“It’s a decent thing to do, and because of it, we will be blessed,” say Mumbai’s white uniformed Dabba Wallas, who bring hundreds of thousands of home-cooked lunches from mothers to sons at office desks all over the city each day. Could this be the next big thing in Brooklyn?
I've always been a sucker for memoiristic books devoted to a single book or author—Nicholson Baker's wonderfully titled homage to Updike, U and I, and Geoff Dyer’s torturous account of his inability to write a book about D.H. Lawrence, Out of Sheer Rage, being two of my favorites. Recently, New Yorker staff writer Rebecca Mead published a perhaps soberer, but no less intriguing, book called My Life in Middlemarch. Having never read Middlemarch, I was dismayed at how enthusiastically received Mead’s book was because it meant that I finally had to tackle George Eliot’s 900-page leviathan. (My resistance was further compromised by Gary Shteyngart, who said it was the best book he’d read recently: “When I finished it I expected a Publishers Clearing House-type van to pull up to my house and some British people to pop out and present me with a medal and a case of sherry.”)
Rather than lug around the leviathan, though, I decided to put my Audible subscription to good use and find an audio version of the book. Of the eight (!) versions available, I chose the edition read by Juliet Stevenson, who has a deep, expressive voice and a remarkable ability to distinguish the (very many) characters by giving them distinct vocal personalities. I listened to the book enraptured--you don’t need me to tell you why it’s good; just trust the canon on this one—on a recent road trip. I’ve got plenty more ahead of me: 900 pages translates to 35 delicious hours of listening.
New research in the Netherlands investigates why almost every language, regardless of linguistic origin, uses a variation of the word “huh?” to express a quick need for clarification.