Friday, December 18, 2015

The Sunday Haul (on 13-12-2015)

In a record of sorts the total number of books I’ve bought so far this year has crossed 200 compared to something less than a hundred books in the past couple of years. This means an average of four books a week. Almost all these 200 books have been bought at Abids on Sundays save a few I bought at second hand books stores and at sales of second hand books. There have been quite a few occasions when I have returned from Abids with more than five books. All of a sudden I find titles that I must not at any cost leave behind. Last Sunday was one such day when I found more than five books. To be exact, I found eight books that I bought without feeling guilty.
The first book I found was ‘Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair’ by Pablo Neruda that was a slim copy. The seller was one who usually quoted high prices for books that were thick. Since Neruda’s book was a slim one he asked for just thirty rupees after looking carefully at the front and the back cover for a long time as if it would tell him what it was worth. It had these poems: Body of a Woman/The Light Wraps You/Ah Vastness of Pines/The Morning is Full/ So That You Will Hear Me/I Remember You As You Were/Leaning Into The Afternoons/White Bee/Drunk With Pines/We Have Lost Even/Almost Out OF The Sky/Your Breast Is Enough/I Have Gone Marking/Every Day You Play/I Like For You To Be Still/In My Sky At Twilight/ Thinking, Tangling Shadows/Here I Love You/Girl Lithe and Tawny/Tonight I Can Write, and A Song of Despair.

My next find was a nice copy of ‘The Art of Loving’ by Erich Fromm that I got for just thirty rupees.
I love to read anything related to books whether it is books on writing books or publishing them or books related to publishers. A long time back I had found Bennett Cerf’s memoir ‘At Random’ that I bought without a second thought. Sometime back I found a nice copy of ‘Stet’ by Diana Athill in a pile of books at Abids. I had got it very cheap and I was quite ecstatic when I found it. Later I found another copy though not at such a cheap price but I was glad I had found it. Last Sunday in the same heap I found ‘Another Life’ by Michael Korda. It was a hardcover copy and in quite good condition. It was in a heap selling for just fifty rupees.
A long time back I had found a copy of ‘African Calliope’ by Edward Hoagland. Travel books are another of my weakness and I pick up every travelogue that I come across. I have travel books by writers like Paul Theroux, WG Sebald, Bruce Chatwin, Jan Morris, Pico Iyer, Ryszard Kapuscinski and other travel writers. I do not remember if I had read the copy of ‘African Calliope’ by Edward Hoagland that I have but I did not want to miss this copy. So I bought it even though I had a copy already.
There are a few titles of Robert B. Parker that I do not possess and when I saw a copy of ‘Walking Shadows’ by Robert B. Parker I snapped it up at once. I found this copy among a lot of crime fiction titles of the 50’s and 60’s that had quaint covers.
On the previous Sunday I had seen a copy of a book by an Indian publisher that claimed on the cover that it was banned. It was a copy of ‘Trapped’ by Narendrapal Singh which won the Sahitya Akademi award but was banned by the Punjab government for obscenity winning author. I did not feel like buying it for some reason and decided to give it the slip. But when I saw it again last Sunday I felt intrigued by the cover and decided to buy it since I was building up a collection of titles by Indian writers published in the early years of the previous century.
While reading books on screenwriting and other books related to movies I began to make a list of the movies mentioned in the hope that someday I would find the time to watch them. One of the movies in that list happened to be ‘The Manchurian Candidate.’ I had not expected to find the novel on which the movie was based and so when I saw it at Abids I decided to buy it. ‘The Manchurian Candidate’ is a movie based on the novel of the same name by Richard Condon, and features Denzel Washington. I hope to read the book some day and also get to watch the movie too.
I had read somewhere Stephen King mentioning ‘The Friends of Eddie Coyle’ by George V. Higgins as one of the best crime fiction titles that he had read. Since then I was on the lookout for it and sometime back I had found a book called ‘On Writing’ by George V. Higgins at a sale and had bought it. Last Sunday I saw a different title by George V. Higgins called ‘Outlaws’ and I picked it up thinking that if he had written a novel that Stephen King liked then anything he had written would be as good. I got this book for forty rupees only.

The Hyderabad Book Fair begins today and goes on for another ten days. From past experience I can say that I will end up buying not less than ten books in the Book Fair. I don’t even want to try to restrain myself from buying books because I always find good books at the Book Fair that I don’t want to miss.

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