Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Midweek Haul

Sometime last week bored with the routine at the office I decided to take the day off and so stayed at home. I had some errands to run such as closing my bank account in United Bank of India and opening a new account in HDFC bank. I accomplished these tasks sooner than I thought and had half the day free with nothing to do. Whenever I have time on my hands I spend it in bookstores. I went to the Best Books branch in Lakdikapul after lunch and spent a couple of hours scouring the bookshelves for titles to buy.
To me, or to any true bibliophile, for that matter, there is nothing more exciting than discovering a good book by an author one hasn’t heard of before. Even after nearly twenty years of some serious book hunting during which time I must have bought a couple of thousand of books I have realized there are some Indian writers who wrote in the sixties and seventies that I don’t know about. It was only a while ago that I learnt about Arun Joshi from a newspaper article by Aditya Sudarshan. There are many more writers, who were, incidentally, published by Orient Paperbacks. I discovered one such writer.

When I saw ‘I Come As A Thief’ by Manoje Basu I picked it up. It had that look on the cover I have come to associate with Orient Paperbacks. On the cover it said it was a Sahitya Akademi Award winning novel. When I read the author’s note I discovered that it was an English translation of his Bengali novel ‘Nishikutumba.’ It was serialized in the Bengali weekly ‘Desh’ and had caused quite an uproar. I was glad I found this book.
I thought I was lucky when I found ‘I Come As A Thief’ by Manoje Basu but more was waiting for me. Underneath this title stacked in a heap I found a book I had been looking for since a long time. Though I had picked up a few copies of ‘The Apprentice’ by Arun Joshi my heart was set on finding the first edition. Last week I found it and was I thrilled to lay my hands on the beautiful copy. ‘The Apprentice’ by Arun Joshi was published by Orient Paperback in 1974. The typesetting was so quaint I was amused. The copy I found was in good condition and seemed to have belonged to one ‘Madana Mohan Mahapatra’ of Jeypore, Odisha whose stamp was on one of the pages.
Sometime back I had randomly picked up ‘The Wycherly Woman’ by Ross Macdonald in this same store. After I finished reading it I resolved to read all the titles by this writer. Back then I did not know that he was one of the ‘Holy Trinity of American Writers’ along with Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. So when I came across three more titles by him I just grabbed them. I found ‘The Galton Case,’ ‘Trouble Follows Me,’ and ‘The Goodbye Look’ all by Ross Macdonald. I was more than thrilled to find these three books and am looking forward to start reading them.
However, this midweek haul set me back by four hundred rupees. I did not mind it since I had found some rare copies of books by two virtually unknown ( to me) Indian writers. With this haul of five books the total haul during this year goes up to eighty one books.

No comments: