Friday, September 26, 2014

The Sunday Haul

Usually I do not miss buying any copy of any of Dave Barry’s titles but I had almost half a dozen copies of ‘Dave Barry’s Greatest Hits’ and so did not buy the copy I kept seeing at a seller at Abids every Sunday. I had asked for the price and after hearing the price I decided to let someone else buy it. However, no one seemed very interested in picking it up and more than a couple of occasions I had been tempted to buy it. But I didn’t, until last Sunday. In a pile of books selling for only twenty rupees I saw the cover first. It had become detached from the rest of the book. I couldn’t bear to see it in such a condition so I picked up the book. After I got home I fixed up the cover and felt glad that I had bought it. There’ll always be someone who might enjoy the sort of humor that Dave Barry writes.
That was the only book I picked up on Sunday but earlier in the week I had bought another book. Last Friday on an unexpected visit to the MR Bookstore near the flyover at Punjagutta I found ‘The Penguin Book of American Short Stories’ edited by James Cochrane. I picked it up instantly since the price was only thirty rupees. The book has famous names and has the following stories: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe, Bartleby by Herman Melville, The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg by Mark Twain, The Outcasts of Poker Flat by Francis Bret Harte, One of the Missing by Ambrose Bierce, The Real Thing by Henry James, An Unfinished Story by O. Henry, The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky by Stephen Crane, Neighbor Rosicky by Will Cather, To Build a Fire by Jack London, Death in the Woods by Sherwood Anderson, Who Dealt by Ring Lardner, Flowering Judas by Katherine Anne Porter, The Rich Boy by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Delta Autumn by William Faulkner, The Battler by Ernest Hemingway, The Jewbird by Bernard Malamud, Children on Their Birthdays by Truman Capote and Wife-Wooing by John Updike.

Friday, September 19, 2014


One thing I wish I could do more often is go to Necklace Road early on Sunday morning and watch the sun rise over the calm waters of Hussain Sagar. I have done it many times in the past and it has never failed to be a magical experience that put me in a different frame of mind. It is something I’ve found to be worth getting up at five in the morning on a Sunday when all you want to do is to get up a little later than your usual time.

The last time I did it was a couple of months ago. Since then for some reason or the other I couldn’t find the time to go to Necklace Road to watch the sunrise. However last Saturday I resolved to go and there I was at Necklace Road much before the sunrise. It was really magical and I felt it can be called a minor soul-cleansing experience because all at once I felt calm and all the negativity inside just went down.

Later, as is my routine, I sat in Adarsh café reading the Sunday papers leisurely for more than an hour. After watching the magical sunrise no headline felt alarming. Life just felt wonderful, at least, until Monday dawned.

The Sunday Haul

The Sunday before last Sunday I couldn’t visit Abids to look for books because of the rain. It was an agonizing week I spent waiting for Sunday which turned out to be a wonderful, sunny Sunday. The wait was worth it because I found four fantastic books.
The first find was ‘Seeing Things’ by Seamus Heaney. It had a beautiful cover and I got it for just fifty rupees. It is a book of poems and contains nearly forty poems. I was terribly glad I found this wonderful volume brought out by ‘Faber and Faber’ for so cheap. It has some priceless poetry inside. For those who don’t know Heaney won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995.
Another book I picked up along with Seeing Things at the same seller and at the same time and at the same price was ‘Dying Alone’ by Krishna Baldev Vaid. The book has a novella (Dying Alone) and ten short stories:- Silence, The Stone of a Jamun, The Voice Robber, My Effigy, The Sould of Darkness, the Fourth Window, The Thieves’ Thief, An Evensong, An Evening with Bhookh Kumari, and The Old Man in the Park. These are translated from Hindi by the author himself and I picked up this book since I have heard a lot about Krishna Baldev Vaid but hadn’t read any of his works. It would be interesting to read the original stories in Hindi if I am able to find them somewhere.
A few steps later I found another copy of China Mieville’s ‘Perdido Street Station’ in a heap of books selling for just twenty rupees. I had another copy with me that I had bought long back but this appeared to be a far better copy so I picked it up. However, I don’t know when I will get to read it since there are too many books waiting to be read.
Another book that I found not at Abids but at a seller near RTC crossroads was one I already have a copy of. It was ‘The Art of Living: Epictetus’ by Sharon Lebell that I got for fifty rupees. This is one wonderful book that teaches you so much about finding balance in your life and being calm at all times, in grief and in happiness which is something I am not able to do at all. It is at Abids I lose all sense of balance and proportion when I see all those books!

Friday, September 05, 2014

The Sunday Haul

These two books are what I came up with in the haul last Sunday, one at Abids and the other at another place.
Some of the best short stories ever are written by Irish writers and I have read quite a few collections by them. One of the writers who has left a deep impression on me is Alistair MacLeod whose collection ‘Island’ I found by chance at a book sale. The short stories in it were some of the best I have read so far. Since then I’ve been on the look out for collections of short stories and whenever I come across one I do not miss buying them.

On Sunday at Abids I was going through a pile of books selling for only twenty rupees when my eye fell on a pale green cover that I picked up to see more of. It was Frank O’ Connor’s ‘Collected Stories, Volume I’ that I bought right away. Frank O’Connor is a name that I have been coming across often along with Flannery O’Connor whose short stories I am unable to find anywhere. Now I want to find his ‘Bone of Contention’ and ‘Guests of the Nation.’ This collection is divided into two volumes, or rather two parts- Fish for Friday and A Life of Your Own.

The first part, ‘Fish for Friday, has the following thirteen stories:
A Sense of Responsibility
The Little Mother
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
The Old Faith
A Brief for Oedipus
Father and Son
Private Property
Fish for Friday
Androcles and the Army
Achille’s Heel
The Wreath
The Weeping Children.

The second part titled ‘A Life of Your Own’ has the following twelve stories:
A Life of Your Own
The Impossible Marriage
Unapproved Route
Music When Soft Voices Die, Sue
A Mother’s Warning
The Corkerys
The School for Wives
The American Wife
The Cheat
Variations on a Theme.
The other book I found on Sunday was one on screenwriting that I found with a book seller near RTC Crossroads in Musheerabad. I bought it hoping it would help me with a script I am struggling with since a long time. The book was ‘Screenwriting’ by Madeline DiMaggio that I got for ninety rupees.