A long time ago, I guess it was sometime in the late nineties, I came upon a title that opened a door to a genre I hadn’t until then been aware of. It was in the British Library that I found ‘Dark Star Safari’ by Paul Theroux that for some reason I decided to read. It was a lucky find because after reading ‘Dark Star Safari’ I decided to read more such books. Since then I got seriously hooked to travel fiction and it forms my first preference were I too choose between titles. However, luckily for me, not very long after reading ‘Dark Star Safari’ I found ‘Kingdom by the Sea’ which also I enjoyed reading.
Then I found Bruce Chatwin’s ‘What Am I Doing Here’ and after reading it became a life -long fan of Chatwin’s writing. Over the years I found his other books ‘In Patagonia’ ‘Utz’ 'Anatomy of Restlessness' 'Viceroy of Ouidah' and 'An Anatomy of Restlessness. However, I preferred his travel writing more than his fiction. So when I found his ‘On the Black Hill’ at Abids last Sunday I hesitated for some time. However, I hadn’t read anything by Chatwin for a long time and moreover hadn’t found any book the Sunday before so I decided to pick it up. It wasn’t very expensive also since the seller gave the book to me for only thirty rupees.
Friday, March 27, 2015
Friday, March 13, 2015
On some Sundays my haul at the Abids book bazaar is larger than expected for various reasons. When my friends do not accompany me I tend to look closely at the titles and inevitably manage to find some title that I want to buy. Last Sunday I ended up with a haul of five books, of which, I am glad to say, three titles were by vintage Indian writers.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
There’s nothing more exciting for a book lover than finding a book on books. Over the years I’ve managed to find books on writing ( more than 100 titles) books on reading ( ‘Ruined by Reading’ by Lynne Sharon Schwartz, ‘Ex-Libris’ Anne Fadiman, ‘How Reading Changed My Life’ by Anna Quindlen, ‘How to Read and Why’ by Harold Bloom ) and a few books on books (‘The Groaning Shelf’ by Pradeep Sebastian, ‘84, Charing Cross Road’ by Helene Hanff) and also a few memoirs by editors and publishers (‘Stet’ by Diana Athill, ‘At Random’ by Bennett Cerf). But nothing interests me as much as reading a book on books. Sometime last week I cut loose from the tedium at the office and dropped in at the Best Books store at Lakdikapul. There I found ‘The Bantam Story’ by Clarence Petersen. I leafed through the book and discovered it is a treasure trove of information about paperback publishing. I was surprised that this book was priced at just fifty rupees which was a small price to pay for such a wonderful book. In a later post I will try to write more about ‘The Bantam Story.’
Friday, March 06, 2015
For someone who has studied the sciences in college ( I am an agricultural entomologist by qualification, by the way) I’ve never really lost interest in the various branches of science. While not making any special effort to keep abreast of the latest developments I’ve managed to find and read titles whose writers had an interesting view on specific subjects. Some such titles include ‘The Silent Spring’ by Rachel Carson, a truly terrifying account of the damage that pesticides can do to our environment, ‘The Orchid Thief’ by Susan Orlean, ‘Pilgrim at Tinker Creek’ by Annie Dillard, ‘Sand County Almanack , ‘Desert Solitaire, a title by Sue Hebell. It is rare to find such titles at Abids but when I spot one I don’t let it go. One such title I found last Sunday was ‘Seed to Seed: The Secret Life of Plants’ by Nicholas Herberd that I got for forty rupees.