Friday, December 27, 2013

FRIDAY DOUBLE POST: Post - 2/2- 2013 Haul- 2

JULY ( 10 )

‘The Monsoons’ by PK Das
‘On Death and Dying’ by Elizabeth Kubler Ross
‘The First Time Cookbook’ by Janet Rizvi
‘After Leaving Mr. Mckenzie’ by Jean Rhys
‘What Uncle Sam Really Wants’ by Jean Rhys
‘Walking Shadow’ by Robert B. Parker
‘Dispatches’ by Michael Herr
‘A Room of One’s Own’ by Virginia Woolf
‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
‘Collected Novellas’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

AUGUST ( 15 )

‘An Area of Darkness’ by VS Naipaul
‘Fearless Jones’ by Walter Mosley
‘Snow Leopard’ by Peter Matthiessen
‘The Land of Naked People’ by Madhusri Mukjerjee
‘Journey Without Maps’ by Graham Greene
‘Things Fall Apart’ by Chinua Achebe
‘Pearls are a Nuisance’ by Raymond Chandler
‘The Things They Carried’ by Tim O’Brien
‘Devil on the Cross’ by Ngugi
‘A Sort of Life’ by Graham Greene
‘Travel Arrangements’ by M. John Harrison
‘Hard Candy’ by Andrew Vachss
‘The Apprentice’ by Arun Joshi
‘The City and The River’ by Arun Joshi
‘The Apprentice’ by Arun Joshi


‘Words’ by Jean Paul Sartre
‘Monsoons’ by PK Das
‘Fictions’ by Jorge Luis Borges
‘Writers on Writing- Collected Essays from New York Times
‘Write Away’ by Elizabeth George
‘Teach Us to Sit Still’ by Tim Parks
‘Le Grand Meaulnes’ by Alan Fournier
‘Mammoth Book of Journalism’
‘The Vagrant Mood’ by Somerset Maugham
‘Fiction of Arun Joshi’ by Various Eds
‘Dave Barry is Not Making This Up’ by Dave Barry
‘The Foreigner’ by Arun Joshi
‘The Sea’ by John Banville
‘The Telugu Novel’ by Various Eds
‘The Women in Cages’ by Vilas Sarang
‘Get Shorty’ by Elmore Leonard
‘Red Leaves’ by Thomas H. Cook
‘Something to Declare’ by Julian Barnes

OCTOBER ( 11 )

‘Foundations of Screenplay’ by Syd Field
‘The Binding Vine’ by Shashi Deshpande
‘My Dark Places’ by James Ellroy
‘Wind Up Bird Chronicle’ by Haruki Murakami
‘Either/Or’ by Soren Kierkegaard
‘The Counterfeiters’ by Andre Gide
‘Quiet Days in Clichy’ Arthur Miller
‘On the Road’ by Jack Kerouac
‘The Apprentice’ by Arun Joshi
‘Temptations of the West’ by Pankaj Mishra
‘The Thief’s Journal’ by Jean Genet


‘The Secret Agent’ by Joseph Conrad
‘The Long Firm’ by Jake Arnott
‘The Italian Girl’ by Iris Murdoch
‘The Generations’ by Neela Padmanabhan
‘Steel Hawk and Other Stories’ by Bhabani Bhattacharya
‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ by John Berendt
‘No Country for Old Men’ Cormac McCarthy
‘All the Way Home and All the Night Through’ by Ted Lewis
‘The Exchange’ by Theodore Wilden
‘Dakshin- Vegetarian Cuisine from South India’ by Chandra Padmanabhan
‘Fast Lanes’ by Jayne Anne Philips
‘Dave Barry’s Greatest Hits’ by Dave Barry


‘Writing of One Novel’ by Irving Wallace
‘Second Growth’ by Wallace Stegner
‘Venture to the Interior’ Laurens van der Post
‘Sun After Dark’ by Pico Iyer
‘Homes and Other Black Holes’ by Dave Barry
‘Dave Barry Turns 40’ by Dave Barry
‘Runaway’ by Alice Munro
‘How to Read and Why’ Harold Bloom
‘Oxford Essential Guide to Writing’
‘The Strange Case of Billy Biswas’ by Arun Joshi
‘Slow Motion Riot’ by Peter Blauner
‘The Thing Around Your Neck’ by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie
‘The View from Castle Rock’ by Alice Munro
‘School Days’ by Robert B. Parker
‘Two Lives’ by William Trevor
‘Runaway’ by Alice Munro
‘On Writing’ by Stephen King
‘The Story of Lucy Gault’ by William Trevor
‘A Stone for Danny Fisher’ by Harold Robbins
‘Tumbleweed’ by Janwillem van de Wetering
‘Exile’s Return’ by Malcolm Cowley
‘Points of View’ by Somerset Maugham

FRIDAY DOUBLE POST: Post- 1/2; 2013 HAUL-1

In 2013 I picked up a total of 167 books from Abids, second hand book sales and stores in Hyderabad and also at Delhi, Bangalore making it the biggest haul I’ve had so far. This haul doesn’t include a couple of books I bought online and also the books I received as gifts from friends and family. This list also includes multiple copies of books by my favourite authors like Dave Barry, Somerset Maugham, Arun Joshi .

Though the number of books seems very high I do not think I have spent more than five thousand rupees on them. In any case it may not be more than ten thousand rupees which isn’t much considering some of the wonderful titles that I’ve found. In another post I will list out some of the best finds of 2013. There will also be another post where I will list out all the 65 + books that I’ve managed to read during the year.

The Big Nowhere’ by James Ellroy
‘Problems and Other Stories’ by John Updike
The Road Less Travelled’ Scott M Peck
‘Small Vices’ by Robert B. Parker
‘Stories from the Warm Zone & Sydney Stories’ by Jessica Andersen

‘The Big Sleep’ by Raymond Chandler
‘The Little Sister’ by Raymond Chandler
‘The Rings of Saturn’ by W.G. Sebald
‘Blood Meridian’ by Cormac McCarthy
‘Islands’ by Alistair MacLeod
‘The Lost Salt Gift of Blood’ by Alistair MacLeod
‘Indian Summer’ by James Cameron
‘A Most Truthful Picture and Other Stories’ by Ashokamitran
‘Shining Through’ by Susan Isaacs
‘Dead and Gone’ by Andrew Vachss

MARCH ( 22)

‘Felicia’s Journey’ William Trevor
‘On the Road’ by Jack Kerouac
‘Dance, Dance, Dance’ by Haruki Murakami
‘The Good Soldier’ by Ford Maddox Ford
‘The Foreigner’ by Arun Joshi
‘Cider with Rosie’ Laurie Lee
‘Finding the Centre’ by VS Naipaul
’84 Charing Cross Road’ Helene Hanff
‘Screenwriting’ by Raymond G. Frensham
‘Andalucia ’ by Nicholas Luard
‘Dork’ by Sidin Vadukut
‘The Quran’
‘Coming Into the Country’ by John McPhee
‘Crazy Bombay’ by Gangadhar Gadgil
‘The Strange Case of Billy Biswas’ by Arun Joshi
‘The Last Labyrinth’ by Arun Joshi’
‘Early Autumn’ by Robert B. Parker
‘A Catskill Eagle’ by Robert B. Parker
‘Now and Then’ by Robert B. Parker
‘Four Graves and Other Stories’ by Manohar Malgonkar
‘The Woman and Other Stories’ by Gangadhar Gadgil
‘I Lost It at the Movies’ by Pauline Kael

APRIL ( 21 )

‘October Coup’ by Mohammed Hyder
‘Wide Sargasso Sea’ by Jean Rhys
‘The Summing Up’ by Somerset Maugham
‘Mahabharata’ by Shanta Rameshwar Rao
‘The Blind Rider’ by Juan Goytisolo
‘The Strange Case of Billy Biswas’ by Arun Joshi
‘The Maltese Falcon’ by Dashiell Hammett
‘The Taming of the Screw’ by Dave Barry
‘Travels with Herodotus’ by Ryszard Kapuscinski
‘The Colours of Evil’ by Ashokamitran
‘Austerlitz’ by W.G. Sebald
‘Bird by Bird’ by Anne Lamott
‘Collected Poems’ by AK Ramunajam
‘Anthills of the Savannah’ by Chinua Achebe
‘Red Harvest’ by Dashiell Hammett
‘The Gathering’ by Anne Enright
‘The Pleasure of Eliza Lynch’ by Anne Enright
‘Casino Moon’ by Peter Blauner
‘To Live or Not to Live’ by Nirad C. Chaudhri
‘Fiction Writer’s Handbook’ Hallie & Whit Burnett
‘The Foreigner’ by Arun Joshi

MAY ( 9 )

‘All About H. Hatterr by G.V. Desani
‘The Slow Train to Milan’ Lisa St Aubin de Teran
‘It Rained All Night’ by Buddhadeva Bose
‘Islands of the Marigold Sun’ by Suresh Vaidya
‘Stardust’ by Robert B. Parker
‘Of Human Bondage’ by Somerset Maugham
‘The Thirty Nine Steps’ by John Buchan
‘My Name is Aram’ by William Saroyan
‘Five Dollar Smile’ by Shashi Tharoor

JUNE ( 12 )

‘Poodle Spring’ by Raymond Chandler and Robert B. Parker
‘Hindoo Holiday’ by AJ Ackerley
‘Arrow of God’ by Chinua Achebe
‘The Stone Cutter’ by Camilla Lackberg
‘The Harmony Silk Factory’ by Tash Aw
‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ by Ken Kesey
‘Mahaprasthanam’ by Sri Sri
‘Khadga Srusthi’ by Sri Sri
‘The Shadow of the Sun’ by Ryszard Kapuscinski
‘Tigers are Better Looking’ by Jean Rhys
‘Shadow from Ladakh’ by Bhabani Bhattacharya
‘In Pharaoh’s Army’ by Tobias Wolff

Friday, December 20, 2013


2013 looks like it is going to be the year when I have brought home the maximum number of books from Abids, second hand bookstores, book sales and other places. At last count after the visit to the Book fair I had bought a total of 175 books. In December alone, so far, I have bought about twenty books. Even after a good haul on the day before at the book fair I wanted to go to Abids. I cannot miss going to Abids on Sunday mornings for anything in the world.
‘A Stone for Danny Fisher’ by Harold Robbins is his only title that I haven’t read. It is a bit difficult to find a good copy of this book and a couple of years back I had found a good copy for a friend who wanted it. Someone told me it is one of the best books by Robbins so when I saw another good copy at Abids last Sunday I picked it up. I also got it quite cheap since I had to pay only thirty rupees for it. But though I am picking up books like I have all the time in the world to read them I do not know when I will read this book. I sometimes feel that I am stocking up books for retirement.
One of the joys of book hunting is picking up books by writers you haven’t heard about before and discovering them that not only they are good the whole world knows about them. On Sunday at a seller near the GPO I came across ‘Tumbleweed’ by Janwillem van der Wetering. I picked it up on a hunch and later after I read reviews I discovered that Wetering was one damn interesting writer. It felt nice to have found a good book and got it quite cheap. I plan to read the book before the end of the year since I plan to take a couple of days off. All my leaves are unused and I plan to use a couple of them to read and maybe, write.
Since the past one week I am on Legislature duty which meant I had to attend the Legislative Council on the days it meets. On Tuesday since the House was adjourned for the day I found myself with time on hand. I decided to check out the Best Books second hand bookstore that was just a minute’s ride away at Lakdikapul and see if I can find some books that one of my brothers wanted. I couldn’t find those books but I came across a book I had read only a few hours before. I had been reading about Malcolm Cowley on Arts and Letters Daily website and wondered if I could find any of his books. I was pleasantly surprised to find a copy of ‘Exile’s Return’ by Malcolm Cowley on the shelf at the Best Books store and took it.

FRIDAY DOUBLE POST/POST- 1: The Book Fair Haul-2

After my first visit to the Hyderabad Book Fair on the very first day itself I did not get the time to visit until a week later. I was there on the penultimate day, on Saturday, sometime in the evening. Even after finding nine books on my first visit I did not seem content. I felt there were more books to be found in the second hand book stalls. On the previous visit I had seen a couple of books but I did not buy them. I had seen another good copy of Pico Iyer’s ‘Tropical Classical’, Murakami’s ‘Wild Sheep Chase’, Paul Theroux’s ‘The Tao of Travel’ that I did not buy because by then I had spent far too much on the nine books I had found before I saw these titles.
On my second visit I went around looking for these titles that I did not buy and needless to say, I did not find them. Instead I found other interesting titles. At one stall I found another Alice Munro title- ‘The View from Castle Rock’ that I was thrilled to find. I got the book quite cheap considering what I had paid for the first book. The seller gave this book to me for a hundred and fifty rupees. There are eleven stories in this book divided into two Parts. Part I titled ‘No Advantages’ has these stories ‘No Advantages, The View from Castle Rock, Illinois, The Wilds of Morris Township, Working for a Living’ Part II titled ‘Home’ has these stories- Fathers, Lying Under the Apple Tree, Hired Girl, The Ticket, Home, What Do You Want to Know For ?’ and under ‘Epilogue’ there’s one story titled ‘Messenger’. This is my fourth Alice Munro title. Earlier I had bought her ‘Dance of the Happy Shades’ and ‘The Moons of Jupiter’ and recently on the first day of the book fair I had found ‘Runaway.’ At another stall I found a Robert B. Parker title that I do not have. I found his ‘School Days’ and got it for only fifty rupees.
Next day, Sunday, I went again for the third and last visit to the book fair. I went in the afternoon because it was the last day and I wanted to see if there is anything I might have missed on the previous two visits. I had never seen so many people visiting the book fair before. There were literally hundreds of bikes and scores of cars parked in the spacious grounds of the NTR Stadium where this year’s version of the Book fair was being held. I think it was a smart decision to shift the fair to the spacious grounds because not only were there more stalls they were spacious and also attracted thousands of visitors.

Later in another stall by a Chennai based seller I found another copy of ‘Runaway’ by Alice Munro that I had found on the first visit. This copy had a different cover though and also I got it for only a hundred rupees for this book that was in excellent condition. On the first day I had paid two hundred rupees for the same title. I might gift this copy to a friend.
The next find was another title by an author whose book I had picked up on my first visit. I found William Trevor’s ‘The Story of Lucy Gault’ in a rack of books selling for fifty rupees only and it was a lucky find. This is the third William Trevor title that I’ve found till now. Sometime back I had found ‘Felicia’s Journey’ and on the first day of the fair I had found ‘Two Lives.’ However I am eager to find a short story collection by this wonderful writer.

The final find on the last day of the book fair was a nice copy of Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ that I managed to get for a hundred and fifty rupees. I must have bought about a dozen copies of this book and must have given as many to friends and other people who wanted to be writers.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Bookfair Haul

When it comes to events like book fairs and book sales not even a thousand horses can restrain me from going there on the first day itself. Needless to say, last Saturday, the 7th of December, I was present at the Hyderabad Book Fair much before the Governor had come to inaugurate it. Unlike the previous year this year’s book fair was in the grounds of the NTR Stadium that was on my way home. This was bigger than any book fair I have ever seen what with nearly three hundred stalls. There were the usual scenes I have seen on the first day, half opened stalls, sellers still arranging the furniture, the books, and the cartons of unopened books lying on the ground. The only difference was that there was no entrance fee as this year’s fair was sponsored by NBT.
I headed straight for the second hand book stores that were open and had some books on display and ended up with a nine-book haul that is sort of a minor record for me. In the first second hand book stall at the Fair I found a hard cover copy of ‘Sun after Dark’ by Pico Iyer that I already had but anyway bought though the price was a bit too steep for my pocket. I got the book for two hundred rupees. ‘
The second find at the Book fair was a real gem. At the bottom of a pile of books stacked on the ground at the foot of a table in a stall of a second hand book seller of Hyderabad I spotted a copy of Arun Joshi’s ‘The Strange Case of Billy Biswas’. I already have two copies of this book but this copy was the original copy published sometime in the 1970s. It was the cover that got me with its illustration of a man in bell bottoms and two women that reminded me of the 70’s. It was a lucky find that I got for just eighty rupees. The book wasn’t in perfect shape but I fixed it up later at home.
The third find at the Book fair was another treasure. In yet another second hand book stall I came across a nice copy of ‘The Thing Around Your Neck’ by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie. I had been looking for this book since quite some time and had actually seen it at Blossoms in Bangalore in August but did not buy it because of the prohibitive price. I got this copy at the book fair for just a hundred rupees. This will be the first book of Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie that I would be reading and I am looking forward to read the twelve stories in this collection. (Cell One, Imitation, A Private Experience, Ghosts, On Monday of Last Week, Jumping Monkey Hill, The Thing Around Your Neck, The American Embassy, The Shivering, The Arrangers of Marriage, Tomorrow is Too Far, and The Headstrong Historian.
The next find (the fourth of the haul) too was a collection of short stories and this was one by this year’s Nobel winner- Alice Munro. In a big stall put up by a Delhi based seller I found an almost brand new copy of ‘Runaway’ by Alice Munro. However this didn’t come cheap because I had to pay two hundred rupees for it but I guess it is worth it. I felt really pleased at finding this collection that has eight stories which, surprisingly had single word titles- Runaway, Chance, Soon, Silence, Passion, Trespasses, Tricks, and Powers.
Next I found two books by one of my favourite authors- Dave Barry. I found his ‘Dave Barry Turns Forty’ and ‘Homes and Other Black Holes’ both titles that I already have. However, I picked up these copies too because they were in quite good condition and ‘DB Turns Forty’ was a hardcover copy. There’s always someone who can do with a bit of humour in his/her life and these copies are for such persons who I might meet.
I was going around the stalls carrying my six books in a small plastic bag that one of the sellers had given me. I was in a different stall whose owner stopped me and offered me a bigger bag to carry all my books. I refused but he insisted and took the bag from my hand and put it inside another nice and big bag which he gave back to me with a smile. I felt a bit embarrassed knowing what to do next since it was a stall where I couldn’t find anything to buy.
The seventh find was a serious book- Harold Bloom’s ‘How to Read and Why’ that I got quite cheap at only fifty rupees in another stall selling second hand books. I have read about Bloom but haven’t read anything by him till now so this might be my first introduction to Harold Bloom. I am glad I found it because I hope to find whether I read for the same reasons that Bloom talks about. If this find was about reading then the next find was about writing- Oxford Essential Guide to Writing- that I picked up though I already have a copy of it. I was getting it for only fifty rupees. The price wasn’t the only excuse for buying the book since I like to read as many books on writing and also pass them on to others like me. So in it went into the haul.
Sometime back I had picked up a crime fiction title on a hunch and after I read it I wanted to pat myself on the back for having picked up a book by a truly talented writer. The book was Peter Blauner’s ‘Casino Moon’ that I had finished reading only last month and that left me hungry for more books by Blauner. So when I saw another Blauner title- Slow Motion Riot- I grabbed it. I was lucky to have found it and luckier to have got it for just eighty rupees. With this title the haul went up to nine and I decided to call it a day and quit.
Outside I celebrated the nine book haul by having a sweet- Madugula halwa- that was being sold from inside a van kind of thing. On one of my trips to Visakhapatnam sometime in 2009 or so I had actually been to Madugula and had been offered almost a kilo of this wonderful sweet to take home. I was glad I got to taste this sweet once again after such a long time.

Friday, December 06, 2013

The Sunday Haul

The Sunday book bazaar at Abids is an open air affair. It all depends on the season’s weather how long you can hang around in the search for books. In the summer which can get pretty hot in Hyderabad, one cannot browse at leisure and in the monsoon season it depends on the rains whether the sellers would put the books on the pavements or not. In my view, winter is the best season to be at Abids on Sundays looking for books on the pavements. With the coming of December winter has begun in Hyderabad bringing down the temperatures a bit. Last Sunday, I was at Abids in the morning soaking in the sun rays after a couple of chais with Uma and Srikanth at our usual Irani joint.
While looking in a heap of books selling for twenty rupees I found a small book that had a photocopy of the original cover and not exactly in a good condition. There were a couple of termite holes all the way up to the last page. Normally I wouldn’t pick up such copies but when I saw the title I decided, on a hunch, to pick it up. It was ‘Venture to the Interior’ by Laurens van der Post. It was a travelogue of the writer’s journey in Africa which got my interest and apart from it; the book was published by Penguin Books in association with Hogarth Press that made me buy it. I thought it would be a title worth reading. Coincidentally, yesterday I began reading Graham Greene’s ‘Journey Without Maps’ that I had picked up at Blossoms in Bangalore sometime in August. While reading the introduction by Paul Theroux I was thrilled to find this title mentioned. I was glad I picked it up.
The second find in an adjoining heap of books at the same place was Wallace Stegner’s ‘Second Growth’ that was almost brand new. I bought this title too. The third and final find of Sunday was ‘The Writing of One Novel’ by Irving Wallace that I got for twenty rupees. I already have a couple of copies of this title but I couldn’t resist buying this copy too. With these three titles the total number of books I had bought during the year goes up to 157. Tomorrow the Hyderabad Book Fair begins and I might pick up another half a dozen books at least there at the Book Fair which means that I might end the year with nearly 170 books or so as the annual haul.