Friday, October 18, 2019
Though the Dasara festival was over the shops were open since Diwali was another two weeks away, and people with lots of money and nothing to do would want to shop. Also there was the marriage season so the regular shops were open last Sunday too. However, apart from a couple of second hand book sellers who had moved to other corners most of them were at their usual places.
I read this essay right away and looked for authors and titles that I might have also read. There was Edmund Wilson’s ‘Memoirs of Hecate County’, B. Traven (whose ‘The Bridge in the Jungle’ I had found a couple of years ago), Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s ‘The Worst Journey in the World’, and also several titles and authors I haven’t read and that I now want to look for at Abids and elsewhere. It is finding books like these that make me want to come to Abids again and again.
Friday, October 11, 2019
Last Sunday the festival shopping season was in full swing with shoppers thronging the stores like it was the last Dasara of their lives. There were some people stepping out of their fancy cars, who appeared like they had enough money to buy up every piece of dress, every pair of footwear from a couple of stores. The second hand booksellers, almost all of them, were at their usual places with a couple of them perched on the fringes. Though it had been raining every day without fail, last Sunday it did not rain until I was back home safe in the afternoon. It began to rain the moment I reached home and the downpour continued for a couple of hours. Though I found just one book I found a wonderful title that I began to read while having chai at the Star of India café in Abids.
There’s something about Australian writers I am drawn to. I have a small collection of books by Australian writers, including books about Australia by other writers on my shelves but I always have a feeling that there’s more that I have to read. Only recently I read about ‘The Choke’ by Sophie Laguna that I jotted down in my TBR list. Sometime next month a friend living in Australia is getting me a couple of books by Gerald Murnane that I am eagerly waiting to read. There was ‘Monkey Grip’ by Helen Garner that I cannot forget even after having read it several years ago.
Friday, October 04, 2019
The festival season is upon us which means shopping, shopping, shopping for many. This shopping wave displaces the second hand book sellers at Abids because the regular stores do not close on Sundays during this festival season. Luckily, last Sunday though a few stores were open many of the second hand book sellers at Abids were at their usual places. Once again, I was alone and managed to find two books, both which I already had copies of.
Of course, not content with the three books I bought in the middle of the week, on Saturday once again dropped in at a second hand book store and picked up another book. It was a nice copy of ‘Two Faces of Eve’ by Amrita Pritam. I am both ashamed and also embarrassed to say that though I have read numerous articles about Amrita Pritam, especially last month, I haven’t read anything by her all these years. One reason could be that I couldn’t find a single title of Amrita Pritam till last Saturday when I spotted ‘Two Faces of Eve’ that was one of those 70’s editions that I have come to love. I got it for seventy rupees that I thought was far too less.
Friday, September 27, 2019
Almost everyone I talked to in my small circle of family and friends seems to have been laid low by the fevers that are raging unabated in this city. Last week, at last, it was my turn and I was in bed for two and half days, that included last Sunday. Though I was in bed I did not stop dreaming about all the books spread out on the pavements at Abids that I would miss checking out. By Tuesday I had recovered from the fever and on Thursday I decided to drop in at a second-hand bookstore to bring down another sort of fever I seemed to have developed- the book fever. Since I was using the Metro train I decided to check out Liberty Books right beside the Durgam Cheruvu metro station in the evening.
On the way back home I got lucky when a girl mistaking me for a senior citizen offered me her place to sit. It was the perfect excuse for me to begin reading ‘Calcutta’ by Geoffrey Moorhouse, and it was so engrossing that I almost missed getting down at Secunderabad station. After I finish reading this title I plan to start reading Simon Winchester’s Calcutta.
Friday, September 20, 2019
Sometimes, but very rarely though, I get the feeling that I am perhaps too lucky finding good titles almost every Sunday at the second hand book market at Abids. I cannot stop myself from buying all the good books that I see even if it means there are books piled up all over the place at home. Last Sunday, once again, I found four good books that I couldn’t resist buying.
Friday, September 13, 2019
From that collection in the sack I found another title. It was a copy of ‘Karmayogi’ by Veena Nagpal that has a nude on the cover and it is the reason why I have not put its photograph. But the nude isn’t the reason why I bought the book. I have begun to pick up books in English written by Indian authors that were published in the 50s and 60s. There are so many such writers who have written several books but are not well known. One such author happens to be Veena Nagpal whose name I haven’t heard anywhere before and whose books also I haven’t found anywhere. So I decided to buy it and add it to my collection of such titles by authors such as Mayah Balse, Nergis Dalal and so on. It was published in 1972 and I got it for a hundred rupees.
Friday, September 06, 2019
It was the first Sunday of September, a rain-free one once again. My weekly trip to the Abids second hand book market ended with four good titles in the haul. Of these four titles two were titles that I already had picked up several copies of earlier.
It had, as it says on the cover, nine stories: A Perfect Day for Bananafish, Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut, Just Before the War with the Eskimos, The Laughing Man, Down at the Dinghy, For Esme-with Love and Squalor, Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes, De-Daumier-Smith’s Blue Period, and Teddy.
Friday, August 30, 2019
I hadn’t been to Abids the Sunday before due to things beyond my control. I was vaguely restless until it became too much to bear. I went to the Unique Books second-hand bookstore in Lakdikapul on Saturday. I am very much into crime fiction and so when I saw a copy of ‘Raffles’ E.W. Hornung I picked it up. Moreover it was a Penguin title, something I rarely let pass.
The book turned out to be ‘The Sorrow of War’ by Bao Ninh. There was a sepia photograph of a helmeted soldier’s and under the title at the top it said ‘The Award-winning Novel from North Vietnam. I opened it and inside I read that it was an English translation by Frank Palmos from the original Vietnamese by Vo Bang Thanh and Phan Thanh Hao with Katarina Pierce, and published by Secker & Warburg, London in 1993. On the back cover were details of Bao Ninh who was born in Hanoi in 1952 who was in the Vietnamese Army and one of the ten survivors out of a 500 strong brigade that was in the 1969 war. I also read that the novel was a huge bestseller in Vietnam.
Friday, August 16, 2019
It was a long weekend break for us in the government last week due to the Bakrid Festival. On Saturdays I buy three business papers- Business Line, Mint, and also Business Standard for their weekend supplements that have some interesting features. I usually buy them from a newspaper vendor in Lakdikapul who keeps them aside for me. Last Saturday just before reaching the vendor, I stopped at a second hand bookseller with his books on the pavement opposite the BSNL office. I spotted a beautiful copy of ‘In the Land of Oz’ by Howard Jacobson that I bought right away.
‘Over by the River and Other Stories’ has a dozen short stories. These are: Over by the River, The Trojan Women, The Pilgrimage, The Patterns of Love, What Every Boy Should Know, The French Scarecrow, Young Francis Whitehead, A Final Report, Haller’s Second Home, The Gardens of Mont-Saint-Michel, The Value of Money, and The Thistles in Sweden. I got it for only seventy rupees.
That was one terrific weekend haul with four wonderful titles.
Friday, August 09, 2019
On the two days it rained, Friday and Saturday I took the Metro to go to the Institute where I worked. On Saturday evening I decided to check out a second hand book store in Madhapur I check out often. I took the Metro to Durgam Cheruvu station and just under the station was the bookstore. I did not have anything specific in mind but just wanted to see what was on the shelves. Apart from books there was a lot of dust, a thick layer of it in fact on the books. I picked up five books in all but ended up buying only two.
I got these two books for hundred rupees each.