Friday, March 24, 2006

Book Post

My first ever tag and it’s about books! Thanks Kiwimyl!

1. What is the total number of books you've owned?

Oh, hundreds! I still have the Noddys, other Enid Blytons and Amar Chitra Kathas of my childhood, so including all these, I have around 500.
“I” alone cannot consider myself the owner of all my books. Some are still at my parents’ place, out of these some are jointly owned by my sister and me. And now lots of books are jointly owned by R and me. And with wifely possessiveness I’ve appropriated those of R’s books which he owned before marriage as mine too! If one really gets down to counting, we’ll have to use set theory--- “A union B intersection C” and all that!

2. What is the last book you bought?
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.
Oxford Dictionary of World Mythology.
After The Funeral by Agatha Christie.
Peril at End House by Agatha Christie.
These were all bought together, so, I can’t name any one.

3. What is the last book you've read?
Jeffrey Archer’s False Impression. Nowhere near his earlier books. The “surprises” were labored, and predictable anyway. The way everything turns out fine was very contrived.

4. What are you currently reading?
Re-reading, actually. After the Funeral, by Agatha Christie. I binge on Agatha Christie quite often. I find that sometimes I genuinely don’t remember who the murderer was, and even if I do, I enjoy the unraveling and the character sketches.

5. What are the 5 books that have meant a lot to you or that you particularly enjoyed?
Five? Here are ten!
(a) The Far Pavilions by M.M.Kaye---Isme drama hai, action hai, emotion hai,suspense hai---it satisfied my greed for an interesting, never-ending book. I have a sneaking suspicion that the sati rescue scene in Mangal Pandey was inspired by the one in this book. Whether or not that was the case, the scene in Mangal Pandey seemed absolutely insipid, because the benchmark was the sati rescue scene in The Far Pavilions. The terror of the sati-to-be, the frenzy of the crowd, the sheer inexorability of the ceremony---it still chills me. Another first---the heroine was not beautiful in the conventional sense. And the British Hindi was charming.
(b) A Town like Alice by Nevil Shute: The closest thing to a modern fairy tale. A saga of a woman’s courage, spanning three continents and several years.(Yes, that sounded just like a burbling blurb but that’s what it is) The courage is not militant, in-your-face, but a quiet deep power. There is a thread of humour running through the whole story which underlines the other emotions, be it poignancy or hope or even shock. I dip into the book now and then.
(c)To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Ooooh.
(d)Brinkley Manor by P.G.Wodehouse. I nearly died laughing! When I was studying in Hyderabad, I used to read Wodehouse on the bus to and fro college. I would start laughing out loud. I had to stop reading when I noticed that I was getting strange looks from the other passengers.
(e)Raise the Titanic. I forget the author’s name. Action and adventure, with cutting-edge technology, but I may be confusing the last bit with
(f)Thin Air (again Author’s name forgotten) Wonderful Sci-fi based on matter-energy interconvertibility.
(g)Sci-fi collection edited by Isaac Asimov. It had “Royal Jelly” by Roald Dahl, which was so chilling. Another story (I think it was called “Night”) was one in which a planet is lighted by many suns, so it never knows darkness except once in a few millennia, when all the suns get eclipsed together. At that time almost the entire civilisation is wiped out, because the concept of artificial light is just not there. Those who discover that fire can also be used for light, survive. And once the eclipse is over, everything has to start again.
(h) Doctors by Erich Segal. The whole book was wonderful. The issue of euthanasia.Transference in psychiatry. Medico-legal issues. The scene in which the Negro doctor picks up a knife to save a choking diner at the restaurant was very thrilling. It was made even more twist-in-the-tail-ish by the way he gets misunderstood---he is seen as a black man attacking a white one with a huge knife!(sorry if this is a spoiler for anybody!). Only the end was so Hindi movie-like that I began to wonder---why do we scoff at our movies?
(i)Chariots of the Gods, and
Gods from Outer Space by Erich von Daniken
(j) India Unbound by Gurcharan Das. I'm all at sea where Economics is concerned, but this book was interesting and clear.

5. What book(s) would you wish to buy next?
(a)I would like to own “The Feynman Lectures” which is in 2 or 3 big volumes. Richard Feynman explains the principles of Physics with, yes, humour so beautifully in everyday language that even those for whom Physics is a bugbear will get converted. I would like to share it with my children. But I don’t think I can ever buy it---it was expensive even when I first discovered it. So I’ll probably just buy a Wodehouse to add to my collection.
(b)Gone with the wind---I read it a long time ago, and I want to read it again now, and also own it. The only thing I liked about the sequel, Scarlett, was the concept of C-section in those times---it seemed practically like science fiction in that setting!
(c)Lost Horizon by James Hilton. I read it long long ago—I’ve practically forgotten everything but the main theme. I’ve borrowed it from my sister, and will read it soon. I would like to own it too.
(d)The Doctor series, by Richard Gordon. I have only “Doctor in the house”. I would like to complete the collection.
(e)The “Mrs. Harris” books by Paul Gallico. Read them and enjoyed them. Would like to buy them if they are still available.

6. What book(s) caught your attention but you never had a chance to read?
(a)Cosmos by Carl Sagan. I borrowed it from a cousin, but it was whisked away again! But I will read it one day. The TV series used to air on Doordarshan in the early eighties, and I used to look forward to it every week.
(b)The “In-Law” books by Henry Cecil. When I was a kid, my parents used to rave about them, having borrowed them from libraries. When I was old enough to want to read them, they were out of print. They have now made a comeback, and I am rubbing my hands in anticipation. Digression:
Long ago (when dinosaurs roamed the earth, as my son would say!) there used to be mobile units of the Delhi Public Library. Membership was 50 paise or some such sum. On a fixed day of the week, the van would stay at our locality for an hour or so, and during that hour, we would greedily try to read a book as well as select two others to take home for a week. This is where I first read the Jennings stories (Anthony Buckeridge), William stories (Richmal Crompton), and probably even Billy Bunter. All the books were in a uniform dull green binding which made them even more exciting---you never knew what treasures you would find!
The other library which to my childish eyes seemed like heaven on earth was the Defence Services Staff College Library at Wellington, Tamil Nadu. It was on at least two floors, and part of the charm was that it was set into a small hill in such a way that you could enter the first floor from the outside, without any stairs! The ground floor was at the bottom of the hill, of course.
(c)Godfather by Mario Puzo !!!! * Running for cover* Never read it, nor saw the movie. In “You’ve got mail” Tom Hanks keeps quoting Godfather which deepened my resolve to read it, but somehow I never seemed to be in that frame of mind. Anyway, with books, resolves are silly—you want to read it, you’ll read it! I read books while stirring the curry even!

7. What book(s) that you've owned for so long but never read?
The Tao of Physics. It used to be spoken of a lot at I.I.T.D, and I sincerely wished to read it, but then it seemed like a busman’s holiday at that time, so----!

8. Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?
I’ve seen this tag on some posts, so I guess I’m one of the last people to be tagged for this! However, if they don’t mind, I’d like to tag Meghalomania, The One and Shankari, because, I’ve seen how they write, now I’d like to see what they read.

Can I add my own Q’s? If so, here goes:

9. What book have you wished you had never read?
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. It was very impressive, yet after reading it I had such a melancholy feeling. And melancholy is something I can do without, thank you very much!
Shobha De’s novels. Her non fiction is so good. Wonder why the dichotomy.
It by Stephen King. Too scary by half!

10. Books/ authors I am not crazy about, but don’t mind reading:
Wilbur Smith
Robert Ludlum
Leon Uris

I had a great time doing this!

14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonder why you didnt like God of Small things !

LR.

24/3/06 3:59 PM  
Blogger ... said...

Finally! It's been way too long since we heard from you :-)

24/3/06 8:16 PM  
Blogger Thulika - My pen said...

:) Hai there. That you saw on my blog was designed by me, the one I used to use before in shades of the earth was also designed by me. I tried to fine tune it and ended up ruining it. So I made this new one, stil working on it, fine tuning again!! I enjoy doing this. :)

25/3/06 1:06 AM  
Blogger WA said...

Hey nice to see you back and I like the wifely possessiveness of whats mine is mine and whats yours is mine too :) Great tag.

25/3/06 10:36 PM  
Blogger Sachin said...

Wow.....that was one great tag! Lot of books that I haven't read featured in it so thanks for the tips.

I know what you mean about the God of Small Things. Its beautifully written but does leave you with a feeling of melancholy. I would recommend "The Interpreter of Maladies" by Jhumpa Lahiri if you haven't already read it. Great collection of short stories. Liked your reaction to "To Kill A Mockingbird".... absolutely classic! As for "Doctors", my wife is one and that she has read it twice already. Have read it myself and it is a very very good read.

Laks, I don't know when you're going to make up the resolve but you should read "Godfather" asap. It is Mario Puzo's best ever and maybe even better than most other authors.

For people who like adventure, I'd recommend all books by Mathew Reilly. He is a young Australian author who has written 5-6 books yet and each one is better than the other.

Whoops...almost forgot this was just a comment and not my own blog. :)

Laks, your blog rocks...

26/3/06 12:45 AM  
Blogger MumbaiGirl said...

Hi Lak
Sorry didn't come by sooner. Was busy offline. This tag makes great reading-I enjoyed Doctors too, when I read it, but I don't think I'll read it again...and am glad I read God of Small Things, but wouldn't read it again either. Really melancholy.

26/3/06 11:45 AM  
Blogger Kiwilakhs said...

Hi Lak,
About time too!! Good one! And just as I imagined, we do have a lot of reading in common. One of my fave authors that I didn't put down in my tag was Agatha Christie. I am conscious that I re-read her books, too often, by far.
Why the long break from blogging?

26/3/06 11:53 AM  
Blogger LAK said...

LR, Ive added a bit about GOST.
Keya, I hope to be more regular now!
Thulika, Happy fine tuning!
WA,Strangely, R didn't have "Godfather" or I'd have read it long back.He has "Fools die", but I want to read GF first.If you haven't been tagged already, I hereby tag you!
Sachin,I have read Jhumpa Lahiri's "Interpreter---" as well as Namesake, and I really liked her writing.And, why don't you consider yourself tagged and make that your next post?
Uttara, welcome!
Kiwi, I thought you'd be an Agatha Christie fan, too. Maybe we'll discuss her various books next!The long silence was partly kids exams, partly having nothing to say, and partly mulling over this tag!

28/3/06 12:23 AM  
Blogger LAK said...

Oh, MG, didn't realise Uttara was you! As "Ali" says in Mind Your Language----you are confusing me!

28/3/06 12:32 AM  
Blogger WA said...

HeHeHe when in the company of such talented people, I think I shall keep quiet and pretend that I didn't see the invitation to take up the tag :)

28/3/06 11:13 AM  
Blogger Shankari said...

O lady Lak!

I find myself a tagged again! Please give me some time for this though! And do jump in with the writing...

2/4/06 1:32 AM  
Blogger MellowDrama said...

Hey Stephen King isn't scary by half. I will tell you what is REALLY scary, well actually plain gruesome, sorta put me off food for a couple of days - no kidding - American Psych0 - Breton Ellis (think I got the name right). Nice read...hey forget enid blytons and rowling, there is a world of kiddie books out there - starting with the chinese and russian books from a few decades ago....fond memories find vent in one of my posts. Cheers

11/8/06 1:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey i also thought about the similarity between the mangal pandey sati rescue and far pavillions...in fact i think that Toby's character was largely inspired by Ashton Pelham Martyn.
I think FP is a great masala romance with all the right ingredients palaces, sati, romance, war's , mutiny etc...should make a good hindi movie with hrithik and ash prhaps...

21/3/07 12:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey i also thought about the similarity between the mangal pandey sati rescue and far pavillions...in fact i think that Toby's character was largely inspired by Ashton Pelham Martyn.
I think FP is a great masala romance with all the right ingredients palaces, sati, romance, war's , mutiny etc...should make a good hindi movie with hrithik and ash prhaps...

21/3/07 12:40 AM  

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