Friday, December 31, 2010

Back from the Break

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy goes the saying and as a dull government bloke I’m in danger of becoming more so if the pace of the work at the office is anything to go by. Since the past two months, especially in the past three weeks, I’ve been working non-stop on all days from morning until almost midnight. Needless to say, it includes holidays too. I don’t mind it but when I cannot go to Abids on Sunday something in my life goes missing. I haven’t been to Abids since god knows when from November first week. On one Sunday I managed to be there for an hour in the afternoon but it was barely enough to do a quick round and not surprisingly I did not find anything.

Not only did I miss my Sunday visits to Abids I missed a lot of other things too, like being with the family, the Hyderabad Literary Festival and a couple of book readings I badly wanted to attend. The only consolation was that I was able to make it twice to the Book Fair where I picked up a couple of good books. Ever since I had missed picking an old copy of Carson McCullers’ ‘The Heart is a Lonely Hunter’ I had been on the lookout for this book. At the Book Fair sometime last week I found a copy of the same that I got for a hundred rupees. Another find, also a second hand copy, was that of Elmore Leonard’s ‘Up in Honey’s Room’ which I suspect I had bought earlier. Nevertheless I picked it up for hundred bucks.

I had thought that during the break from the blog I would be able to catch up on my reading and also complete the revisions of my first novel. I was so busy at the office that I was not able to do either of these tasks though I was able to steal a few minutes to read a bit now and then. One of the best things I had read during the break was Edna O’ Brien’s essay in ‘Best Writing on Writing’ where she writes about emotions in writing. It was a beautiful essay that immediately made me resolve to read all of Anton Chekhov’s works. As for the revision on my novel I have just completed one rough revision and sometime in January I might begin to send queries to publishing houses.

For a long time I had been thinking of writing a post about the best finds of 2010 on the lines of similar posts I did in the past two years. But I haven’t been able to find the time do so. I’ll write only the names of the books that I think are the best ones I found at Abids and other second hand bookstores during the year.- ‘The Gathering’ by Anne Enright, ‘Lucky’ by Alice Sebold, ‘The Corrections’ by Jonathan Franzen, ‘The Art of Dramatic Writing’ by Lajos Egri, ‘African Calliope- A Journey into the Sudan’ by ‘A Place I’ve Never Been’ by David Leavitt, ‘What I Talk When I Talk About Running’ by Haruki Murakami, and ‘The Simple Art of Murder’ by Raymond Chandler.

Deccan Chronicle Sunday Supplement carried an article about what Chandrahas Choudhury, Anjali Joseph, Mridula Koshy, Advaita Kala and so on expect to read in 2011. There is no book common to their lists so there are quite a few books by known and unknown writers to look forward to. I too hope to read some of the books especially Joan Didion’s ‘Blue Nights’ that Tishani Doshi mentioned as one she was looking forward to read. I plan to buy Didion’s ‘The Year of Magical Thinking’ before I read her latest book. I think I have her ‘White Album’ with me somewhere in my collection of books that I have yet to read.

More in later posts