Friday, October 28, 2016

The Sunday Haul (on 23-10-2016)

It turned out to be yet another lucky Sunday at Abids for me as I ended up with a nice haul. Since Diwali was just a week away it appeared unlikely that I’d find more booksellers on the pavements at Abids than had been there the previous Sunday since almost all the regular shops would be open. But the second hand booksellers were more or less at their usual places with only a couple of them setting up shop elsewhere. What marked this Sunday was the haul of four wonderful titles I found quite effortlessly.
Though I have managed to build a considerable collection of books on writing I owe it two titles for giving me the confidence to begin writing a novel. One is ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King and the other title is ‘The Summing Up’ by Somerset Maugham. I must have picked up about a dozen copies of these two titles over the past few years mostly at Abids. ‘The Summing Up’ opened my eyes to what it actually takes to be a writer, and it also taught me a lot about how and what writers think before they begin to write. It has had a huge influence on me. I think anyone who wants to be a writer must read ‘The Summing Up’ by Somerset Maugham before beginning to put pen to paper.

Anyway, last Sunday’s first find was a decent copy of ‘The Summing Up’ that I saw with a seller who I think is quite stupid because he likes to think that every title he has is worth a lot than what it really is. Surprisingly I managed to get this copy for just thirty rupees and the reason I think is that I was the first customer he had and usually those in the business of selling do not turn away a first customer.

It was a warm sunny morning last Sunday and as usual I sat with my friends, all of them considerably younger, in the café and talked for a long time about movies, books, and also potholes and the inordinately long time it was taking to repair them. After the chai and the talk we set out again like a pack of wolves going out on a hunt.
Autobiographies and memoirs, especially by writers and also those in the movie business, draw me like a magnet. Sometime last year, I had found Akira Kurosawa’s ‘Something Like an Autobiograpy’, his autobiography, obviously. This Sunday I spotted yet another autobiography by another big name in film- Ingmar Bergman. I spotted ‘The Magic Lantern’ on a shelf with a seller just outside the café we had stepped out of. I bought, without a second thought about the price which was a hundred and fifty rupees.
One VS Naipaul title that seemed elusive was ‘The Return of Eva Peron’ that I hadn’t been able to find anywhere since a long time. On Sunday I saw it with another seller on the Abids main road and asked for the price. I felt that the price was too high for Abids’ standards but too less for a Naipaul title but nevertheless I paid fifty rupees and took the book.
In a heap of books selling for only twenty rupees a book, and one that always contains some interesting finds I was surprised to find a copy of ‘The Ugliness of the Indian Male’ by Mukul Kesavan. I do not know how this title ended up in this heap but I decided to rescue it and added it to my haul. It has thirty seven essays on movies, reading, travel, and politics. A long time back I had found his ‘Secular Common Sense’ but haven’t read it. I hope to read these two titles one after the other very soon.

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