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.

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