Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Sunday Haul

There is a large gap in my reading that I have been trying to fill since long but not quite succeeding. It is a bit embarrassing to confess that I haven’t read many classics. I haven’t read titles by Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, the Bronte sisters, and many other writers. Somehow I feel daunted by the sheer size of the books and hence have avoided buying and reading them. Recently I made a beginning and read John Steinbeck’s ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ that I found to be good. The Sunday before the previous I came across a good copy of ‘Emma’ by Jane Austen that I was getting for cheap. I bought it.
The next find was by a writer I had read about recently. Currently I am reading Paul Theroux’s ‘Sunrise With Seamonsters’ in which he wrote about Joyce Cary in an essay titled ‘An English Visitor’ which was about Cary’s novels. He had mentioned all the novels except ‘Mister Johnson’ which was the book I found on Sunday. Earlier after I found Chinua Achebe’s books I was looking on the net for reviews and articles on him. I found Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie’s essay in Salon.com where she mentioned ‘Mister Johnson.’ When I saw the book at Abids I picked it up without hesitation. It wasn’t exactly a good copy but then I have never seen this book at Abids or anywhere before so I have to make do with that I found.
There was a time when I was quite desperate to find GV Desani’s ‘All About H.Hatterr’ that I found sometime this year after a long search. I was thrilled when I found it since I had read that it was a rare title and copies were difficult to find. However, I found another copy, a beautiful one that was in pristine condition. I got this copy for peanuts, paying only hundred rupees for it.
I also found a book by another regional language author that I picked up based on the cover alone. I found Oriya writer, Gyaneswar Misra’s ‘Face of the Morning’ with the same seller where I found ‘Mister Johnson’ and got it quite cheap. I was very pleased to find it but I really wish I could find something by Fakir Mohan Senapati.
There was another bestseller that I did not buy for various reasons. The book was more than thousand pages long and was thicker than a brick, the price was two hundred and fifty rupees and besides, it wasn’t a title I wasn’t exactly dying to read. The book was ‘Infinite Jest’ by David Foster Wallace which I did not buy.
Sometime during the middle of the week before the last I happened to be in Secunderabad on some errand. Whenever I am in Secunderabad I make it a point to drop in at the Best Book store in YMCA. So I went there for a quick look and found a wonderful book. I saw a collection of ‘Great Love Stories’ in a collection titled ‘My Mistress’s Sparrow is Dead’ edited Jeffrey Eugenides.

The hardcover book contains twenty seven love stories written by some big time writers. Here’s the list:

First Love and Other Sorrows by Harold Brodkey

The Lady with the Little Dog by Anton Chekhov

Love by Grace Paley

A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner

The Dead by James Joyce

Dirty Wedding by Denis Johnson

Natasha by David Bezmozgis

Some Other, Better Otto by Deborah Eisenberg

The Hitchhiking Game by Milan Kundera

Lovers of Their Time by William Trevor

Mouche by Guy de Maupassant

The Moon in Its Flight by Gilbert Sorrentino

Spring in Fialta by Vladimir Nabokov

How to Be An Other Woman Lorrie Moore

Yours Mary Robinson

The Bad Thing by David Gates

First Love by Isaac Babel

Tonka by Robert Musil

Jon by George Saunders

Red Rose, White Rose by Eileen Chang

Fireworks by Richard Ford

We Didn’t by Stuart Dybek

Something That Needs Nothing by Miranda July

The Magic Barrel by Bernard Malamud

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver

Innocence by Harold Brodkey

The Bear Came Over the Mountain by Alice Munro

All these great stories by some of the greatest writers in a hard-bound book, all mine for only two hundred and thirty rupees

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