Friday, January 10, 2014

The Sunday Haul

The list of titles on travel and travelogues on my bookshelf is pretty impressive. Over the years I have managed to fill the bookshelf with some good titles that will cause envy in others who do not have these books. Some of the books I have are:

WG Sebald ( The Rings of Saturn, Austerlitz ), Wilfred Thesiger ( Arabian Sands )Ryszard Kapuscinski ( Another Day of Life, The Shadow of the Sun, Travels with Herodotus, Emperor, The Shah of Shahs ) Freya Stark ( The Southern Gates of Arabia ) Jan Morris ( Sydney, Travels ) Graham Greene ( Journey Without Maps ) Somerset Maugham ( On a Chinese Screen, The Gentleman in the Parlour ) George Orwell ( Burmese Days, Down and Out in Paris and London ) Ernest Hemingway (Green Hills of Africa, The Dangerous Summer ) Saul Bellow ( To Jerusalem and Back ) Edward Abbey ( Desert Solitaire ) Paul Theroux ( The Old Patagonian Express, Riding the Iron Rooster, The Happy Isles of Oceania, To the Ends of the Earth, The Great Railway Bazaar, Kingdom by the Sea ) Pico Iyer ( Video Nights in Kathmandu, Falling of the Map, Sun After Dark ) Bruce Chatwin ( Utz, The Viceroy of Ouidah, What am I Doing Here?, In Patagonia, Songlines ) Colin Thubron ( Behind the Wall ) Eric Newby ( A Short Walk in the Hindukush ) V.S. Naipaul ( Finding the Centre, The Middle Passage, The Overcrowded Barracoon ) Laurens van der Post ( Venture to the Interior )

My favourite writer, Dave Barry, too has a travel book- Dave Barry Does Japan that is absolutely hilarious. I have built this enviable collection over a long period after some painstaking searches that led to some happy finds in places like Bengaluru, Delhi but mostly at Abids in Hyderabad.

Of course, there are many titles that I am looking for desperately like Paul Theroux’s ‘Pillars of Hercules’ ‘Vertigo’ by WG Sebald and other impossible to find titles that are too many to list here. I had read about RL Stevenson’s ‘Travels with a Donkey’ and a couple of years ago had also come across a copy in a very bad condition with termite holes, and a broken spine that I did not buy.

Last Sunday at Abids, I came across another good copy of the book whose title is actually ‘Travels With My Donkey in the Evennes’ by RL Stevenson. Small in size and hardbound it looked like it was the earliest edition. From the looks of it inside it appeared to be a library copy that I got for only forty rupees. I want to read this travel classic sometime in the coming Sankranti holidays.
Earlier, I had found a nice copy of ‘The Middleman’ an English translation by Arunava Sinha of the book ‘Jana Aranya’ by the famous Bengali author Mani Sankar Mukherji. I had read about this book on Chandrahas Choudhury’s blog a long time back. I was happy to find this book for only fifty rupees. I read that Satyajit Ray had made an award winning film (Jana Aranya) out of this book. I have to make time to read this book sometime soon before it gets lost somewhere among the hundreds of books in my house.
However, the first find of the first Sunday of the New Year was Jerzy Kosinski’s collection of essays titled ‘Passing By’ that was a hard cover copy. I picked it up from a heap of books selling for twenty books, the same heaps that have in the past yielded several good titles. This is one place where we spend a long time searching for good titles picking up each and every book to look at the title properly before deciding whether to buy it or not. There’s a row of two or three large heaps, one or two heaps selling for twenty and another selling for thirty rupees. It is like a gold mine since sometimes I’ve found some incredible titles in these heaps.


Harimohan said...

Good haul Vinod bhai. Eclectic.

Vinod Ekbote said...

Eclectic and also, economic :)