. Mother Nature can be a bitch sometimes; as many of us in Florida, the Philippines, the U.K., and the Northeastern U.S. occasionally find.

    Stay healthy, dry, warm, and safe. You must continue to age in order to live up to you “old git” moniker. 😉




  16. Posted by Roberta Rood on February 20, 2014 at 2:46 am

    Himadri, I am so glad that you and your family escaped the ravages of the floods. I feel bad for Britain, my spiritual home. I know others there are suffering from this terrible weather. As for us here in Maryland, USA, we’re merely buried in snow and freezing!!
    Best, Roberta


    • Thank you very much fr that: we feel very lucky to have escaped, but, of course, compared to what happened, say, in the Philippines recently, what happened here barely count as floods at all. But the good news is … My books are all safe! 🙂

      I ave, of course, been seeing the reports about the big freeze in North America, and have been getting some detailed reports from a Canadian friend. Meanwhile, in Australia, the heat s burning everyone up. I honestly don’t know if these are consequences of global warming, but weather conditions around the world seem extreme right now. It’s all very worrying.

      All the best for now,


  17. Hello Himandri,

    I suppose you are not interested in blog awards but, nevertheless, I wish to let you know I’ve nominated you for the Liebster (http://inkstainsonareadersblog.wordpress.com/2014/05/31/liebster-award/).
    Actually, this is an opportunity to say yours is my favorite blog. I particularly admire the reader you are, but the writing is just as impressive and inspiring.

    Looking forward to your next post..

    All the best,


  18. Posted by Starlett on July 3, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    I stumbled upon your blog quite by accident (looking up reviews of Ibsen’s Master Builder — a new Jonathan Demme, Wallace Shawn, Andre Gregory version coming out this month). I am not a big internet fan; I don’t spend hours trolling the web for blogs. BUT … I am totally enthralled both by your insight and by your effortless style. What a pleasure! I’ll be back for more … despite my Luddite ways!



    • Hello Startlett, and thank you very much for your kind words, both here and in teh Comments section of my post on Ibsen. I try to post fairly regularly, and it would be fair to say that the quality of the posts is variable, to say the least. Many, when I look back on them, make me squirm – especially the earlier ones.

      The internet is a strange thing. There is no shortage of utter rubbish, but there is also much that is both thoughtful and articulate. Since starting this blog, I have come into contact with several other book bloggers whose writing I find myself admiring, so it is possibly worth hunting around a bit.

      But I do hope you enjoy looking around here, and I hope to be hearing from you soon in the comments section!

      All the best, Himadri


  19. Your blog is certainly interesting. I look forward to the future posts you share.


  20. I just discovered your blog via XIX век, and am looking forward to exploring it; you’ve already made me interested in reading more Turgenev!


    • Hello, and thank you for that. As an aficionado of Russian literature, I have frequently read your blog, although I haven’t as yet commented upon it.

      I am currently trying to screw up my courage and embark on a post on Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot, but I frankly don’t know where to start!


  21. Hi Himadri,

    Great blog. Came across it while doing some random internet surfing on Dickens — who is endlessly fascinating, of course. I enjoyed your post on Bleak House. Look forward to reading more of what you’ve been writing and thinking about. Cheers!

    BJW Nashe


    • Hello, and thank you very much for your kind words. And welcome to the blog!

      Dickens has long been a great favourite of mine, and, as with other writers whom I love, I tend to get a bit carried away when i write about him. But he is an author I keep returning to.

      Do please feel free to join in the conversations. I am not always prompt in replying, I’m afraid, but i do value everyone’s contributions.

      My best wishes, Himadri


  22. Well, here we are again, ol’ man. It’s your birthday again. We were just talking about you at The Cabin. Were your ears burning? HA!

    Have a wonderful day with family/friends, H. Enjoy a spot of whiskey and a good read by the fire later this evening.

    Regards, old friend…



  23. Posted by Asha on April 5, 2017 at 7:52 am

    I was pointed in the direction of your blog by a friend Louis Hooper who I believe you used to work with. He thought I would like it due to my love of literature and theatre. He wasn’t wrong. Asha


    • Hello Asha, and welcome. I had worked with Louis for quite a few years at British Airways, and it’s quite flattering to hear he has recommended this blog!

      I generally write about whatever comes to mind … It’s usually abbout literary matters, although I do talk about classical music and opera once in a while (despite the fact that I can barely read music!), and, as you may have noticed, I allow myself the occasional intemperate rant about things I find myself feeling strongly about!

      I hope you enjoy what you find here, and do feel free to join in the discussion. Often, the below-the-line comments are more interesting than anything above the line!

      All the bst, Himadri


  24. Posted by Fawad on October 6, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    Hi Himadri, just randomly discovered your blog searching for something interesting to read about “Sketches from a Hunters Album”. What a serendipitous discovery of a wonderful voice and sensibility. The Turgenev sketches have been an amazing read and your essay had me nodding in agreement about the joys of landscape, mood and characters in this book.

    I then started browsing some of the more recent pieces and was hooked; a kindred spirit of sub-continental origin! I am a subscriber now and hoping to read and engage with more of your blog as I get through more of it. Keep up the great work!



    • Thank you, Fawad, that is very kind of you. It really does feel good to read comments like that! I write on this blog these days mainly to please myself, but it really is a great feeling when others read and like it too!

      As for my relations with the subcontinent, I was born there ( in Bengal), and lived the first five years of my life there; but I have lived the next 53 years here in Britain, so my links to the East are perhaps a bit tenuous.

      I went through a phase of reading Turgenev a year or two ago. Right now, as you’ve no doubt seen, I am reading through the plays of Ibsen again, and trying my best to make some sense of these very complex works.

      My best wishes to you,


  25. I am delighted by your Blog library, it’s topics reassuringly curious and informative, their tone, and whatever bits of cultural or life experience we share (from reading your About). I grew up in Belgium, spend two or three months each year in India (Jaipur), my sister-in-law who has assumed an adopted family member presence is Glaswegian, and my only brother, Paul, attended Juilliard when he was still in high school, forced to complete one rudimentary education while pursuing what mattered most to him, aside from family, and still does.

    Thank you for contributing a breathe of oxygen to the often airless and suffocating pages of what’s online. These are guardedly optimistic times here in Connecticut where I now reside. The four endless years of the stammering, cheddar faced Oaf in Chief has been defeated in a messy election and Americans are starting to feel safe putting their heads out from under their blankets to, as in this example, send friendly messages abroad without fear of being openly mocked or offend.

    All the best, R. L. C.


  26. Hello Lee (is that how you would prefer to be addressed?) and thank you very much for that. It’s always a pleasure to know someone is reading my meandering posts!

    As for the politics, I can understand your relief, but given the Prime Ministers both of my adopted land (UK) and of my native land (India), I am hardly in a position to point the finger at any other country. It’s always best not to judge a people by the politics of their country!

    My post above needs revising. I have now taken early retirement, and both our children (though neither is a child) have graduated from university: one is in gainful employment, and the other, given the current pandemic, is, like all other musicians these days, “resting”. As for me, I’m taking long walks, listening to music, and reading. And writing the odd post too.

    But anyway, thanks for reading my posts. Many of the early ones are rather badly written, I’m afraid, and there are some views I expressed back then that I wouldn’t stand by now, But since I did write them, they may as well stand.

    All the best,


  27. Posted by Gabriella on February 13, 2023 at 3:13 pm

    That was such a wonderful review of Joseph and his brothers, thank you. I gave up several times on the older translation but now I picked up a copy of the Woods translation and it’s so much better . I started reading the story of Dinah first ad Wood suggested. But I think after that I’ll go to the beginning.
    If you have not read KristinLavransdatter please do so , it is awesome. Thanks again. Gabriella


    • Thank you very much for this.
      I found “Joseph and his Brothers” in John Wood’s translation quite revelatory. Inhad previously thought of Mann’s writing as a bit heavy – turgid, even – but Wood’s translations have blown all that away.
      I haven’t actually read Kirstin Lavransdatter: there is so much I haven’t read. But I shall certainly seek it out.
      Best wishes,


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