Friday, December 04, 2015

A Mid-week Haul and the Sunday Haul (on 29-11-2015)

If I step out of the house on a day that happens to be a holiday I can never return home without a handful of books. The Wednesday before this Wednesday it was a holiday for us in the government due to a local festival. Somehow I managed to be indoors all day until evening when I started to become restless. It was the sort of restlessness I feel when I have been away from a bookstore for too long. After I decided to drop in at a second- hand bookstore the restlessness seemed to abate a little.
An hour later I dropped in at the YMCA branch of Best Book Centre with the sole intention of only looking at all the books on the shelves. I hadn’t really meant to buy anything but when I saw a book with a beautiful cover I took it out of the shelf to take a good look. It turned out to be a nice copy of ‘New Writing in India’ edited by Adil Jussawala and I just wasn’t able to put it back. The cover was too good and what was inside was captivating. It was published in 1974 and has dozens of extracts from novels, poems most of which were translations from works by writers who are a virtual Who’s who of Indian writers. These include Qurrutulain Hyder, N.Pichamurty, Vinda Karandikar, Dhoomil, Gieve Patel, Nissim Ezekiel, MT Vasudevan Nair, Balachandra Nemade, OV Vijayan, Gyanranjan, P.Lankesh, Ashokamitran, Badal Sircar, Kishor Charan Das, Sandipan Chattopadhyay, Gajanan Madhav, Shrikant Varma, Shanmuga Subbaiah,, Baquar Mehdi, Suresh Joshi, Sunil Gangopadhyay, Balraj Manra, Nirmal Verma, Vilas Sarang, Madhu Rye, Gulam Muhammed Sheikh, Benoy Majumdar, Amrita Pritam, LP Bantleman, Arun Kolatkar, Dilip Chitre, Gopalakrishna Adiga, Akhtar -ul- Iman, Kamala Das, Ravji Patel, , Shakti Chattopadhyay, Arvind Krishna Mehrotra. There were writings from all languages except Telugu which was a disappointment since I am beginning to get interested in Telugu and Hindi literature.

I felt happy finding this wonderful book because I have been looking for something like it. Even though the price was hundred rupees I bought it because it highly unlikely to find this title again anywhere. I wouldn’t have known such a book existed had I not seen it last Wednesday. It is a welcome addition to my growing collection of books on Indian writing. A couple of weeks ago I found ‘English and the Indian Short Story,’ ‘Indian English Poetry since 1950-An Anthology’ ‘Six Acres and a Third’ ‘Chowringhee’ so finding ‘New Indian Writing’ has added fuel to the desire to read as much Indian writing as possible for me. Since the Hyderabad Book Fair is beginning from the 17th of this month I am planning to buy as many such books as I can find. I am already counting the days to the Hyderabad Book Fair.
Another find was a book I was looking for. I saw a nice copy of ‘The Spy Who Came In from the Cold’ by John Le Carre and decided to buy it since I am unable to locate the copy I had with me. I am rereading all books by Len Deighton and plan to read the Le Carre titles next. This book too was priced at hundred rupees which is a bit expensive since I can find it at Abids at much cheaper prices but I haven’t been able to find a good copy. I already have a nice hardcover copy of ‘The Little Drummer Girl’ and a copy of ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ that I plan to read one after the other very soon.
On Sunday at Abids I found ‘Room at the Top’ by John Braine. It was a Penguin edition and I couldn’t resist buying it. I got it for only thirty rupees. I saw on the cover that ‘Room at the Top’ had been made into a movie also. Later after I got home when I googled it I found that it had created a minor sensation when ‘Room at the Top’ was published. I also confirmed that John Braine was the same author who wrote the book on writing a novel. I do not know when I will get to read this book but I was glad I found it.

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