I'd like to invite you to a one-hour lecture in Delhi called "Ten Ways You Can Change Your Life By Reading Novels" on Saturday, the 19th of February, at 5pm at the Alliance Francaise, Lodhi Road. Here's a short description of the lecture:
Novels, more than any other form of literature, offer a thoroughgoing, non-prescriptive education in all the arts of the human self.
How so? By reading novels, we are, through all the means and maneuvers of storytelling, given a contemplative education in the range and depth of human choice and human perspectives, a vantage point on the human mind as it sparks and leaps through thought. The narrative structures of novels allow us to contemplate all the pleasures and problems of the human experience of time.
By offering us language worked up to the most vivid, subtle, and musical meanings and sounds of which it is capable, novels teach us to cherish language, showing us how better language leads to better thought. By showing us the ways in which memory works, and how human decisions are always contingent on particular constellations of circumstances as much as on overriding beliefs and principles, novels allow us to develop a more rewarding understanding of time.
Novels demonstrate to us how doubt is just as useful a human virtue as certainty, and that the good life must respect both rationality and passion. By tracking experiences that lie behind closed doors or within human minds, they instill in us an awareness of the importance of the private life of individuals to the health of society. And by never offering any explicit advice, novels in fact offer the best kind of support to readers -- the confidence that trusts the adult reader to make up his or her mind after considering all the evidence. The wisdom of the novel is not the wisdom of answers, but that of questions.
Choudhury will make his points with concrete examples from novels by a wide range of writers, including Orhan Pamuk, Irene Nemirovsky, Bibhutibhushan Bandhopadhyay, Anton Chekhov, David Mitchell, and Vikram Chandra.
And it'd also be good to see you at a prior event on Friday the 18th: the launch of India: A Traveller's Literary Companion.