Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Sunday Haul (on 24-04-2016)

It was another heatwave Sunday but nevertheless I went to Abids to look for books. It was worth sweating it out in the hot sun since I found a couple of good titles. It was pretty hot on Sunday morning as I moved from seller to seller looking at the titles and trying to find books worth picking up. I found the first book worth buying not very long after I reached Abids. There’s a seller with whom I do not like to bargain since he quotes a price that he knows I can pay. I picked up a most interesting title that turned out to be a strange one. I picked up a book, a hardcover one, with a jacket that had the title- ‘Desi Khana: The Best of Indian Vegetarian Cooking’ by Tarla Dalal. The cover got me all excited and I was eager to buy this wonderful sounding cookbook. After I gave it to the seller to tell me its price he told me the book wasn’t what the jacket said. I took it back from him and checked. The jacket was of one book and the book inside was a different one. The book was actually ‘The Bombay Palace Cookbook: A Treasury of Indian Delights’ by Stendahl. It was a nice hardcover book with beautiful photographs of some mouth-watering dishes. I decided to take this unusual find paying Rs 70 that the seller quoted.

My second find turned out to be another cookbook, one that I already had. I found a good copy of ‘Made in India’by Kunal Vijayakar, a short, slim book containing a lot of recipes. The copy I had earlier picked up was had a torn and disfigured cover but I had bought it then as I did not want to miss it. I picked up the good copy I found and got it for just ten rupees.

There’s a seller who comes only occasionally to Abids but when he comes he brings some really good titles that he simply heaps on the pavement. It is quite a task to fish out titles worth buying from that pile of books. Looking through the books I managed to unearth a good copy of ‘Birds of America’ by Lorrie Moore. I was quite excited to find another title by Lorrie Moore not long after I had found my first Lorrie Moore title at the Best Books sale at YMCA in February. I had found ‘Self Help’ then and got it for just twenty five rupees. ‘Birds of America’ was in a heap of books that was Thirty rupees only. ‘Birds of America’ is a collection of twelve stories and these are the stories in it: Willing; Which is More Than I Can Say About Some People; Dance in America; Community Life; Agnes of Iowa; Charades; Four Calling Birds, Three French Hens; Beautiful Grade; What You Want to Do Fine; Real Estate; People Like That Are the Only People Here: Canonical Babbling in Peed Onk; Terrific Mother.
The next find turned out to be another collection of short stories but this was by a writer I had only read a lot about about quite recently. I found a copy of an old edition of ‘Birds and Other Stories’ by Intizar Husain. It too had twelve stories: Leaves; Tortoise; Repentance; Complete Knowledge; A Strange Animal; Man and Woman; Monkeys; The Story of the Parrot and the Mynah; The Brahmin Goat; The Boat; They Couldn’t Lick the Wall; and The One Eyed Dajjal. I sat in an Irani cafe on the way home the other day and read ‘They Couldn’t Lick the Wall’ that I found it totally different from all the stories I had read so far.

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