Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Sunday Haul (on 19-06-2016)

As the month of Ramzan has already begun the shopkeepers in Hyderabad keep their shops open on Sundays also. Abids is no exception and since the stores selling shoes, dresses, etc that abound in Abids were open the second hand booksellers who occupy the pavements before this shops shift to other places. Not finding the regular booksellers at their usual places causes some sense of dislocation. Despite this dislocation I had the usual haul netting two books last Sunday at Abids.
It was a bit of luck that I spotted ‘In the Country of Men’ by Hisham Matar nestled in a pile of haphazardly arranged books with only the Penguin logo being visible. I usually do not miss out checking out Penguin titles so I extricated this book from the pile with some difficulty. I do not remember the titles but the name Hisham Matar was familiar as I had come across the name many times. I decided to buy this book and paid only forty rupees for this book in a good condition.
In the plant pathology classes at the agricultural college where I studied a long time back I read about the potato late blight disease that damaged the potato crop in Ireland completely and caused a famine that claimed millions of lives. At that time it was only a statistic, a fact useful only during examinations. I hadn’t realized the human dimension behind that tragedy and so when I came across a copy of ‘Famine’ by Liam O’ Flaherty I decided to check it out. The blurb on the front cover said it was ‘one of the greatest novels of this century’ and Anthony Burgess called it ‘a major achievement, a masterpiece’ which was enough to make me decide to buy it. It is, as classics go, a lengthy book of nearly 450 pages. But I am glad I found it and gladder still that I got it for only forty rupees.

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