Friday, November 25, 2016
The Sunday Haul (on 20-11-2016)
The only way I learn about new authors and books is when someone mentions such writers and books in their own books, essays, or in reviews. Autobiographies by writers, and literary essays inevitably are gold mines for discovering new writers.
Sometime last week I began reading Alan Paton’s autobiography titled ‘Towards the Mountain.’ In it he mentions visiting Norway, the land of Knut Hamsun author of books like Pan, Victoria etc and who won the Nobel Prize. Paton wrote in a reverential tone about Knut Hamsun. I had read only once about Knut Hamsun somewhere else too but do not remember where. But I remember making a note of the name in one of my notebooks as a writer to watch out for.
Last Sunday at Abids I came across two titles by Knut Hamsun. But I picked up only one title and that was ‘Hunger’ that I got for fifty rupees. Later I felt I should have picked up the other title too. But I was glad I had picked up at least one Knut Hamsun title. I do not know when I will read it but when I do I hope I enjoy reading it.
The next book I found was a title by Alan Paton. Though I am yet to find his most famous title- Cry, Thy Beloved Country- that, curiously, I am unable to find at Abids. I found ‘Debbie Go Home’ that is a collection of ten short stories. In his autobiography- Towards the Mountain- he writes about some of the people he met while working in a reformatory, and how these characters became the basis for some of the short stories in ‘Debbie Go Home.’
It is quite rare to find a book on books, or on reading, or writing, at Abids. So when I find such a book it is an occasion to rejoice. My next find was a book that I almost missed spotting but somehow I saw it at the last moment. ‘The Wonderful World of Books’ edited by Alfred Stefferud contains seventy two articles under various headings such as Pleasures of Reading, Books are Friends, Reading More Effectively, Choosing and Using Books (which has an article called ‘Book Collecting’ by John T. Winterich) and also Writers and Publishers. Though it was published in 1953 it looks like an interesting read.
The other finds were another decent copy of Bruce Chatwin’s ‘Anatomy of Restlessness’ that I gave to a friend right after I found it. I found it in a heap of books and got it for only twenty rupees. The other find was a copy of ‘The Golden Guide to American Guns’ by Larry Koller. One reason I bought was the book appeared like an unusual book published in 1961. It had some good photographs of the classic guns of America. The other reason I bought it was different. I am working on a script that has something to do with a character knowing a lot about guns. I am unable to finish this script and I bought this book in the hope of kick-starting the script.
(Unable to upload photos of the book covers for some reason I am unable to comprehend)