Friday, August 29, 2014

The Sunday Haul

Some time back, 2011, I guess I read somewhere about the books that Barack Obama took on his vacation to read. One of the titles that I remembered was John Le Carre’s ‘Our Kind of Traitor’ and the other title was David Mitchell’s ‘The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.’ I have come across ‘Our Kind of Traitor’ but haven’t seen the other title anywhere till last Sunday.

On Thursday I was in a second hand bookstore where I saw a copy of David Mitchell’s ‘Cloud Atlas’ selling for Rs 100. Somehow I didn’t buy it though I was aware of its bestseller status. Also, it was quite a tome. I had several titles bigger than that (like The River of Smoke, Idris) lying unread and I did not want to add one more intimidating doorstopper.
On Sunday, at a seller near the GPO I found a nice copy of ‘The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet’ which was quite a tome with 560 pages. The seller was ready to give it to me for Rs 80 rupees which I shelled out. I knew because I wouldn’t be able to find it anywhere so cheap.
Another book I picked up on Sunday was Stephen King’s ‘Everything’s Eventual’ which is a collection of 14 dark tales- Autopsy Room Four, The Man in the Black Suit, All That You Love Will Be Carried Away, The Death of Jack Hamilton, In the Deathroom, The Little Sisters of Eluria, Everything’s Eventual, L.T’s Theory of Pets, The Road Virus Heads North, Lunch at The Gotham Café, That Feeling YOU Can Only Say What Is It in French, 1408, Riding the Bullet, and Lucky Quarter. I had recently finished reading his ‘On Writing’ once again and thought it would be a good idea to taste some of his stories. This book was with the same seller who gives the books to me at any price I ask. I got it for fifty rupees which is a bit higher than what I usually pay but then this was an almost brand new copy.
Apart from the two good titles I found, the Sunday was a special for another reason. Jai came along with Hari Balakrishnan, watch and pen collector/restorer/expert with an unmatched knowledge of fountain pens made in India. Recently I had bought three fountain pens from him so I was keen to meet him and thank him personally for the fountain pens with the special nibs that are a pleasure to own and write. Along with Uma and Srikanth, we were quite a crowd.
In the photographs taken by Shrikanth at Abids: Uma in red tee and Raybans pretending to be intimidated in my presence beside him. Hari B next to me and next to him Jai bhai.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Sunday Haul

Somehow since the past couple of weeks the haul during my weekly visits to the second hand book bazaar at Abids has been just one or two titles. It is something I welcome since I am running out of space at home to store all the books I keep buying all the time. The other Sunday I had bought just one book and the Sunday before the last Sunday too I bought just one book.
At Chikkadpally I saw a few Robert B. Parker titles and only one of them was a title I did not have and the rest were all titles I have a couple of copies of. I picked up ‘Pale Kings and Princes’ that I got for just twenty rupees though I could have got it for a lesser price. There was a copy of ‘A Case of Exploding Mangoes’ by Mohammed Hanif that I did not buy. Later I felt I should have bought it but last Sunday too I did not pick it up though the title was still on the pavement.
Last Sunday though the haul was nil as I did not find any book worth buying except for a book on solving crosswords. I found ‘Cryptic Crosswords & How to Solve Them’ by Fred Piscop that I got for just twenty rupees. There seemed to be nothing else interesting to pick up. However, I also picked up the June 2014 issue of Conde Nast Traveller. I got it from my favorite seller for only twenty rupees.
It was a hot day though with the temperature somewhere in the mid thirties which is a bit unusual for this time of the year. There has been no rain for a long time which is another thing weighing on my mind since one of my tasks on the job is to keep track of the monsoon. I have to send reports to everyone who matters on how much it has rained and what the deficit it. As on today, the rainfall deficit in the State (Telangana) is 53 % if any of you cares to know.

Friday, August 08, 2014

The Sunday Haul

The surprises at Abids never cease. Last Sunday I found another crime fiction title by a writer I had not heard about before. I found 'I Married a Dead Man' by Cornell Woolrich and got it for only thirty rupees. Since it was a Penguin title I had a hunch it could be a good book and I found I was right when I read the reviews of the book and the author's bio online.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

The Sunday Haul

This blog completes seven years. This is the first post of the eighth year of the blog.

With only two days to go for Ramzan, Abids on Sunday was a beehive of activity with hordes of shoppers thronging the shops that were kept open though it was a Sunday. Early in the morning on Sunday there was rain and I had almost dropped the idea of visiting Abids to look for books. But after a couple of hours the rain cleared out and I changed my mind since the Sunday wouldn’t be complete for me without the visit to Abids, without the half hour of chatting with my friends over chai in the café there. When I reached Abids I found that since the regular shops were open the pavement booksellers had set up shop in other vacant places.
Since my haul of books till date had crossed the century mark I was wary of buying any more books and I decided to buy only if the title was something I would never find again. Sometime back, maybe a year ago I found a copy of Judith Guest’s ‘Ordinary People’ that someone borrowed from me even before I could read and forgot to return it. When I saw another good copy with the seller who gives me the books at whatever price I ask for I decided to buy it. I got the book for thirty rupees.
At one place Uma pointed out a Graham Greene title lying on the pavement. I bought ‘It’s a Battlefield’ though I had to shell out sixty rupees for it. This was with a seller who doesn’t much encourage bargaining and sticks to the price he quotes. Both the books were in good condition and, coincidentally, both were Penguin titles.