Friday, July 11, 2014

The Sunday Haul and a Midweek Haul

The Midweek Haul

Sometime last week, Thursday afternoon to be exact, I felt a ‘mysterious force’ compelling me to rush to the nearest second hand bookstore at once. I did not sit down and try to find out what this ‘mysterious force’ was because I usually succumb to any pressure involving books. Anyway, late in the afternoon I slipped out of the office and as compelled, rushed to the nearest second hand bookstore, which, as it happens, was the Best Book Centre at Lakdikapul.

Once I reached the bookstore and looked around I realized what this mysterious force was. This mysterious force was generated by a full wallet in my pocket since it wasn’t even three days since pay day. So it was in this ‘there’s enough money for everything including books’ mood that I picked up three wonderful books, all of them, btw, no one would resist buying.
The first title I bought was yet another copy of ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King. Over the years I must have bought about a dozen copies of this title and distributed them to people who happened to mention to me that they were planning to write something but did not have any idea about how to do it. Every month I come across someone like that so I picked up this copy as well.
Coincidentally, the next title I spotted was also ‘On Writing’ but this was by the venerable Jorge Luis Borges. There was no way I could have not bought it instantly without appearing dumb to myself. Though Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ was only seventy five rupees the book with the same title but by Borges was a steep hundred and fifty rupees. Incidentally I have another book by the same title and of Borges. The earlier book is based on the talks given by Borges at some university. The book I found on Thursday seems to be a different book.
It looked like a day when I would be finding multiple copies of titles I already have. So when I saw yet another copy of Arun Joshi’s ‘The Last Labyrinth’ I picked it up though I have a couple of copies with me. Not many know of Arun Joshi and I want to give these copies to those who have not read some of the finest novels written by him.
The Sunday Haul

As if these three books weren’t enough on Sunday at Abids I picked up three more books. The first book I found was Stephen King’s ‘Green Mile’ that I have been looking for. I got it for fifty rupees. Hari had told me the story long back and ever since I had been thinking of reading the novel and finally I found a good copy on Sunday. It is quite a tome and I have to make time to read it.

Of late I am trying to read all the writers who have won the Sahitya Akademi prize taking it as a measure of the quality of the writing. I have a few Sahitya Akademi prize winners in my collection. When I saw on a book that it was by a Sahitya Akademi winner I picked it up having never heard of the writer. It was ‘It Does Not Die’ by Maitreya Devi that I got for the ridiculous price of ten rupees. Later I discovered that Maitreya Devi led an interesting life and there is a story behind her novel.
The last find on Sunday was not at Abids but at RTC X Roads where there is a seller where sometimes I had been lucky to find a few good titles. On Sunday I saw a different copy of a book I already have. It was the ‘The Art of Worldly Wisdom’ by Balthasar Gracian but by a different translator, Christopher Maurer. The copy I have with me is a translation by Joseph Jacobs. This book I found on Sunday was a new copy without any kind of blemishes. However I had to pay seventy five rupees for it. This is a book I had been thinking of giving to one of my friends. I wish I had found this title when I was young because I would have avoided making so many mistakes in life had I known what the consequences of some of my decisions and actions would be later on.

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