Monday, December 28, 2015

The 2015 Hyderabad Book Fair Haul- Part I of IV

If you are anything like me you probably will not swoon or faint if I tell you how many books I bought at the ten day Hyderabad Book Fair that ended on Sunday. If there is anything that’ll make me go out of control it is books. Then if there is anything that will make me go totally out of control then it is book fair. The problem with book fairs is that book lovers like me cannot get enough. Nnot only do they happen only once a year, there are too many stalls and they go on for nearly ten days which makes it impossible for someone like me to buy just one or two books. I ended up buying a total of 24 books, all of them second hand, by the way.
Though I’ve been to almost all the Book Fair held in Hyderabad every year I always get excited when the dates of the year’s book fair are announced. More than a month ago I read that bout the dates of the 29th Hyderabad Book Fair in the newspapers. Since then I had been counting the ays to the day when the Book Fair was supposed to begin on 18th of December. As is my habit I was there at the book fair in the NTR Stadium on the very first day. I land there on the first day in the hope of finding some good second hand books before the eager hordes descend. However I was surprised to find that the hordes had already descended by the time I reached the book fair around six in the evening.

I was surprised at the huge crowd that had come on the first day itself which was a bit unusual since on the inaugural day nobody bothers to turn up. I had a lot of difficulty moving around I the stalls craning my neck this way and that way to look at the titles of the books arranged in a haphazard manner. Then at the second or the third secondhand book stall I entered I found the first of the treasure trove I managed to dig up over the six visits I made to the book fair. On my first visit on the first day I managed to find six wonderful titles.

The first book I found was ‘Kalki- Selected Stories’ translated by Gowri Ramnarayan. Frankly, I hadn’t heard of Kalki R. Krishnamurthy until I picked this book after I saw the Penguin imprint. I read inside that Kalki R. Krishnamurthy was a pioneer of modern Tamil literature and is best known for his historical fiction in Tamil, a genre in which he remains unsurpassed. He was also the editor of the Tamil weekly, Ananda Vikatan. Following my resolve to read as much regional literature as possible I picked up this collection that has a dozen stories: The Letter; The Poison Cure; The Rebirth of Srikanthan; The Governor’s Visit; Rural Fantasy; The Tiger King; Sivakozhundu of Tiruvazhundur; The Big Swelling Sea; The S.S. Menaka; The Ruined Fort; Veenai Bhavani; and Madatevan’s Spring.
At another stall I found another titles that I had only heard about a long back. It was ‘The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao’ by Junot Diaz. This book too did not come cheap and I hesitated for a long time about spending another hundred and fifty rupees on this book. I thought that since I had not come across this title at Abids all these years it was unlikely that I would find it in the future. It was in good condition and even had a book mark inside so I bought it.
I went in the next second hand book stall not really expecting that I would find a book that I was really desperately looking for ever since I heard the author’s name. I had heard about ‘Get Carter’ by Ted Lewis a couple of years back and by a stroke of luck I had found its screenplay. Later Uma gifted the actual novel ‘Get Carter’ on my birthday last year. I was happy but I fantasized about finding a title by Ted Lewis at Abids or somewhere at a second hand book store. That fantasy came true when I happened to look down a crazily arranged bookshelf, and saw at the very bottom the title ‘Jack Carter and the Mafia Pigeon’ by Ted Lewis. I felt a thrill run up my spine and goosebumps on my skin as I slowly retrieved the book. I checked it carefully and found that it was in pretty good condition with all pages intact. Stamped on several pages indicated that this copy was from ‘Reader’s Corner’ Napean Road, Bombay. I wondered how much the guy would ask and expected the price to be about two hundred rupees or so. I nearly fainted when the seller asked for just fifty rupees. In all my twenty five years or so of book hunting I never felt so happy as on that day finding a Ted Lewis title at last.
My streak of luck did not end and was only just beginning. I have always dreamt of writing a script for a blockbuster action movie that would make me rich beyond imagination. That dream is what has make me buy more than a dozen books on script writing. However I am yet to finish the script that I had started almost a decade ago. Just a couple of weeks ago I had found a book that had four screenplays of Woody Allen. I was very thrilled to find Ingmar Bergman’s autobiography, ‘The Magic Lantern’ at the next stall I visited. I grabbed it and greedily looked at the books displayed if there were any more such titles. I was stunned to find ‘Making Movies’ by Sidney Lumet in the same stack. I paid three hundred for these two books.
The last title I found was ‘Writers on Writing’ by Alison Gibs that I saw at the last second hand book stall that I decided to check out before calling it a day. This book had ten top writers sharing their writing experiences and how they dealt with the various steps that go into their writing. There’s Jeffrey Archer, Beryl Bainbridge, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Frederick Forsyth, James Herbert, Elizabeth Jane Howard, P.D. James, Wendy Perriam, Craig Thomas, and Fay Weldon featured in this wonderful book that I got for only hundred rupees.

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