Friday, January 29, 2016

A Midweek Haul

The Sunday before the last Sunday by something I can only consider a miracle I got to visit the World Book Fair in New Delhi on the last day and also picked up six books. Last Sunday I left for Abids half eager and half-reluctant. As I had already picked up 17 books during the month I wanted to avoid adding more books that I inevitably buy at Abids. Fortunately I was able to avoid buying books though there was one title I now feel I should have bought. I had seen a nice copy of ‘Narcopolis’ by Jeet Thayil that I did not buy for some reason.

However, on Tuesday I was passing through the Sangeet circle and stopped at the make-shift second hand book stall at the place where once Sangeet theater stood. I thought I’d just look at the titles on the shelves just to satisfy my curiosity. But I ended up buying two books. Of late I have consciously begun to buy collections of short stories particularly those written by Indian writers, both in English as well as regional languages. At the World Book Fair in New Delhi one of the titles I had found was Bilal Tanweer’s ‘The Scatter Here is Too Great’ which is a collection of short stories. Last month at the Hyderabad Book Fair I had found a collection of short stories by Kalki Krishnamurthy.
At this make shift book stall near Sangeet I saw a collection of stories by Joginder Paul, a name I am not familiar with. These were English translations of the 17 stories originally in Urdu. Sukrita Paul Kumar and Naghma Zafir were the two translators in this fine collection published by National Book Trust. These were the seventeen stories: The Demon; Dera Baba Nanak; Back Lane; Green House; Ambush; Khodu Baba ka Maqbara; Without Graves; Harambe; Doves; The Spell; Looking Back; Dadiyan; The Migrant; The Dying Sun; Eighteen Adhyaye; Stick; A Flock of Birds.

A long time ago I had read ‘The Old Patagonian Express’ by Paul Theroux that I managed to find in the British Library. After a long search I found a hardcover copy of this title a couple of years back. I planned to read it again because it was a fascinating account of Paul Theroux’s journey through the Americas. I never did find the time to read this book a second time. I try to recommend it to people who ask me for suggestions. If I have spare copies of books that I want others to read I give it to them. This is one of the reasons why I buy multiple copies of the titles by authors I like.
I found a paper back copy of ‘The Old Patagonian Express’ by Paul Theroux in a shelf in this store near Sangeet. When the seller said he would give me both these books for a hundred rupees I bought them. TOPE was a good copy though the cover at the back had its edges torn away in an interesting pattern.

No comments: