Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Sunday Haul (on 22-11-2015)

Not surprisingly it is on days that I make a firmer-than-usual resolve not to buy any book on my trip to Abids on Sundays that I end up buying more than the usual couple of books I invariably buy at Abids. Last Sunday this was what happened after I landed at Abids with this resolve in mind. The first book was one I didn’t really have to buy but I bought it. We don’t keep pets at home nor am I overtly fond of dogs. Though I have had a scary encounter with a huge dog at Port Blair almost a decade ago I am kindly disposed towards dogs in general. However, watching Cesar Millan’s show on TLC in which he talks about dog psychology made me more interested in dogs. My son loves dogs and is aching for a pet dog since he was a small kid it hasn’t been possible to get a pet for some reasons. Anyway, on Sunday I saw a nice copy of ‘Cesar’s Way’ that I immediately picked up. I got it for only fifty rupees.
The next book I found was ‘Chowringhee’ by Sankar that I almost grabbed off the pavement. It was a beautiful Penguin edition and I was getting it for fifty rupees only. Sometime last year I had bought Sankar’s ‘Middleman’ and after reading it had been looking for more books by Sankar. The translation was done by the well-known writer Arunava Sinha and I was glad I found this book. I am looking forward to begin reading it sometime soon. This was one buy I am not going to regret.
The next find was a book I read was flying off the shelves after the recent incidents in Paris. I have a copy of ‘A Moveable Feast’ by Ernest Hemingway that I had picked up a long time ago somewhere. I do not remember where the copy is but when I saw another copy of ‘A Moveable Feast’ I decided to buy it. It is a slim book of not more than 126 pages but cost me a little more than what I usually pay. I got it for sixty rupees and it was worth it because the copy was quite good though inside some of the pages appeared to be stained. It is one of the few books I am planning to read next after I finish the lot I am currently reading.
On the way back home I stopped at one of the three sellers and immediately found another couple of wonderful books both incidentally linked to movies. I found ‘Four Films of Woody Allen’ that I took out to see if it was in a good condition because I had made up my mind to buy it. It was in an excellent condition and my next fear was what the seller would ask. I had guessed at the price which he would quote but I was pleasantly surprised when he asked for one third of the price I had in mind. I got this book containing screenplays of four of Woody Allen’s films (Annie Hall, Interiors, Manhattan, and Stardust Memories) for just seventy five rupees.
The other book that I got at the same price was ‘Stephen King Goes To the Movies’ which was a book containing six books by Stephen King that were made into movies. There’s an introduction by King before each story telling us something about how he came to write the story and how and what liked in the movie version. The stories in this book are: 1408, The Mangler, Hearts in Atlantis, The Shawshank Redemption, Children of the Corn. This is another whopper of a book that is thicker than a brick. But I am glad I found these two books in addition to the three books I found at Abids.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Sunday Haul (on 15-11-2015)

Normally titles in current bestseller lists do not appeal to me as much as those belonging to an earlier era and hence do not find a place on my bookshelves unless I read some terrific reviews by critics I follow. Even then I do not rush to buy them and tend to wait until second hand copies appear. Sometimes it is a short wait but strangely it is difficult to find second hand copies of some titles that many people talk about. I had heard of ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn but had not felt any urge to buy and read it. I wasn’t really interested in reading though I have been told that the book had been made into a movie also.
But last Sunday when I saw an almost brand new copy of ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn I thought it wouldn’t be such a bright idea to let go of it. After some really hard bargaining I managed to get it for a hundred and fifty rupees though the seller asked for two hundred and fifty rupees for it. It was a nice copy that looked new and did not have any name or signature or any kind of blemish on it. I felt glad about its appearance but when I saw a second copy with another seller I wondered if I had paid too much for it. I should not have been so hasty I thought. But since I had already bought there was no point in regretting the purchase.
My search for the missing titles in the three trilogies of Len Deighton almost ended after I found two more titles in the second trilogy of Faith, Hope, and Charity. I found copies of both Hope, and Charity at the same seller which was a happy accident. I got these two titles for sixty rupees which made me feel that I have really arrived as a hard bargainer. The seller had asked for sixty rupees for each title but I got away buying them for half the price. Now I have all the titles in the Game, Set, Match and the Faith, Hope, and Charity trilogies. I need to find only Line, and Sinker in the Hook, Line, and Sinker trilogy. I hope to find them by the time I finish reading the first two trilogies.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Sunday Haul (on 08-11-2015)

There are a few writers I am obsessed with and Arun Joshi happens to be one of them. I have all of his titles except for ‘The Survivors’ which is proving to be elusive. I have found ‘The Foreigner’ ‘The Apprentice’ ‘The Last Labyrinth’ ‘The City and The River’ and also ‘The Strange Case of Billy Biswas’ and I have read all of them. Of all these titles ‘The City and The River’ is my least favourite novel by Arun Joshi. Somehow I did not like it as much as I liked his other titles. However, whenever I come across any of these titles I make it a point to pick them up. In this manner I have gathered multiple copies of all the above titles except ‘The City and The River’ of which I had only one copy. Last Sunday I found another copy.
Because Diwali was only a day away the shops at Abids were open on Sunday which meant that the sellers of second hand books on the pavements at Abids were not at their usual places. However, some of them who have their regular places not on pavements before the stores were there at their usual places. It was at one such seller who has his regular spot near the GPO that I saw ‘The City and The River’ by Arun Joshi. I was thrilled to find that it was an original edition published in 2000. It was a hardcover copy with the jacket intact. However it was not in a pristine condition and there was some damage on the front as well as at the back though the pages inside were intact. I did not think the damage in no way affected the value of the book so I picked it up. I got it for just sixty rupees.

The only title by Arun Joshi that I do not have is his short story collection- The Survivors. It is proving to be elusive though I have my eyes peeled for it and hungrily look for it wherever I go. I am sure I will find it at Abids itself because it was at Abids that I have found all the copies of Arun Joshi’s novels apart from the copies I bought at second hand bookstores in Hyderabad and elsewhere.

Friday, November 06, 2015

The Sunday Haul (on 01-11-2015)

A couple of days ago I met a young bibliophile in Hyderabad who had read my blog and wanted to talk to me. During the course of the conversation which centred mostly on books by Indian authors I mentioned that I had been looking for books by Fakir Mohan Senapati. I had told him that I wasn’t able to find anything by Senapati till date. That was Tuesday I guess when I met this young man, and yesterday when I dropped in at the MR Book store at Punjagutta I saw ‘Six Acres and a Third’ by Fakir Mohan Senapati in one of the hundreds of books laid out on a table. I was delighted when I took it out of the pile and saw that it was a Penguin imprint. Though the price was two hundred rupees I did not want to leave it behind because I know it would be impossible to find this title at Abids in the near future.
This wasn’t the only book I found last week. On Sunday at Abids I found two more wonderful books. A considerable space in my bookshelves is filled with memoirs and autobiographies by well known writers. I somehow cannot resist buying such titles and the reason could be that I hope to find some bit of writing knowledge in their books that would help me become a better writer and help me complete my novel that I have been working at since more than a decade. On Sunday I found another such title by a writer whose books I had read a lot when I was young. I found ‘The Other Side of Me’ by Sidney Sheldon’ which was a hardcover copy though there were some moisture stains in some pages. On the whole it was in quite good condition and so I bought it. The seller asked for just fifty rupees for it which I paid him gladly.
It wasn’t at Abids that I found the second book but at Chikkadpally on the way home. I have a considerable number of titles on India and its recent past that have been written extensively on by writers like Sunil Khilnani, Pavan K. Varma, Shashi Tharoor and so on. For a long time I had been looking for something by Ramachandra Guha who writes intelligently on a lot of things happening in India and also about the country’s past. Luckily I saw his ‘India after Gandhi’ that turned out to be one big tome running into more than seven hundred pages. The size of the book was intimidating and I hesitated for a long time wondering whether I would be able to read a book of that size and length. For the first time the price wasn’t the deciding factor but the length of the book. Finally I decided to buy it since it was almost brand new and for the price at which I was getting it the deal was a steal.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Sunday Haul (on 25-10-2015)

Another Sunday. Another visit to Abids. Another haul of a few books. It all sounds predictable and monotonous but believe me I am never more excited than when I am starting for Abids on Sunday morning. Before stepping out I wonder what I will find at Abids and how many books I will buy there. Last Sunday once again I found three titles one of which was a title I already have four or five copies of. Another title was a travelogue and the other one was a poetry collection.
It was a lovely morning last Sunday with a post-festival feeling coupled with the hangover of a week-long holiday spell that we in the Government here enjoyed. The first book I saw was ‘The Healing Land’ by Rupert Isaacson that I picked up. On the cover was the picture of the lead character in the popular movie- The Gods Must Be Crazy. It looked like an interesting title and moreover it was a travel title that I do not miss reading. I got the book for forty rupees.
It is not unusual to find books for ten rupees at Abids. Until a couple of years one could get good titles for five rupees. But it is not usual to find a brand new title, that too one by a popular writer, for just ten rupees. When I heard the seller say ‘Ten rupees’ after I asked him how much the copy of ‘Neglected Poems’ by Gulzar I picked up was I was shocked. It was a brand new copy in pristine condition and in fact it looked like a copy that looked like it had come straight from the shelf in a book store. I saw that the original price was Rs 250 but I was getting it for only ten rupees. Needlessly to say, I bought it.
The next find was an interesting find. Sometime back I learnt about the little known writer Arun Joshi who has written some interesting novels. I am a big fan of Arun Joshi and I endeavor to tell as many people as possible about his books and if they appear interested I give them copies of books by Arun Joshi. So far I have bought about half a dozen or more copies of ‘The Apprentice’ and also ‘The Foreigner’ that I saw at Abids and other places. Last Sunday I spotted another copy of ‘The Apprentice’ that I snapped up the moment I saw it.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Sunday Haul (on 18-10-2015)

I seem to be getting luckier by the week. Since the past few Sundays I’ve been finding at least one wonderful title on my Sunday hunts for books on the pavements of Abids. Last Sunday it was Akira Kurosawa’s autobiography, the Sunday before that it was ‘The Rachel Papers’ by Martin Amis and three other titles, and earlier than that at the Best Books sale last month I found many more good titles. It is as if it’s guaranteed that I’d find at least one good title every time I visit Abids. It may sound a bit farfetched but it is true. Last Sunday I found not one but two wonderful titles all in the space of sixty seconds.
A long time ago, nearly thirty years back, someone gave me a copy of ‘Silent Spring’ by Rachel Carson that I misplaced somewhere and never saw it again. It must be somewhere in a forgotten carton in a corner of the house but I never got around to looking for it. This was one title I was looking for desperately ever since but though I found three copies of ‘All About H.Hatterr’ by G.V. Desani I couldn’t find a single copy of ‘Silent Spring’ by Rachel Carson. But last Sunday in an unbelievable stroke of luck I came across a nice copy of this title along with another title that I bought in a flash. I got this book for just fifty rupees. I happen to be an Agricultural Entomologist and I know how important ‘Silent Spring’ is in these times when just about everything is being poisoned by the indiscriminate use of pesticides that we do not need.
The other title I found at the same time was ‘Groucho & Me’ which is the autobiography of Groucho Marx. Sometime back I had found another Groucho Marx title that I do not remember very clearly but it was not in such a good condition. However, this copy was in excellent shape and I got it for just fifty rupees which is peanuts for such a good title. I am impatient to begin reading it as soon as I finish the ones I am reading right now.
These weren’t the only book I found at Abids last Sunday. I found another title I had been searching for. I came across a decent copy of ‘The Power and the Glory’ by Graham Greene. I found it in a stack of books being sold for thirty rupees each. No sooner had I spotted it than I grabbed it because it was a nice Penguin edition that I did not want to miss it at any cost. This was a wonderful find and it put me in a good mood for the rest of the day. I am already wondering what I will find next Sunday at Abids.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Sunday Haul (on 11-10-2015)

Though the festival season of Dasara and Diwali is less than a fortnight away the shops at Abids were closed on Sunday allowing the pavement book sellers to put up their shelves. I was glad that most of the booksellers were at their usual places. In the couple of hours I spent browsing alone I found four good titles. Every Sunday I am finding at least two good titles to take home. I have bought so many books till date this year that I have stopped counting.

I do not watch movies but I like to buy books related to movies such as autobiographies of actors, collection of movie reviews, scriptwriting books, and so on. It may sound unbelievable but I have not watched any movie by Akira Kurosawa. It is a matter of great embarrassment to be confessing this fact. I don’t understand why I haven’t tried to watch Akira Kurosawa’s movies but it fills me with regret now. I have made up my mind to get hold of his movies. When I saw a beautiful copy of ‘Something Like an Autobiography’ by Akira Kurosawa I grabbed it. I did not hesitate even when the seller told me it would cost me two hundred rupees. I was willing to pay any price for it so I paid up and took it.
The next title I found at Abids was an interesting one by an interesting person. I had read about Chris Kyle, the movie on him, and also about how he was murdered. I did not watch the movie ‘American Sniper’ when it ran here sometime recently but when I saw the book ‘American Sniper’ based on which the movie was made I took it. I was interested in knowing about Chris Kyle and I hope to learn something about this fascinating personality. I bought this almost brand new copy for just fifty rupees. It looks like an easy read and I am planning to finish it one of these days.
Last Sunday I found a nice copy of Woody Allen’s ‘Getting Even’ that I got for thirty rupees. This Sunday I found his ‘Side Effects’ that I got for thirty rupees again. It was a nice copy and I am glad I found it. I also found a copy of ‘The 5th Penguin Book of Sunday Times Crosswords’ that I got for fifty rupees. One of my younger brothers is a major crossword buff and was in the Top 10 in Indian Crossword League, an annual competition for crossword solvers. I too am interested in solving crosswords but am not such an addict as my brother is. Though I may not be able to match him I bought this book for the same reason I cannot let go of any book on books, reading, writing, and also pens.

Friday, October 09, 2015

The Sunday Haul (on 4-10-2015)

Last Sunday I was at Abids to search for titles worth picking up from the thousands of books laid out on the pavements which is like heaven for book lovers like me. Maybe because I was alone I managed to find five good titles. Of these five titles three were copies of books I already have. Somehow I find it very difficult to avoid buying more copies of books that I have in my collection. One reason is that they are hard to find and hence whenever I come across extra copies I buy them up. About one tenth of my book collection is made of multiple copies of the same titles.
Of late I am finding collections of short stores and also verse especially of our (Indian) writers of an earlier generation. I had found an anthology of verse sometime back and this Sunday again I found another anthology edited by Vilas Sarang. It has poems by some familiar names like Nissim Ezekiel, Jayanta Mahapatra, A.K. Ramanujam, Arun Kolatkar, Keki N. Daruwalla, Dom Moraes, Dilip Chitre, Eunice de Souza, Adil Jussawala, Gieve Patel, etc. I am absolutely delighted that I found this little gem.
About two or three Sundays back I had seen a copy of ‘All is Burning’ by Sri Lankan writer Jean Arasanayagam on a shelf with a seller on the pavement. It was a bound copy but it was not in a good condition so I did not feel like buying it though I was aware I may not be able to find it again. I saw it again the next Sunday at the same place but I did not buy it. Last Sunday however I gave in and bought it for just fifty rupees. It has nineteen stories: The Journey, I am an Innocent Man, Elysium, Time the Destroyer, The Mutants, Man Without a Mask, From Distant Ophir, The Golden Apples of the Hesperides, All is Burning, The Sand Serpents, The Innocents of the World, Prayers to Kali, Fragments from a Journey, A Fistful of Wind, Bali, A Husband Like Shiva, ‘I Will Life Up Mine Eyes,’ Two Women and an Apple, Fear: Meditation in a Camp.
I’ve managed to pick up all the copies of ‘Mandingo’ by Kyle Onstott that I’ve come across after reading it somewhere. So far I have found two copies, both with the same cover and when I saw a different edition with a different cover last Sunday at Abids I bought it. It was in a heap of books being sold for twenty rupees and I was glad I got my third copy of ‘Mandingo’ that cheap.
Another find was a second copy of Martin Amis’ ‘The Rachel Papers’ that I once again got for cheap at just twenty rupees. It was in a good condition and I was quite glad I found it. I had bought my first copy of this title quite a long time back, maybe five or six years ago. I must have written about finding it on this blog.
Another title I got at the same price of twenty rupees was ‘Without Feathers’ by Woody Allen. This was a good copy and my third or fourth copy. I wouldn’t leave behind anything by Woody Allen that I find anywhere.

Friday, October 02, 2015

A Midweek Haul

Last Sunday I did not go to Abids due to the Ganesh procession and the consequent traffic restrictions. A couple of years ago the immersion fell on a Sunday and somehow I went to Abids but was disappointed that no bookseller had turned up. I had to return empty handed. Since I experience a kind of withdrawal symptoms if I do not get my weekly fix of books at the Abids Sunday book bazaar I took adequate precautions. During the week I dropped in at two bookstores and ended up buying two good books that were coincidentally about short stories.
Sometime on Wednesday or Thursday I went to the Best Book Centre branch at Abids. There were a lot of books I wanted to buy but in the end I bought just one book. I found ‘English and the Indian Short Story’ edited by Mohan Ramanan and P.Sailaja. Inside it is written that the book is the result of a National Seminar on’English and the Indian Short Story’ held in August 1994 at the Department of English, University of Hyderabad. Though this is an academic book on the short story, needless to say, I bought it to find out what it has to say on the short story in India. Another reason that I bought this book was the first article in it by Ashokamitran titled ‘My Writing, My Times’ that I read standing in the store. He happens to be one of my favorite writers and I don’t miss anything by him that I find.
Again on Saturday I dropped in at was the Unique bookstore at Lakdikapul. I found a treasure of short stories in the form of a hefty volume titled ‘The Art of the Tale- An International Anthology of Short Stories’ edited by Daniel Halpern. This wonderful volume contains eighty two short stories by some well-known writers and also by writers I haven’t heard about before. There were some writers like Mavis Gallant I had been looking for and at last I managed to find one short story by her in this volume. This is the list of the eighty two stories and the writers in this book that I got for two hundred and fifty rupees.

Chinua Achebe -The Sacrificial Egg
Ilse Aichinger -The Bound Man
Vasily Aksenov - Little Whale, Varnisher of Reality
Margaret Atwood- Hair Jewellery
Ingeborg Bachmann- Everything
James Baldwin- Going to Meet the Man
Russell Banks- The Child Screams and Looks Back at You
Donald Barthelme- Cortes and Montezuma
Ann Beattie- Jacklighting
Samuel Beckett- First Love
Heinrich Boll- Action Will Be Taken
Wolfgang Borchert- Do Stay, Giraffe
Jorge Luis Borges- The Aleph
Tadeusz Borowski- This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen
Abdeslam Boulaich- Cowardice
Paul Bowles- A Distant Episode
T. Coraghessan Boyle- Greasy Lake
Harold Brodkey- Ceil
Dino Buzatti, -Seven Floors
Italo Calvino- The Adventure of a Traveler
Albert Camus- The Adulterous Woman
Truman Capote- Children on their Birthdays
Raymond Carver- Fat
John Cheever- The Country Husband
Robert Coover- Quenby, and Ola, Swede and Carl
Julio Cortazar- Bestiary
Guy Davenport- The Haile Selassie Funeral Train
Isak Dinesen- The Cloak
E.L. Doctorow- The Hunter
Stanley Elkin- I Look Out for Ed Wolfe
Richard Wolfe- Communist
Carlos Fuentes- The Doll Queen
Mavis Gallant- The Chosen Husband
William Gass- Order of Insects
Natalia Ginzburg- The Mother
Nadine Gordimer- The Life of the Imagination
Graham Greene- Two Gentle People
Wolfgang Hildesheimer- Why I Transformed Myself into a Nightingale
Yasunari Kawabata- One Arm
Milan Kundera- Let the Old People Make Room for the Dead
Tommaso Landolfi- Gogol’s Wife
Doris Lessing- The Habit of Loving
Mario Vargas Llosa- The Challenge
Naguib Mahfouz- The Conjurer Made Off with the Dish
Bernard Malamud- The Last Mohican
Gabriel Garcia Marquez- Eyes of a Blue Dog
William Maxwell- The Pilgrimage
Ian McEwan- First Love, Last Rites
Leonard Michaels- The Deal
Yukio Mishima- Patriotism
Alberto Moravia- Jewellery
Mohammed Mrabet- Doctor Safi
Vlamimir Nabokov- Spring in Fialta
R.K. Narayan- Naga
Joyce Carol Oates- The Tryst
Edna O’Brien- Sister Imelda
Flannery O’Connor- The Artificial Nigger
Frank O’Connor- A Set of Variations on a Borrowed Theme
Amos Oz- Nomad and Viper
Cynthia Ozick- The Suitcase
Grace Paley- The Contest
Cesare Pavese- Suicides
V.S. Pritchett- The Saint
James Purdy- Eventide
Alain Robbe-Grillet- The Replacement
Merce Rodoreda- Rain
Leon Rooke- In the Garden
Juan Rulfo- Talpa
Nathalie Sarraute-XXII
Isaac Bashevis Singer- Henne Fire
Susan Sontag- Unguided Tour
Jean Stafford- Children Are Bored on Sunday
Peter Taylor- A Friend and Protector
Michel Tournier- Death and the Maiden
William Trevor- Beyond the Pale
John Updike- Separating
Luisa Valenzula- I’m Your Horse in the Night
Euodora Welty- No Place for You, My Love
Patrick White- Five-Twenty
Tobias Wolff- Hunters in the Snow
Richard Wright- Big Black Good Man
Richard Yates- The Best of Everything

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Sunday Haul (on 20-09-2015)

Unlike the previous Sunday when I had the pleasant company of Jai and his family last Sunday I was absolutely alone. Though my friends could not make it Abids Jai dropped in with his small family. Before bursting on the scene to look for books on the pavements we sat in the Taj Mahal and had coffee. Jai gave me a Deccan pen in exchange for the copy of Stephen Fry’s ‘Paperweight’ that I gave him. Later, while looking for the books, and after watching the earnest and eager face of Mamun, Jai’s sweet little daughter, while she picked up her own books I was convinced another book lover was in the making. I hope Jai brings her to Abids regularly so she can find more books to read.
Since I was alone last Sunday I enjoyed every moment of it keenly looking for titles to pick up without being distracted. In a heap of books selling for thirty rupees I saw a nice copy of ‘London Fields’ by Martin Amis that I had seen earlier at the same place. I had not felt like picking up then but last Sunday I realized it would be a dumb idea to leave it behind. This was the first find.
I am currently half way through ‘Poor but Spirited in Karimnagar’ by Sumita Dawra, an IAS officer, that is about her experiences as the Collector of Karimnagar. At Abids when I chanced upon another such book by an IAS officer I thought it would be a good idea to pick it up and read it to see what the retired bureaucrat had to say. So I picked up ‘Walking with Giants’ by G. Ramachandran. I got it for forty rupees.
I haven’t read any title by Terry Pratchett who was in the news recently after his death. I am not really into sci-fi or fantasy but when I saw a nice copy of ‘Carpe Jugulum’ by Terry Pratchett I bought it. It would be my first Terry Pratchett title and I hope it would be an interesting read.
Later at Chikkadpally I found another delightful collection of short stories published by Sahitya Akademi. I found ‘Contemporary Short Stories’ Series-1 that had a total of fifteen short stories translated into English from various regional languages. This collection had the following stories:
BHADARI (Assamese) by Laxminath Bezboroa
THE PRICE OF FLOWERS (Bengali) by Prabhat Kumar Mukhopadhyay
A MOMENT OF ETERNITY (English) by Bhabani Bhattacharya
THE LETTER (Gujarati) by ‘Dhumketu’
THE CHILD (Hindi) by Premchand
THE CURDS-SELLER (Kannada) by Masti Venkata Iyengar
THE BRIDE’S PYJAMAS (Kashmiri) by Akhtar Mohi-ud-din
THE TALKING PLOUGH (Malayalam) by Ponkunnam Varkey
MANU (Marathi) by Roop Kattnak
ONLY A DOG (Oriya) by Kalindi Charan Panigrahi
MIRACLE (Punjabi) by Kartar Singh Duggal
BROTHER ABDUL RAHMAN (Sindhi) by Amarlal Hingorani
THE NOSE JEWEL (Tamil) by C. Rajagopalachari
ON THE BOAT (Telugu) by P.Padmaraju
TINNY’S GRANNY (Urdu) by Ismat Chugtai