Friday, May 22, 2015

The Sunday Haul (on 17-05-2015)

Since the past few weeks I’ve been seeing a nice copy of ‘All the King’s Men’ by Robert Pen Warren at Abids but have been hesitating to buy it. I was in two minds about it. One reason, a strong one, to buy it was that it was a brand new copy, and plus it was with a seller who would give it to me at any price I asked. The reason that put me off buying it was that it was quite a thick tome, somewhere around 660 pages of dense print that would take me weeks to finish if I ever decide to read it. All these days I have been able to resist the impulse to buy it but last Sunday I succumbed. I bought it for only fifty rupees which seemed to me to be peanuts for the beautiful copy I got.
But it did not take me long to decide on the second find. In a heap of books selling for only twenty rupees I saw Anita Desai’s ‘Bye Bye Blackbird.’ It was a nice copy which had all pages intact and unblemished. I did not need any reason not to pick it up.
My last find wasn’t at Abids but at Chikkadpally. I found ‘the Jaguar’s Smile’ by Salman Rushdie. This was a travelogue (about his journey to Nicaragua) something which I cannot resist buying and so I bought it paying only thirty rupees for it. It said ‘First Publication’ on the cover and when I looked inside I saw that it was published in 1987. I wonder if First Publication is the same as First Edition.
Another curious coincidence of the day’s haul was that ‘All the King’s Men’ had won the Pulitzer Prize and ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’ had won the Sahitya Akademi Award.

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Sunday Haul (on 10-05-2015)

I wouldn’t mind if I was told Abids would be the only place where I would be allowed to buy books. At Abids there are so many books that every Sunday I keep finding new writers. Last Sunday I came across a book by another writer whose name I faintly remember reading somewhere. The writer was Andre Brink and the book was ‘Imaginings of Sand’ that I got for fifty rupees.
The next find was not a book but the July-September 2014 issue of IQ (The Indian Quarterly) a classy magazine brought by the Mahindras that I hadn’t seen before. It was a thick, large magazine with high quality, glossy paper. Even the articles and photographs appeared high quality. I read a fantastic poem about poets titled ‘Bardic Stuff’ by Manohar Shetty. The essay by Amitava Kumar on writer Akhil Sharma (Family Life) was very good. I wonder why on earth this magazine is not available in Hyderabad. By the way, its price is 200 but I got it for thirty rupees at Abids. I wish I could find an older issue that was on writing.
Another find was ‘Show Me A Hero’ by Aditya Sudarshan. Aditya Sudarshan is a young writer who has attracted a lot of attention with his elegant writing. I’ve read two of the three novels he has written so far- The Persecution of Madhav Tripathi’ which is his latest novel and ‘A Nice Quiet Holiday’ which is his first novel. I had been looking for his second novel and finally I found it at Abids last Sunday. Incidentally, it was an article by Aditya Sudarshan in The Hindu’s “The Literary Review’ that I learnt about Arun Joshi and his novels.
On the way home, I stopped at the seller near RTC Cross Roads. The building at the corner was being demolished to make way for the Metro but the seller displayed his books amidst the rubble. I found a decent copy of ‘Aspects of the Novel’ by EM Forster. I already have two copies of this book at home but this copy looked better than the ones I had. Moreover, it was in a twenty-rupee heap so I picked it up without a second thought.

Friday, May 08, 2015

The Sunday Haul (on 08-05-2015)

Being in Hyderabad, in May, is like being in hell. Being outdoors, of course, is actually hell. I am lucky mine is a desk job which means I am never outdoors during the day. My job isn’t anything that requires me to be outdoors on working days. It would take a lot to persuade me to step out of the office during the day in the summer.

However, on Sundays, nothing can prevent me from going out in the hot sun. I actually look forward to step outdoors even if the temperature is close to 40 degrees. The thing is Sundays don’t feel the same to me if I do not go to Abids and look for books on the pavements. I had picked up close to fifteen books on my recent visits to Bengaluru and Goa and thought I would take it easy at Abids this Sunday. But when there are good titles lying around, it is impossible to resist buying them so I ended up buying just one book at Abids last Sunday.
Sometimes I pick up books based on the names of the authors alone. One such author whose name I found musical and unusual was Lisa St Aubin de Teran. I had picked up her ‘The Slow Train to Milan’ sometime last year or so. Though I haven’t read this first book of de Teran I picked up I read ‘Keepers of the House’ that I found at Abids quite recently. She is a wonderful writer and when I found ‘Memory Maps’ last Sunday at Abids I had to pick it up. It was a memoir, a genre I do not miss buying especially if they are by writers I like. I got the book for fifty rupees.

Friday, May 01, 2015

The Haul at Goa

Last Thursday until I read the papers in the evening I did not realize it was World Book Day. Normally reading the papers is the first thing I do in the morning like many others. But if you are holidaying in Goa then it becomes the last thing one does before going to bed. I realized it was quite a coincidence that earlier in the day I had picked up eight books in the second hand sections of two of Goa’s bookstores. Adding another two titles that I picked up in another store the next day the total haul of books I made at Goa was a jaw-dropping and wallet-emptying ten books. It was the highlight of my four day Goa trip bringing back two titles of poetry, three titles of fiction, three non-fiction titles, one short story collection and one travel title.
On my last trip to Goa sometime in 2013, I had managed to find a couple of second hand books at Broadway located in Candolim where we had stayed. On this trip too we were in Candolim so Broadway was my first target. I went straight to the second hand books section where the walls were lined with shelves crammed with hundreds of titles. There were shelves with books for 100 rupees and some shelves with books for fifty rupees. Without wasting time I began with the 100 rupee shelves. I scanned the rows and rows of titles eagerly expecting to find something interesting. My first find was ‘Love and Summer’ by William Trevor. I do not remember where I first read about William Trevor but after I read his ‘Felicia’s Journey’ that I found somewhere I realized he was a writer one wouldn’t want to miss reading.
The next find was ‘Where I Was From’ by Joan Didion about whom I do not have to say anything more other than that it would be a dumb guy who wouldn’t pick a Didion title after reading Slouching Towards Bethlehem, White Album, The Year of Magical Thinking etc all of which I have and read a few times already. I want to begin reading ‘Where I Was From’ as soon as I find the time. That this title was in the hundred rupee shelf came as a pleasant surprise.
In another hundred rupee shelf I saw ‘Beyond Good and Evil’ by Friedrich Nietzsche which was a Penguin title. I took a long time to decide whether to buy it or not. I have read titles in all genres-poetry, crime fiction, autobiography, even self-help, writing, but I haven’t had the courage to pick up a title of Philosophy. I am not someone with enough brains to grasp what all these philosophers have to say about life, death, suffering, and such depressing subjects. However, I thought it was a title I wouldn’t find anywhere again and after resolving to read this book one page a day I bought it.
I thought I’d find at least a couple of titles in the fifty rupee shelves but unfortunately I was able to find only one title good enough to buy. When I saw the title of the next book I found I felt one book was enough. It was another William Trevor title, this time a collection of short stories. It was ‘The News from Ireland’ which has the following twelve stories: The News from Ireland, On the Zattere, Lunch in Winter, The Property of Colette Nervi, Running Away, Cocktails at Doney’s, Bodily Secrets, Virgins, Her Mother’s Daughter, Music, Two More Gallants, The Wedding in the Garden. Incidentally, on my recent trip which was to Bengaluru, I had found ‘Elizabeth Alone’ by William Trevor. With these two Trevor titles that I found at Goa my collection of William Trevor titles goes up to six.

Feeling very upbeat about this haul of four books at Broadway I was able to find out where Literati was located. Before coming to Goa I had googled for second hand bookstores in Goa and learnt about Broadway, and Literati in Candolim, and Lotus Eaters in Anjuna. Literati was quite close by. I was able to locate it easily enough and after checking out the second hand book collection which was displayed in a small room I decided to return and look closely after having lunch. It is never a good idea to take along someone who doesn’t read books to a bookstore especially if you are on a vacation. So I had lunch with my friend, dropped him in the hotel to sleep off the heavy lunch, and returned to Literati.

‘Literati’ is part of a quaint house in the middle of a vast compound filled with greenery. It was unlike any bookstore that I had visited so far. I did not bother much about the new books section that filled an entire room that was quite large with sofas laid around a table in the middle. One could perhaps sit on the sofas and browse the books one intends to buy. It had the atmosphere of a cozy, homely bookstore and I loved it the moment I stepped inside.
In an adjoining room that was smaller there were scores of books, small and large, almost brand new to tattered volumes that looked like they were printed sometime in the 1900s. At first glance it looked like I wouldn’t find anything interesting. As usual, I was wrong. I do not know why but of late I have learnt not to let go of any collection of poetry I come across, especially if it is by an Indian poet belonging to an earlier generation. Limited though my knowledge is I think the 60’s and 70’s was the time when the best poetry was created in the country by the likes of Jayanta Mahapatra, Nissim Ezekiel, Adil Jussawala, Gieve Patel, and others. So when I saw this unusually sized copy of ‘The False Start’ by Jayanta Mahapatra I knew I had to buy it at any price. I was shocked when I learnt its price but more about the prices later.
The cover of ‘The False Start’ looked old, faded, with light stains on it, and the inside pages too had faded to a creamy yellow and if one was dumb then he would have found it appealing and tossed it aside. However, I decided to buy it especially after I read one of the poems titled ‘Poem for Angela Elston’ that was haunting. In all this collection had more than forty poems. To my luck, immediately below this volume was another collection of poems with a striking cover with a sun on it. This turned out to be ‘A Summer of Tigers’ by Keki N Daruwalla.
After I found these two collections of poetry I realized that this was a treasure trove that would yield more gems if I looked carefully. Sure enough I found another little gem. Even before I could look at the bright red cover I knew it was ‘Ex-Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader’ by Anne Fadiman. I knew it because I have a copy at home that occupies the pride of place on a shelf that not many get to see because the bookshelf in my bedroom. I had found this copy at Best Books in Hyderabad, a few years ago for just seventy five rupees. This find created an unusual excitement in me and I scanned the books eagerly like a greedy person looking for treasure. I spotted ‘Venice’ by Jan Morris, and added it to my pile of books that I managed to find at Literati.
On the wall was pasted a paper which was a sort of notice that said that all paperbacks in the second hand book section were uniformly priced at fifty rupees and all hardcovers were priced at 150 rupees. It meant that I had to pay only fifty rupees for the Anne Fadiman and Jan Morris title. It was a bargain. When it came to the Keki Daruwalla title which was a hardback the nice girl at the counter told the guy doing the billing to bring down the price to 100 first and then to seventy five. I was surprised and I hadn’t even told them I was from Hyderabad. When they said the Jayanta Mahapatra was mine for only ten rupees I realized why the Goans were such wonderful people. I do not think one could find ‘The False Start’ by Jayanta Mahapatra who is one of the greatest names in Indian English poetry, anywhere which makes it a rare book. I was so pleased with this find and the price at which I got all four books that I nominate ‘Literati’ in Goa as one of the best bookstores in the country. However, I learnt that The Lotus Eaters at Anjuna was supposed to have closed down so I did not bother to check it out.

Later in the evening I dropped in at ‘The Gift House’ which had a couple of bookshelves of used books. I found Rose Tremain’s ‘The Swimming Pool Season’ and Jonathan Coe’s ‘The Rain Before It Falls’ both which I got for hundred rupees each. Adding these two titles the total haul I made at Goa was a jaw dropping ten books. It was the highlight of my four-day trip to Goa.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Sunday Haul (on 19-04-2015)

The Sunday before last Sunday though I was in Bengaluru I wished I were in Hyderabad since I would be missing my Sunday visit to Abids. Even if I was in Hyderabad I would not have been able to go to Abids since, I learnt later, the heavens poured from the sky all Sunday in Hyderabad. I was glad I had picked up the five books at Bookworm and Blossoms the previous evening.
However last Sunday I could go to Abids. It has become such a habit that I do not feel the same if I haven’t been to Abids. The last time I was in Abids I noticed that there was fresh stock and I could find some good titles including William Saroyan’s ‘The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze’ that I got dirt cheap. This Sunday I found another collection of short stories by Saroyan. I found ‘Little Children’ that I got for thirty rupees. This collection has seventeen stories: Laughing Sam; The Sunday Zeppelin; Corduroy Pants; The Coldest Winter Since 1854; O Higher Accountancy, O Traffic Management; The Only Guy in Town; The First Day of School; The Man Who Got Fat; Around the World with General Grant; The Messenger; Many Miles Per Hour; The World’s Champion Elevator Operator; The Mexicans
This is the fourth William Saroyan title I have with me. A long ago I had found ‘Here Comes There Goes, You Know Who’ and sometime recently I found ‘My Name is Aram’ that I haven’t got around to reading. However I read one story (Laughing Sam) in the collection I found on Sunday. I plan to read the rest of the stories one a day.
I have about four or five books related to Hollywood. I have Pauline Kael’s ‘I Lost It All at the Movies,’ Syd Field’s ‘Going to the Movies,’ Manny Farber’s ‘Negative Space,’ and Barry Norman’s ‘And Why Not’ The next find was another Hollywood book that I found in a heap of almost brand new books selling for fifty rupees. I picked up Larry McMurtry’s ‘Film Flam’ which is a collection of essays on Hollywood. I noticed that many of the twenty one essays in it were related to screenwriting that somehow I like to read about.

I found in another heap of books selling for twenty rupees I found Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s ‘The Gulag Archipelago’ that I bought. Srikant took it saying he wanted to read it first so I let him.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

2015 Trips- Trip No. 1- In and Out of Bengaluru in 48 Hours

After a very long time the travel stars in my life shone briefly enough to let me go on a short trip to Bengaluru. My last visit to Bengaluru was sometime in 2013 I guess. Though Bengaluru has many charms the chief attraction it holds for me is the bunch of bookstores on MG Road where I have found many good titles on earlier visits. On my previous visit to Bengaluru I spent hours browsing in Blossoms, Select, Bookworms, and another store whose name I cannot recollect now and ended up buying about a dozen titles. It is enough to make me wish, almost pray, for a chance to visit the city. Last week this wish was granted when Hari asked me if I would come along in his car to Bengaluru.

After more than an eight-hour drive, driving at a sedate 80 kmph which Hari maintained, and with breaks for breakfast and lunch, we reached Bengaluru at around four in the afternoon. The weather was warm and sunny enough to put anyone in a good mood. However just before we reached Bengaluru I got some news on the phone that took all the excitement out of the trip. Later it improved a little after I went straight to the bookstores on MG Road and hauled in five books.

After picking up a book at Bookworm and before visiting Blossoms I sat in the India Coffee House and had a coffee and leafed through ‘Hunters in the Snow’. The coffee was nice but it did nothing to lift my moods that were down after I got the phone call. After spending a few minutes in Blossoms I noticed it was raining outside which further dampened my moods. I looked at the thousands of titles on the shelves with a desultoriness I do not usually experience in a bookstore. Even in that dark mood I managed to find a few titles worth buying. With the rain showing no sign of abating I realized that I wouldn’t be able to visit Select and the other store after I was finished at Blossoms. I decided to spend all the time at Blossoms and increase my chances of finding more books and so stayed put there. I found a few more titles and decided I had enough.

Clutching the precious haul of five books I stood near MG Road metro station waiting for Hari. Afterwards we waited in vain for a pre-paid autorickshaw. After a long wait we got one and got back to the hotel. It was still raining and it did not look like it would stop until the morning.

However it did not rain the next day. The next day, a Sunday, we decided to have ‘benne dosa’ at MTR which wasn’t very far from where we were staying. After a short wait outside, we were led to a table which we had to share with four other men. The waiter took a long time to appear. We had to sit for an even longer period for him to bring our order. There was no ‘benne dosa’ waiting for us at MTR. For the first time in my life I ate idli with the ‘saag’ that is normally eaten with puris. At least, it is eaten that way in Hyderabad. We were told that all the sambar in MTR is finished by eight in the morning and anyone who comes after eight is condemned to eat his idli/dosa/wada without sambar. So we had the dosa we ordered without the sambar which is like eating biryani without the salan. However we ended up eating ‘Chandrahaara’ which is a sweet dish that we ordered after the voluble Marwari guys sharing our table told us that it was available only on Sundays. It was wonderful and though we couldn’t have ‘benne dosa’ I was glad to have tasted ‘Chandrahaara’ which I plan to have on my next visit to Bengaluru.

On the way back we stopped at Anantapur for lunch. Luckily, we could locate the hotel (Sanman) where I had eaten lunch on a previous official trip sometime in 2006. We had ‘olige’ and jowar roti which are the local specialties. The lunch at Anantapur made the detour from the National highway worth it. After a short distance we came upon a crowd of onlookers, people from cars, trucks etc who got down to take a look at something on the road. It wasn’t difficult to guess that there had been an accident that had taken place only a few minutes earlier. From the expressions on the faces of the people returning back to their cars etc I knew it was a fatal accident and that someone had died. As we drove past slowly I saw the body of a man lying on the ground, a pool of blood under his head. Beside the body was an overturned SUV and a short distance away we saw another badly dented car with the inmates checking under the hood. The sight of the body put us in a grim mood and we drove quite slowly for a while.
Later we got caught in high winds that rocked the car a little so we took shelter in a Reliance outlet for a while until the wind had died down. Later we saw the hail, marble sized pieces of ice that lined the road. I wondered if the body that we saw had been covered or was still lying in the rain. But it did not deter me from doing something risky. Hari took a break from the driving and I took over. Despite being told not to go over 80 kmph I pushed the Hyundai i10 beyond 100 kmph. There were too many cars overtaking us and there was one whose driver gave me a contemptuous glance. I wanted to overtake him at least once and that made me go too fast. But just when I was thinking that I was doing great I heard a rattling sound coming from the front and felt the car wobble a bit. Luckily I was able to bring the car to a stop. The front right tyre was shredded to strips. The tyre had burst on the newly laid BT road. When I touched the tyre it was very hot.

We managed to change the tyre without getting swiped by the trucks and cars that sped past at great speed. We made it to Hyderabad in time to have dinner at home. It was such a brief trip I wondered the next morning if I had really made it to Bengaluru. But the sight of the book haul, the dull ache in the arms, and the memory of the taste of the ‘Chandrahaara’ at MTR that seemed to linger in the mouth confirmed that it was a real trip.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Bengaluru Haul

Though Bengaluru has many charms the chief attraction it holds for me is the bunch of bookstores on MG Road where I have found many titles on previous visits. On a previous visit to Bengaluru I spent hours browsing in Blossoms, Select, Bookworms, and another store whose name I cannot recollect now and ended up buying about a dozen titles. Last week I was again in Bengaluru after driving down from Hyderabad on Saturday morning. My sole purpose of this visit was to buy books.
Later after we reached Bengaluru late in the afternoon and after checking into a hotel, I went straight to Select first where I found ‘Hunters in the Snow’ by Tobias Wolff. I already have his ‘This Boy’s Life’ with me that I had long ago picked up at Abids on a whim. It was a memoir of his childhood but ‘Hunters in the Snow’ is a short story collection. I was glad I found it but I couldn’t buy a title by Jerzy Kosinski that I kept aside hoping to pick it up on the way home after visiting Blossoms.
Before visiting Blossoms I sat in the India Coffee House and had a coffee and leafed through ‘Hunters in the Snow.’ The coffee was nice but it did nothing to lift my moods that were down after I got a phone call just before we entered Bengaluru. After spending a few minutes in Blossoms I noticed it was raining outside which further dampened my moods. I looked at the thousands of titles on the shelves with a desultoriness I do not usually experience in a bookstore. Even in that dark mood I managed to find a few titles worth buying. The first book I picked up was Gertrude Stein’s ‘How to Write’ which appears to be a tough read from what I gathered after I glanced at a few pages at random.
With the rain showing no sign of abating I realized that I wouldn’t be able to visit Select and the other store after I was finished at Blossoms. I decided to spend all the time at Blossoms and increase my chances of finding more books and so stayed put there. My next find was ‘Hopes and Impediments’, a collection of essays by Chinua Achebe. I’ll buy anything by Chinua Achebe. I felt lucky finding this title which I got for Rs 130.
My next buy was a title by yet another writer whose writing makes me buy everything he has written so far. I found ‘Elizabeth Alone’ by William Trevor which is the third William Trevor title I have after ‘Felicia’s Journey’ and ‘The Story of Lucy Gault’ that I found sometime last year.
Though I already own ‘Dave Barry’s History of the Millenium So Far’ by Dave Barry, I bought a second copy that I saw at Blossoms because I wanted to come out of my gloom and nothing makes me laugh hard than books by the one and only Dave Barry. I returned from Bengaluru with these titles, feeling glad that my trip to Bengaluru was fruitful.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Sunday Haul (on 05-04-2005)

Once in a while, maybe every two months or so, I land a big haul of books at Abids. I have no idea why it happens but I seem to find several good titles, one after the other, on some Sundays. Last Sunday was one such day when I ended up with a grand haul of nine books. To top this haul I was also gifted a book which makes it a total of ten books. This was the first major haul in this year and I am happy at the variety of titles I was able to gather.
The Sunday before I had missed picking up Sandor Marai’s ‘Casanova in Balzano’ that I saw in a heap of books selling for twenty rupees only. The first thing I did on reaching Abids was rush towards that heap. Incredibly enough, the book was on the very top with the dark red cover standing out. I almost pounced on it as if afraid someone else would make a grab for the book. This was the first book of the extra-large haul.
A few minutes after I picked up Sandor Marai I got a call from Jai that he had come to Abids. We met at our usual chai joint where we usually spend about half hour drinking chai and catching up on the events of the week. When Jai took out a title and gave it to me I was surprised. It was OV Vijayan’s ‘The Legends of Khasak’ and a brand new copy at that. I had read so much about it that I was glad at last it came into my hands. Afterwards we began our search.
It wasn’t very long before I found my first title. It was a crime title, ‘Gallows View’ by Peter Robinson which I picked up on Jai’s recommendation. I hadn’t heard of this author but I had confidence in Jai’s choice so I picked it up since the price too was just twenty rupees.
The next find was another copy of ‘Get Shorty’ by Elmore Leonard that I got for only twenty rupees. The copy was in very good condition and since it was one of those titles I hate to leave behind I picked it up. I have a copy with the same cover with me that I had found long back. I must have picked up at least a dozen copies of this title that I gave away to friends. In the same heap I found Upton Sinclair’s ‘The Cup of Fury’ that wasn’t in a good condition because the spine was discolored. However the title sounded interesting and it seemed to be some kind of memoir of drinking.
Onwards we went looking at the titles laid out on the pavement. Sometimes there is a treasure of new titles and sometimes many old titles pervade. I saw a faded copy of William Saroyan’s ‘The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze.’ It looked like one of those copies published sometime in the 1920’s and though this copy too was not exactly in a pristine condition I bought it. William Saroyan is a master story teller famous for his short stories. These are the twenty five stories in it: Seventy Thousand Assyrians; Snake; Love, Death, Sacrifice and So Forth; ards; And Man; Seventeen; Laughter; War; Harry; A Curved Line; Big Valle1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8; The Earth, Day, Night, Self; The Man With the French Post C y Vineyard; A Cold Day; The Big Tree Coming; Dear Greta Garbo; The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze; Among the Lost; Three Stories; Aspirin is a Member of the NRA, Sleep in the Unheavenly Peace; Fight Your Own Power; Common Prayer; The Shepherd’s Daughter; Myself Upon the Earth.
A couple of weeks ago I had found an old copy of a collection of short stories titled ‘The Love Letter and Other Stories’ by Vaikkom Mohammed Basheer, the noted Malayam writer. It was an English translation of his short stories and the title was brought out by Sangam Books, based in, intriguingly enough, Hyderabad. On Sunday along with another copy of this same title I saw another collection of short stories but by a different writer. It was ‘Night & Other Stories’ by Abdulla Hussein and this book too was by Sangam Books. I had not heard of Abdulla Hussein before but I was interested in reading his short stories so I bought it for the twenty rupees that the seller wanted.
Later I read that Abdullah Hussein is the pen name of Muhammad Khan born in 1931, and in the early sixties wrote Udaas Naslain (Sad Generation) his first novel which was considered among the best written in Urdu and also won the Adamjee Prize for Literature. ‘Bagh’ was his second novel. Abdullah Hussein is equally well known for his short stories and novelettes. I was glad to have found this title by this wonderful writer. ‘Night & Other Stories’ actually has only three stories in all. ‘Night,’ ‘The Little Brook,’ and ‘The Sea’ which take up the 170 pages. These were translated from Urdu by Muhammad Umar Memon. Whatever, I want to begin reading these stories very soon.

Then, as if icing on the cake, at the end of the trip to Abids, at Chikkadpally, on the way I found three Tin Tin titles-‘Tintin in Tibet,’ ‘Tintin and the Picaros,’ and ‘Cigars of the Pharaoh’. I got these three almost brand new copies for fifty rupees each. This was a lucky find.

Friday, April 03, 2015

The Sunday Haul (on 29-03-2015)

When I came across the book ‘Conversations in Bolzano’ by Sándor Márai at Abids last Sunday I couldn’t immediately recollect where I had read the name recently. I wondered whether to buy it or not since I vaguely felt that I must be imagining having read the name. So I did not buy the book right away and left with a vague uneasiness that I was making a mistake. Later, after I got home I checked a book I had finished reading recently. It was JM Coetzee’s ‘Inner Workings-Essays 2000-2005’ and after I looked in the contents page I saw the name Sándor Márai. Coetzee had written a twenty page piece on Sándor Márai and his books including the one I missed buying at Abids. I did not regret much because I realized that there might be people in Hyderabad who may have read Sándor Márai’s books and in fact might be looking for his books but certainly they won’t be the sort to look for them at Abids. So I decided the book won’t go anywhere and that I would pick it up next Sunday.

Once again, in another coincidence, I came across another name I had read recently. Quite coincidentally I had been reading John Braine’s ‘Writing a Novel’ in which he mentioned Norman Podhoretz’s ‘Making It.’ I was pleasantly surprised when I saw ‘Making It’ at Abids and grabbed it without a second thought. This was one of the rare occasions when I found a title I had just read about somewhere. I got the book for fifty rupees which is not a very steep price for a title like this. ‘Making It’ joins several such memoirs on writing and publishing that I have managed to find over the years.
Another title I found was by one of the country’s most humorous writer- Sidin Vadukut. I already have all the four titles he has written including the three Dork titles. Last Sunday I found ‘God Save the Dork’, the second in the Dork series, a good copy I couldn’t resist buying because it was too damn cheap. The seller kept it in a heap of books being sold for only ten rupees. I don’t understand how the book found its way into that heap but I couldn’t resist buying it.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Sunday Haul ( on 22-03-2015)

A long time ago, I guess it was sometime in the late nineties, I came upon a title that opened a door to a genre I hadn’t until then been aware of. It was in the British Library that I found ‘Dark Star Safari’ by Paul Theroux that for some reason I decided to read. It was a lucky find because after reading ‘Dark Star Safari’ I decided to read more such books. Since then I got seriously hooked to travel fiction and it forms my first preference were I too choose between titles. However, luckily for me, not very long after reading ‘Dark Star Safari’ I found ‘Kingdom by the Sea’ which also I enjoyed reading.

Then I found Bruce Chatwin’s ‘What Am I Doing Here’ and after reading it became a life -long fan of Chatwin’s writing. Over the years I found his other books ‘In Patagonia’ ‘Utz’ 'Anatomy of Restlessness' 'Viceroy of Ouidah' and 'An Anatomy of Restlessness. However, I preferred his travel writing more than his fiction. So when I found his ‘On the Black Hill’ at Abids last Sunday I hesitated for some time. However, I hadn’t read anything by Chatwin for a long time and moreover hadn’t found any book the Sunday before so I decided to pick it up. It wasn’t very expensive also since the seller gave the book to me for only thirty rupees.
Normally I go to Abids on Sundays in the mornings only since I can return home for lunch and relax in the afternoon. Very rarely do I go in the afternoons and especially not in the summer when it becomes too hot to be in the open for very long. However, last Sunday due to some important commitment in the morning I had to visit Abids in the afternoon though it was quite hot. I was also alone and in the end I picked up just this title and returned home.