The City of Books

I am visiting Portland, Oregon, this week for an academic conference and to receive an award for my dissertation (yay!). Yesterday, I visited Powell’s City of Books. It is amazing. It was my first time there! I can’t believe I haven’t been there before. Here are some scenes from this amazing 68,000 square foot bookstore.

via City of Books — The Bookshelf of Emily J.

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SOCIAL NORMS AND LEGAL PROVISIONS-AT CROSSROADS

Man is a social animal. Probably, the relations between the individual and the society are defined on the basis of this premise. But this assumption does not seem to have been put to test till date. However, frequently occurring cracks in the social relationships and intentional and sometimes seemingly willful violation of social norms tend to put a question mark on this basic premise of social existence. If man is indeed a social animal, why he has started enjoying breaking the social norms/relations? Why the society is persistently failing to keep the individual members committed to the social norms, laws and customs? Can it be explained away by dubbing it as ‘generation gap’ only? Is the individual for the society or vice versa? Is it justified to break the social norms just for individual gratification? Simple yes/ no answers may not satisfactorily answer these questions! Keeping in mind the ever-increasing demand for individual freedom, it has become imperative to evaluate and redefine some of these norms. But most stakeholders have opted to overlook the problem. Educated and so called enlightened people often turn to legal solutions for every problem. Of late, it has been felt that even the governments are keen to impose law only, overlooking the social aspects. But is it logical and justified? Mostly this approach has created additional problems

Conjunctive Pronouns

Beautiful!

Poesy plus Polemics

blame-it-on-the-moon-01-2 “Blame It On The Moon” by Nik Helbig

in a world of “because”
you don’t hear much of “me”
very rarely an “I”
but a whole lot of “they”
and a mouthful of “them”
it’s convenient ubiquitous sing-song
that’s patently bullshit
and even though everyone knows it
the words dance their crooked dance
making their here-and-gone footprints
all over the backside of truth
never seen by the squeamish
or like-to-be duped
yet it’s easy
so easy to call out the lie
any anyone
just has to open their mouth
and yell “Stop!”
all it takes is
some somebody somewhere
who cares to assert “I and me”
in a world of “because they and them”

(originally posted December 2013)

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Standing up and be counted!

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When human rights and human dignity is at stake, it is the duty of every right thinking person to oppose the perpetrators of injustice. When the powers that be are vindictive believe in suppressing dissent with brute power, it becomes necessary to stand up and be counted even at the risk to your limb and life! Some young people have  shown exemplary courage in this regard. But most secure and highly placed/affluent persons in India have miserably failed in standing by the truth and humanity. They have been too scared to risk their cozy habitats!
I am amazed at the capability of Bollywood celebrities to steer clear of all controversial, but still important, issues – particularly if the issue involves powerful people or can offend them. One such recent issue is the stand taken by a young student named Gurmehar Kaur against the state sponsored terror oriented censorship by ABVP. Recently, Divya Dutta, an actress and columnist (and now an author) visited Government College for Women in our city Ludhiana. As expected, she was asked to comment on the issue raging in the minds of all right thinking people. But she refused to comment saying “I don’t want to discuss politics here, neither do I want to comment on the issue. No comments at all”
Readers of her column in the Tribune would know that she regularly comments on the ‘achievements’ of every Bollywood celebrity, talks of love, compassion, courage and character! She always speaks from the high platform of virtuosity but when it comes to real life issues she asserts  NO COMMENTS! Strange! isn’t it? Indian celebrities only want to make “please all” comments!This was me on election morning. Wearing white, wearing a pantsuit, and full of hope.
Compare it with the attitude and behavior of Hollywood celebrities who came forward in hordes to condemn the racial and parochial approach of  President Trump to the American values. Latest to join the ‘fighters’ is JK Rowling, the Harry Potter sensation, who called the bluff of Trump on Women’s day. To Trump’s tweet about his ‘tremendous respect for women’, Rowling re-quoted his earlier comment on women “Just kiss, I don’t ever wait …grab them by the p****y …you can do anything”. Bravo Rowling!
It is shameful that Indian celebrities who survive on the goodwill and money of ordinary people, don’t want to come out in the open to call a spade a spade! Humanity and human rights/justice dont seem to them topics worthy enough to demand their time and reaction. How can justice to poor band have-nots be ensured?

If a man is to shed the light of the sun upon other men, he must first of all have it within himself.

Romain Rolland

Romain Rolland (January 29, 1866-30 December, 1944) was a French novelist, dramatist, essayist, and art historian. A lifelong pacifist, he was active in the fight against fascism and the search for world peace. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1915 “as a tribute to the lofty idealism of his literary production and to the sympathy and love of truth with which he has described different types of human beings.”

I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book!

Jane Austen

On January 28, 1813, Jane Austen’s second novel Pride and Prejudice was published. The beloved classic follows Elizabeth Bennett on a comic, sharply observed, and romantic journey of manners, morality, and marriage amid the English landed gentry. An enduring favorite since publication, the novel has been adapted numerous times for film and television and spawned hundreds of spin-off books.