Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The 2015 Hyderabad Book Fair Haul- Part II of IV

After finding six good titles on the first day of the book fair I was eager to go back again the next day. I did not want to wait until it was time to leave the office in the evening before going to the book fair. So after lunch at two in the afternoon I asked for permission and left the office. I headed straight to the venue of the book fair which was not too far from the Secretariat. I planned to look around for a couple of hours until half past four and return to the office. It went according to plan except I hadn’t expected to return from the book fair on the second day with nine books. It was not only one of the biggest hauls I’ve made this year but also one of the best hauls containing some really fantastic titles I wouldn’t have found at Abids or anywhere else.
Sometime recently I read an article in Caravan by Anjum Hasan titled ‘Novel Renditions’which about English translations of some of the best known novels in Hindi written by famous names. I wrote down the list of these novels which is why I must have remembered some of them. One of the titles in this list was ‘Tyagpatra’ by Jainendra. I spotted it in one of the second hand book stalls that I had already visited on the first day. It did not take long for me to decide to buy it since anything that Anjum Hasan writes about is worth reading. I got this book for a hundred and fifty rupees.
Similarly, after I had found ‘Tears of Autumn’ by Charles Mccarry at Abids a couple of years ago I picked it up on a hunch and also read it soon after. I came across a list of six novels somewhere on the net described as little known novels that were extremely good. One of the titles on the list was ‘I Capture the Castle’ by Dodie Smith that I somehow remembered. I saw this same title in a section of children’s books in a stall of second hand book set up by someone from Mumbai. It was quite a thick tome running into more than five hundred pages. I wondered if it was children but picked it up anyhow since I was getting it for only a hundred rupees.
Another good author I discovered entirely by chance was Jayne Anne Phillips. Sometime in 2013 I guess I found her collection of short stories titled ‘Fast Lanes’ at Abids. I read it soon after and was completely enamored by the stories and as well as the author’s style. The stories were completely different from what I had read till then. Since then I have been looking for other titles by this author. Luckily, I found ‘Shelter’ which was a novel by Jayne Anne Phillips in one of the stalls selling second hand books. I did not waste any time thinking whether to buy it or not but simply bought it for a hundred and fifty rupees.
One author I’ve been looking forward to read is Anees Salim, especially after he won the Hindu Fiction prize last year. Though it wasn’t the title that got him the prize I found ‘Tales from a Vending Machine’ and got it for only hundred rupees. The book was in a good condition and appeared almost new. I felt lucky to have found an Anees Salim title at last.
In the same stall I saw a good copy of ‘Lolita’ by Vladimir Nabokov which was a nice Penguin copy that appeared almost brand new. I tried to recollect if I already owned a copy of this title and convinced that I did not own a copy. The seller was one of the guys who sells his wares at Abids and he wished me effusively as if seeing a long lost friend. I felt flattered by his attention and bought the book paying a hundred rupees for it.
At the next second hand book stall that I visited I found a hard-to-locate title- ‘All About H.Hatterr’ by G.V. Desani. It was a copy of the same edition that I had found quite recently. Though I already own three copies of Hatterr I wanted to buy this copy too. Iknnew I would spend a restless night if I did not buy it and would return the next day looking for it. So I spared myself all that agony and bought my fourth copy of ‘All About H. Hatterr’ by G.V. Desani. I also thought that it was high time I actually began reading it.
I’ve recently begun rereading the Len Deighton trilogies. I have almost finished reading the first trilogy- Berlin Game, Mexico Set, and London Match- with only a few pages of ‘London Match’ left to read. I plan to begin the first title in the next trilogy- Faith, Hope, and Charity that I have a complete set of. My only worry is that I might finish reading the second trilogy too before I find two titles in the last trilogy that are missing in my collection. I do not have ‘Spy Hook’ and ‘Spy Sinker’. I saw a hard cover copy of ‘Spy Sinker’ but it was an edition different from the Grafton Books editions that I had of all the titles in the three trilogies. Finally I realized it was more important for me to have all the titles so that I could finish reading all the trilogies rather than worry about matching copies of the same edition. Plus, it was coming cheap at just fifty rupees.
The budding screen writer inside me almost jumped with joy after spotting a title called ‘Secrets of Film Writing’ by Tom Lazarus. Finding it triggered an internal debate that went like this- Would buying this title really make me begin the script that I have been fiddling with since more than a decade? What if it contains the one piece of advice that I need badly to help me complete the script and one that I would miss learning if I do not buy this book? After a brief but obviously one sided debate I gave up and bought the book. Someday I will shut him up I told myself after shelling out a hundred rupees for the book that I hope will have some good advice that would help me finish the script for an action packed film that will have Puri Jagannath or VV Vinayak come running to me to beg for it.
After the turn of the budding screen writer it was the turn of the budding chef/cook inside me. I began another internal debate with him after spotting ‘Eating Indian’ by Chitrita Bannerjee. I was feeling hungry by then since it was more than two hours since I had been looking for books at the book fair and was craving for a cup of tea. I guess the hunger and the fact that this was a Penguin title settled the debate and I ended up buying this book. With this title I had picked up a total of nine books on my second visit to the book fair.

Tomorrow: The 2015 Hyderabad Book Fair Haul- Part III of IV

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