Friday, October 30, 2015

The Sunday Haul (on 25-10-2015)

Another Sunday. Another visit to Abids. Another haul of a few books. It all sounds predictable and monotonous but believe me I am never more excited than when I am starting for Abids on Sunday morning. Before stepping out I wonder what I will find at Abids and how many books I will buy there. Last Sunday once again I found three titles one of which was a title I already have four or five copies of. Another title was a travelogue and the other one was a poetry collection.
It was a lovely morning last Sunday with a post-festival feeling coupled with the hangover of a week-long holiday spell that we in the Government here enjoyed. The first book I saw was ‘The Healing Land’ by Rupert Isaacson that I picked up. On the cover was the picture of the lead character in the popular movie- The Gods Must Be Crazy. It looked like an interesting title and moreover it was a travel title that I do not miss reading. I got the book for forty rupees.
It is not unusual to find books for ten rupees at Abids. Until a couple of years one could get good titles for five rupees. But it is not usual to find a brand new title, that too one by a popular writer, for just ten rupees. When I heard the seller say ‘Ten rupees’ after I asked him how much the copy of ‘Neglected Poems’ by Gulzar I picked up was I was shocked. It was a brand new copy in pristine condition and in fact it looked like a copy that looked like it had come straight from the shelf in a book store. I saw that the original price was Rs 250 but I was getting it for only ten rupees. Needlessly to say, I bought it.
The next find was an interesting find. Sometime back I learnt about the little known writer Arun Joshi who has written some interesting novels. I am a big fan of Arun Joshi and I endeavor to tell as many people as possible about his books and if they appear interested I give them copies of books by Arun Joshi. So far I have bought about half a dozen or more copies of ‘The Apprentice’ and also ‘The Foreigner’ that I saw at Abids and other places. Last Sunday I spotted another copy of ‘The Apprentice’ that I snapped up the moment I saw it.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Sunday Haul (on 18-10-2015)

I seem to be getting luckier by the week. Since the past few Sundays I’ve been finding at least one wonderful title on my Sunday hunts for books on the pavements of Abids. Last Sunday it was Akira Kurosawa’s autobiography, the Sunday before that it was ‘The Rachel Papers’ by Martin Amis and three other titles, and earlier than that at the Best Books sale last month I found many more good titles. It is as if it’s guaranteed that I’d find at least one good title every time I visit Abids. It may sound a bit farfetched but it is true. Last Sunday I found not one but two wonderful titles all in the space of sixty seconds.
A long time ago, nearly thirty years back, someone gave me a copy of ‘Silent Spring’ by Rachel Carson that I misplaced somewhere and never saw it again. It must be somewhere in a forgotten carton in a corner of the house but I never got around to looking for it. This was one title I was looking for desperately ever since but though I found three copies of ‘All About H.Hatterr’ by G.V. Desani I couldn’t find a single copy of ‘Silent Spring’ by Rachel Carson. But last Sunday in an unbelievable stroke of luck I came across a nice copy of this title along with another title that I bought in a flash. I got this book for just fifty rupees. I happen to be an Agricultural Entomologist and I know how important ‘Silent Spring’ is in these times when just about everything is being poisoned by the indiscriminate use of pesticides that we do not need.
The other title I found at the same time was ‘Groucho & Me’ which is the autobiography of Groucho Marx. Sometime back I had found another Groucho Marx title that I do not remember very clearly but it was not in such a good condition. However, this copy was in excellent shape and I got it for just fifty rupees which is peanuts for such a good title. I am impatient to begin reading it as soon as I finish the ones I am reading right now.
These weren’t the only book I found at Abids last Sunday. I found another title I had been searching for. I came across a decent copy of ‘The Power and the Glory’ by Graham Greene. I found it in a stack of books being sold for thirty rupees each. No sooner had I spotted it than I grabbed it because it was a nice Penguin edition that I did not want to miss it at any cost. This was a wonderful find and it put me in a good mood for the rest of the day. I am already wondering what I will find next Sunday at Abids.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Sunday Haul (on 11-10-2015)

Though the festival season of Dasara and Diwali is less than a fortnight away the shops at Abids were closed on Sunday allowing the pavement book sellers to put up their shelves. I was glad that most of the booksellers were at their usual places. In the couple of hours I spent browsing alone I found four good titles. Every Sunday I am finding at least two good titles to take home. I have bought so many books till date this year that I have stopped counting.

I do not watch movies but I like to buy books related to movies such as autobiographies of actors, collection of movie reviews, scriptwriting books, and so on. It may sound unbelievable but I have not watched any movie by Akira Kurosawa. It is a matter of great embarrassment to be confessing this fact. I don’t understand why I haven’t tried to watch Akira Kurosawa’s movies but it fills me with regret now. I have made up my mind to get hold of his movies. When I saw a beautiful copy of ‘Something Like an Autobiography’ by Akira Kurosawa I grabbed it. I did not hesitate even when the seller told me it would cost me two hundred rupees. I was willing to pay any price for it so I paid up and took it.
The next title I found at Abids was an interesting one by an interesting person. I had read about Chris Kyle, the movie on him, and also about how he was murdered. I did not watch the movie ‘American Sniper’ when it ran here sometime recently but when I saw the book ‘American Sniper’ based on which the movie was made I took it. I was interested in knowing about Chris Kyle and I hope to learn something about this fascinating personality. I bought this almost brand new copy for just fifty rupees. It looks like an easy read and I am planning to finish it one of these days.
Last Sunday I found a nice copy of Woody Allen’s ‘Getting Even’ that I got for thirty rupees. This Sunday I found his ‘Side Effects’ that I got for thirty rupees again. It was a nice copy and I am glad I found it. I also found a copy of ‘The 5th Penguin Book of Sunday Times Crosswords’ that I got for fifty rupees. One of my younger brothers is a major crossword buff and was in the Top 10 in Indian Crossword League, an annual competition for crossword solvers. I too am interested in solving crosswords but am not such an addict as my brother is. Though I may not be able to match him I bought this book for the same reason I cannot let go of any book on books, reading, writing, and also pens.

Friday, October 09, 2015

The Sunday Haul (on 4-10-2015)

Last Sunday I was at Abids to search for titles worth picking up from the thousands of books laid out on the pavements which is like heaven for book lovers like me. Maybe because I was alone I managed to find five good titles. Of these five titles three were copies of books I already have. Somehow I find it very difficult to avoid buying more copies of books that I have in my collection. One reason is that they are hard to find and hence whenever I come across extra copies I buy them up. About one tenth of my book collection is made of multiple copies of the same titles.
Of late I am finding collections of short stores and also verse especially of our (Indian) writers of an earlier generation. I had found an anthology of verse sometime back and this Sunday again I found another anthology edited by Vilas Sarang. It has poems by some familiar names like Nissim Ezekiel, Jayanta Mahapatra, A.K. Ramanujam, Arun Kolatkar, Keki N. Daruwalla, Dom Moraes, Dilip Chitre, Eunice de Souza, Adil Jussawala, Gieve Patel, etc. I am absolutely delighted that I found this little gem.
About two or three Sundays back I had seen a copy of ‘All is Burning’ by Sri Lankan writer Jean Arasanayagam on a shelf with a seller on the pavement. It was a bound copy but it was not in a good condition so I did not feel like buying it though I was aware I may not be able to find it again. I saw it again the next Sunday at the same place but I did not buy it. Last Sunday however I gave in and bought it for just fifty rupees. It has nineteen stories: The Journey, I am an Innocent Man, Elysium, Time the Destroyer, The Mutants, Man Without a Mask, From Distant Ophir, The Golden Apples of the Hesperides, All is Burning, The Sand Serpents, The Innocents of the World, Prayers to Kali, Fragments from a Journey, A Fistful of Wind, Bali, A Husband Like Shiva, ‘I Will Life Up Mine Eyes,’ Two Women and an Apple, Fear: Meditation in a Camp.
I’ve managed to pick up all the copies of ‘Mandingo’ by Kyle Onstott that I’ve come across after reading it somewhere. So far I have found two copies, both with the same cover and when I saw a different edition with a different cover last Sunday at Abids I bought it. It was in a heap of books being sold for twenty rupees and I was glad I got my third copy of ‘Mandingo’ that cheap.
Another find was a second copy of Martin Amis’ ‘The Rachel Papers’ that I once again got for cheap at just twenty rupees. It was in a good condition and I was quite glad I found it. I had bought my first copy of this title quite a long time back, maybe five or six years ago. I must have written about finding it on this blog.
Another title I got at the same price of twenty rupees was ‘Without Feathers’ by Woody Allen. This was a good copy and my third or fourth copy. I wouldn’t leave behind anything by Woody Allen that I find anywhere.

Friday, October 02, 2015

A Midweek Haul

Last Sunday I did not go to Abids due to the Ganesh procession and the consequent traffic restrictions. A couple of years ago the immersion fell on a Sunday and somehow I went to Abids but was disappointed that no bookseller had turned up. I had to return empty handed. Since I experience a kind of withdrawal symptoms if I do not get my weekly fix of books at the Abids Sunday book bazaar I took adequate precautions. During the week I dropped in at two bookstores and ended up buying two good books that were coincidentally about short stories.
Sometime on Wednesday or Thursday I went to the Best Book Centre branch at Abids. There were a lot of books I wanted to buy but in the end I bought just one book. I found ‘English and the Indian Short Story’ edited by Mohan Ramanan and P.Sailaja. Inside it is written that the book is the result of a National Seminar on’English and the Indian Short Story’ held in August 1994 at the Department of English, University of Hyderabad. Though this is an academic book on the short story, needless to say, I bought it to find out what it has to say on the short story in India. Another reason that I bought this book was the first article in it by Ashokamitran titled ‘My Writing, My Times’ that I read standing in the store. He happens to be one of my favorite writers and I don’t miss anything by him that I find.
Again on Saturday I dropped in at was the Unique bookstore at Lakdikapul. I found a treasure of short stories in the form of a hefty volume titled ‘The Art of the Tale- An International Anthology of Short Stories’ edited by Daniel Halpern. This wonderful volume contains eighty two short stories by some well-known writers and also by writers I haven’t heard about before. There were some writers like Mavis Gallant I had been looking for and at last I managed to find one short story by her in this volume. This is the list of the eighty two stories and the writers in this book that I got for two hundred and fifty rupees.

Chinua Achebe -The Sacrificial Egg
Ilse Aichinger -The Bound Man
Vasily Aksenov - Little Whale, Varnisher of Reality
Margaret Atwood- Hair Jewellery
Ingeborg Bachmann- Everything
James Baldwin- Going to Meet the Man
Russell Banks- The Child Screams and Looks Back at You
Donald Barthelme- Cortes and Montezuma
Ann Beattie- Jacklighting
Samuel Beckett- First Love
Heinrich Boll- Action Will Be Taken
Wolfgang Borchert- Do Stay, Giraffe
Jorge Luis Borges- The Aleph
Tadeusz Borowski- This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen
Abdeslam Boulaich- Cowardice
Paul Bowles- A Distant Episode
T. Coraghessan Boyle- Greasy Lake
Harold Brodkey- Ceil
Dino Buzatti, -Seven Floors
Italo Calvino- The Adventure of a Traveler
Albert Camus- The Adulterous Woman
Truman Capote- Children on their Birthdays
Raymond Carver- Fat
John Cheever- The Country Husband
Robert Coover- Quenby, and Ola, Swede and Carl
Julio Cortazar- Bestiary
Guy Davenport- The Haile Selassie Funeral Train
Isak Dinesen- The Cloak
E.L. Doctorow- The Hunter
Stanley Elkin- I Look Out for Ed Wolfe
Richard Wolfe- Communist
Carlos Fuentes- The Doll Queen
Mavis Gallant- The Chosen Husband
William Gass- Order of Insects
Natalia Ginzburg- The Mother
Nadine Gordimer- The Life of the Imagination
Graham Greene- Two Gentle People
Wolfgang Hildesheimer- Why I Transformed Myself into a Nightingale
Yasunari Kawabata- One Arm
Milan Kundera- Let the Old People Make Room for the Dead
Tommaso Landolfi- Gogol’s Wife
Doris Lessing- The Habit of Loving
Mario Vargas Llosa- The Challenge
Naguib Mahfouz- The Conjurer Made Off with the Dish
Bernard Malamud- The Last Mohican
Gabriel Garcia Marquez- Eyes of a Blue Dog
William Maxwell- The Pilgrimage
Ian McEwan- First Love, Last Rites
Leonard Michaels- The Deal
Yukio Mishima- Patriotism
Alberto Moravia- Jewellery
Mohammed Mrabet- Doctor Safi
Vlamimir Nabokov- Spring in Fialta
R.K. Narayan- Naga
Joyce Carol Oates- The Tryst
Edna O’Brien- Sister Imelda
Flannery O’Connor- The Artificial Nigger
Frank O’Connor- A Set of Variations on a Borrowed Theme
Amos Oz- Nomad and Viper
Cynthia Ozick- The Suitcase
Grace Paley- The Contest
Cesare Pavese- Suicides
V.S. Pritchett- The Saint
James Purdy- Eventide
Alain Robbe-Grillet- The Replacement
Merce Rodoreda- Rain
Leon Rooke- In the Garden
Juan Rulfo- Talpa
Nathalie Sarraute-XXII
Isaac Bashevis Singer- Henne Fire
Susan Sontag- Unguided Tour
Jean Stafford- Children Are Bored on Sunday
Peter Taylor- A Friend and Protector
Michel Tournier- Death and the Maiden
William Trevor- Beyond the Pale
John Updike- Separating
Luisa Valenzula- I’m Your Horse in the Night
Euodora Welty- No Place for You, My Love
Patrick White- Five-Twenty
Tobias Wolff- Hunters in the Snow
Richard Wright- Big Black Good Man
Richard Yates- The Best of Everything