Friday, August 28, 2015

The Sunday Haul (on 23-08-2015)

It looks like I’ve stumbled upon another master of crime thrillers almost by accident. There are some book covers, often titles, or the author’s name that exert a powerful pull on you. Last Sunday, while at the Abids book bazaar, I came upon a copy of ‘High Sierra’ by WR Burnett. After I picked it up for a closer look somehow I felt that I had to buy it. I did not take long to decide to buy it. Surprisingly I got it for only twenty rupees. Later I saw that WR Burnett had written some pretty good titles. I felt lucky I found another new crime fiction author. One of these days I plan to start reading ‘High Sierra’.
I had been looking for a good copy of Jerry Pinto’s ‘Surviving Women’ that at last I found at Abids last Sunday. Ever since I read that this title was written as a kind of riposte to Shobha De’s ‘Surviving Men,’ I have been looking for ‘Surviving Women’ but I plan to read it only after reading ‘Surviving Men’. I wonder when I will find it. It would be the only book by Shobha De that I would have read.
The next title I found was another travel book by a famous author of an earlier generation. I found a nice copy of ‘Twilight in Italy’ by DH Lawrence that I got pretty cheap. I paid only forty rupees for this small book. I had been looking for short story collections of VS Pritchett but haven’t been able to find them anywhere. Last Sunday I found ‘A Cab at the Door/Midnight Oil’ by VS Pritchett in a heap of books. This was two books in one version of his autobiography.
Jai dropped in at Abids and while we were having chai at our usual Irani joint before foraying into the book-lined pavements he gifted me a copy of ‘The Laughing Policeman’ by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Sunday Haul (on 16-8-2015)

It had been a long time since it had rained all night and also the following morning in Hyderabad. I wouldn’t have minded if it was any other day but the next morning it happened to be Sunday. The continuous downpour washed away my Sunday morning routine of taking a long walk and later sitting in an Irani café near home and reading all the Sunday papers. One by one my Sunday routines were being washed out as the rain showed no sign of abating. When it looked like it would rain all day I thought I may not be able to go to Abids to look for books when all of a sudden it stopped raining. I rushed out on the bike to Abids feeling glad.

After a lengthy chat over tea in the Irani café we started out. Because it was still cloudy and looked like there would be more rain, not many of the sellers had kept their books on the pavement. So there wasn’t much to look. I manage to spot another copy of ‘The Outsider’ by Albert Camus. This copy was a different edition, bigger than the one I found last Sunday and also had a different cover. Later after I bought it for only fifty rupees I learnt that it had an ‘Afterword’ as well. The copy I had bought the other week did not have it. That was the only title I found at Abids last Sunday.
Earlier in the week I had been to Landmark with Hari. I was very surprised that the shelves which had held thousands of books now held toys. The entire book section was relegated to a side and seemed to occupy not more than one tenth of the store. It seemed an ominous sign since the Landmark at Banjara Hills had shut down and I wondered if the Somajiguda branch too might be going the same way in the near future. However, though the number of books had shrunk I happened to see a shelf completely filled with little books with black covers that caught my eye. They were ‘Little Black Classics’ from Penguin. I loved the size, handy enough to fit into a shirt pocket with not more than 60 pages. The biggest surprise was the price. They were Rs 49 each and very affordable. I picked up ‘Aphorisms on Love and Hate’ by Friedrich Nietzsche and also ‘Remember, Body…’ by C.P. Cavafy. Hari picked up nearly thirty titles and paid for mine too which was the icing on the cake.
I came to learn that the long awaited book exhibition and sale by Best Books is set to begin from 1st of September until 12th September. The timing of the sale suits me because the wallet will be full as the sale begins on payday.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Sunday Haul (12-08-2015)

This blog is now in its ninth year.

Last Sunday was International Book Lovers Day and I wasn’t even aware there such a day. However, I was able to prove my love for books by picking up five books at Abids. Once again I brought home a haul of five books. This is the fourth or fifth successive Sunday of a book haul of more than four titles. Somehow I am unable to restrain myself from buying titles that I already have and two titles in last Sunday’s five book haul are copies of titles I have bought previously. I am simply unable to leave behind good copies of titles I love.

This blog is now into its ninth year.
The first book I picked up at Abids last Sunday was a good copy of ‘Mister Johnson’ by Joyce Cary that I spotted in a heap of books selling for only thirty rupees. Sometime during this year I guess I had found my first copy of this title that I had been looking for. Though I am yet to read it I am glad I found a second copy of this book.
The second title I picked up in another heap was ‘Angel in the Parlor’ by Nancy Willard that I got for thirty rupees. I remember reading about this book in a book on writing. ‘Angel in the Parlor’ has eight essays on writing as well as five short stories so it is a sort of two-in-one book. The stories in it are: Her Father’s House; Animals Running on a Windy Crown; The Doctrine of the Leather-Stocking Jesus; The Tailor Who Told the Truth; Amyas Axel, His Care and Keep.
In keeping with my decision to read all the major classics I picked up a nice copy of ‘Jane Eyre’ by Emily Bronte that I got for only twenty rupees. There were three copies available and I made my friends buy the other two copies.
A long time ago, more than a couple of years ago in fact, I found ‘Hunting for Mister Heartbreak- A Discovery of America’ by Jonathan Raban but I do not remember where I found it. But I didn’t get around to reading this hefty hard bound book that runs to more than 370 pages. Last Sunday at Abids I found another title by Jonathan Raban - ‘Old Glory-American Voyage’ which was another hefty hard bound book of more than 408 pages. I don’t know when I will get around to reading this book but I bought it anyhow. Coincidentally, I have just finished reading ‘Looking for America’ by Avirook Sen and currently reading ‘Roadrunner’ by Dilip D’Souza. Afterwards I plan to read the Jonathan Raban titles one after the other.
My last find of Sunday was not at Abids but at the seller near ‘RTC X Road’ on the way home. In a jumble of books for sale at only twenty rupees I spotted an old copy of ‘The Outsider’ by Albert Camus. I had read it but I don’t remember if I have a copy of it or not so I picked it up. I think this is the best find of last Sunday and I am pretty pleased with my haul.

Friday, August 07, 2015

The Sunday Haul (on 02-08-2015)

It was yet another Sunday when I didn’t return home empty handed from Abids. In fact, I returned home with four books, each of them a title that I did not want to leave behind on the pavement. One of the books was one I had two copies with me. My first find at Abids, soon after parking my bike, was ‘Aspects of the Novel’ by EM Forster. It was a beautiful copy, a Penguin edition with a picture of EM Forster on the cover. Only a couple of months ago I had picked up my second copy of this title but I felt I had to have this copy. So I picked it up though I had to pay a hundred rupees for it. I hadn’t felt reading the other copies I had but after finding this Penguin edition of ‘Aspects of the Novel’ I might get around to reading it at last.
Sometime two years ago I had picked up a book on a hunch. It was ‘Tumbleweed’ by Janwillem van de Wetering. I had the good sense to read it right away though I had never heard of the writer. After reading it I realized that I had discovered another good crime fiction writer and wondered if I would be able to find other titles by Janwillem van de Wetering. Luckily, last Sunday I chanced upon another Janwillem van de Wetering title- ‘Hard Rain’ that I got quite cheap from a heap of books selling for only thirty rupees each. It was in quite good condition and finding it made me quite happy maybe with the realization that I indeed have an eye for spotting some really good titles.
Another title in one of the Len Deighton trilogies landed in the haul on Sunday. I found ‘Match’ by Len Deighton in another heap of books selling for twenty rupees. It was in a good condition and I was glad I am coming closer to completing at least one trilogy. I had seen a copy of ‘Mexico Set’ somewhere at Abids and I will buy it if I happen to see it again next Sunday. Once I find it then I will start reading the first of the ‘Berlin Game, Mexico Set, and London Match’ trilogy. It has been a long time since I read a Deighton title with Bernard Samson in it.
Usually I stay clear of books written by bureaucrats because most of the time the language is dull and reads like some official document apart from being totally uninteresting and also pompous sounding. Sometimes I think the only people who read books, especially memoir-like accounts, are the people close to the bureaucrat. I think they write such books because not finding any post-retirement sinecure they spend the time writing such memoirs. I come across many such titles by former IAS officers. But I want to read books written by young serving bureaucrats and when I came across ‘Poor But Spirited in Karimnagar’ by Sumita Dawra I wanted to read the book. When I saw a good copy at Abids I picked it up. It would be interesting to read this book about the experiences of a District Collector in a district since I began my career in the Government with a field posting.