Vishal Arora

Highlights & Notes

Coyote V. Acme

Opening Statement of Mr. Harold Schoff, attorney for Mr. Coyote: My client, Mr. Wile E. Coyote, a resident of Arizona and contiguous states, does hereby bring suit for damages against the Acme Company, manufacturer and retail distributor of assorted merchandise, incorporated in Delaware and doing business in every state, district, and territotry. Mr. Coyote seeks compensation for personal injuries, loss of business income, and mental suffering caused as a directed result of the actions and/or gross negligence of said company, under TItle 15 of the United States Code, Chapter 47, section 2072, subsection (a), relating to product liabaility.

Comment · · Vishal Arora

Life of Pi

I cheated on this one a listened to the audiobook from Audible. I didn't particularly enjoy it. Without something tangible in my hands, my mind wanders and I missed parts of the story. I think I'll have to actually read this one at some point.

Comment · · Vishal Arora

The Enchantress of Florence

... but through the long days of marching and war his mind wrestled with philosophical and linguistic conundrums as much as military ones. The emperor Abdul-Fath Jalaluddin Muhammad, king of kings, known since his childhood as Akbar, meaning "the great", and latterly, in spite of the tautology of it, as Akbar the Great, the great great one, great in his greatness, doubly great, so great that the repetition in his title was not only appropriate but necessary in order to express the gloriousness of his glory—the Grand Mughal, the dusty, battle-weary, victorious, pensive, oversexed, and absolute emperor, who seemed altogether too magnificent, too world-encompassing, and in sum, too much to be a single human personage—this all-engulfing flood of a ruler, this swallower of worlds, this many-headed monster who referred to himself in the first person plural—has begun to meditate, during his long, tedious journey home, on which he was accompanied by the heads of his defeated enemies bobbing in their sealed earthen pickle-jars, about the disturbing possibilities of the first person singluar— the "I.

Comment · · Vishal Arora

These few sentences I think perfectly sum up the Rusdie style. It's poetic, humorous yet brazenly matter-of-fact and illuminating.

5y

Wow. That's some sentence.

On the other hand, isn't it peculiar how monarchs have this sense that they encompass their entire constituencies. It's really pompous. I think I'm going to adopt that style - it'll be fun. I mean... we think that we will adopt that style.

5y

Sacred Games

This was too long for one go. I'm leaving it for now. I'll probably return to it later.

Comment · · Vishal Arora

Oh come on. Too long? No such thing!

4y

Reading the OED

An absolutely brilliant concept. Shea was able to take something that most would consider absolutely dreadful — reading the Oxford English Dictionary — and turn it into an entertaining, even pleasurable read. Shea takes you through his personal journey of reading all 21,730 pages of the OED with all of the dread and joy that it brings him.

Parts of it get dull. I'm unsure if this was to provide authenticity to the experience of reading the OED or not. But there are just enough gems like pandiculation and petrichor to make it all well worth it.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Comment · · Vishal Arora

You've convinced me. Added to wishlist :)

5y

For all those following along: I picked this up from the library today.

5y

Vin, no one cares.

5y

Work Hard. Be Nice.

This book was recommended by Bill Gates at this year's TED. I plan to pick it up when I get a chance.

Comment · · Vishal Arora

  1. Didn't he send out copies to everyone at TED? Or is it only for the people in the audience?
  2. Are you reading it because you think it will be good or solely on Gates' recommendation?
5y

Yes, he plans to. Though I doubt that's already happened. They'll probably just package it with the first TED Book Club mailings. By pick it up, I meant actually read it. As for my motives -- I think it'll be an interesting read but I certainly wouldn't have come across it without his mentioning it. So, kinda both.

5y

Something Wicked This Way Comes

I don't have much of a recollection of this book. It was required reading some years back. I do remember not liking it very much though for the following reasons:

1) The hideous cover. I know I shouldn't judge, but it's just so ugly. 2) Sci-fi/dark fantasy isn't really my cup of tea. 3) I didn't much care for my English teacher at the time.

I should revisit this to give it its proper due, but I won't.

Comment · · Vishal Arora

Reading the OED

Vitativeness (n.) The love of life

Let the French keep their joie de vivre and the Germans keep their freude zu leben, we have no need of these silly Continental expressions now. Actually, you're much more likely to get your point across if you use the expression joie de vivre than if you go with vitativeness, which seems to bea term used primarily by phrenologists in the nineteenth century.

Comment · · Vishal Arora

Reading the OED

Upchuck (v.) To vomit

According to the OED's citations for upchuck; the word was included in Harold Wentworth and Stuart Berg Flexner's magisterial Dictionary of American Slang (1960), which also supplied the additional information, "Considered a smart and sophisticated term c 1935, esp. when applied to sickness that had been induced by over-drinking." This is a classic example of language change: upchuck no longer has quite the same panache.

Comment · · Vishal Arora

How "upchuck" could ever have been seen as a classy way to indicate vomiting is beyond me. How any word can be seen as a classy way to refer to vomiting is beyond me. "Upchuck", specifically, lacks the elegance that a classy word requires. There are too many sharp sounds ("p" and "ck").

I'm almost finished with this book and this author's affinity towards words related to bodily functions is kind of disconcerting. From no less than 21,730 pages filled with words, definitions and etymologies, Ammon Shea lists the most interesting — 10% of which relate to vomit, urine or bowels.

5y

Reading the OED

I've discovered not only that word's shift their meanings, or end up meaning something completely different; often it turns out that they are far older than I had thought, or far younger. Ye olde, that linguistic blister that afflicts the signs of so many touristy shops hawking prefabricated knickknacks made to look antique, apparently did not enter our language until the end of the nineteenth century. And its deformed cousin shoppe has its first written citation in 1933.

Comment · · Vishal Arora

1933? Wow! I feel defrauded.

5y

I did as well. The wonders of marketing, huh? I wonder what other linguistic deception we've been subject to.

5y