Friday, June 07, 2013
The Sunday Haul
In more than two decades of experience looking for books I have come to realize that you grab a good title the first time you see it or it won’t be there the next time you want to buy it. I’ve missed buying several good titles because I’ve hesitated for some reason or the other. On the other hand I’ve also come to realize that in most cases what you missed buying the first time around will always turn up somewhere sooner or later. I have several instances to show this. Sometime back I had seen James Cameron’s ‘Indian Summer’ at Abids but I did not buy it which I felt was a foolish decision. I saw it again at a street-side secondhand book seller at Connaught Place in Delhi. I did not buy it this time because the price was too high. Ultimately, the title turned up last year at the Best Books sale and this time I did not let it go and bought it. At the same sale I saw JR Ackerley’s ‘Hindoo Holiday’ that I did not buy for the simple reason that I had spent quite a packet buying almost half a dozen books including ‘Indian Summer.’ But later I had second thoughts and returned to the sale the next day only to find, not unsurprisingly that the book was sold. I felt a crushing regret.
However, last Sunday the title turned up at Abids. This copy was different from the one I had seen at the sale. The copy I saw at Abids had a plain yellow cover with the title printed on it and appeared more like an unedited proof copy or an advance reviewer’s copy. There were also a couple of typos on the covers.But it turned out to be an Indian edition published by Arnold Heinemann publishers in 1979. This 1979 edition, I read in the Ackerley's preface to the second edition, includes omissions made in the first edition brought out in 1952 and also some new material. Apart from this, the new edition has an introduction by Saros Cowasjee. I got it for sixty rupees though I’d have been happier if I had a regular copy with the normal cover.
The second find of Sunday was sort of a double treat. I found ‘Poodle Springs’ that is a novel begun by Raymond Chandler who couldn't finish it. Robert B. Parker completed the novel and ‘Poodle Springs’ came to be published. The cover has names of both Raymond Chandler and Robert B. Parker on it which made it all the more interesting. Before I found the book I was not aware of this interesting background. I was lucky to get it in from a heap of books selling for only Thirty rupees.