Of late, I’ve begun to feel there’s nothing I can post about. Opening the newspaper everyday sickens me so much that I stick to the crosswords and Su-Doku, apart from the Forecast, which is easily the most believable section of the newspaper. And blogging about what I had for breakfast is not going to happen unless and until it’s prepared by Sanjeev Kapoor or Tarla Dalal or Mallika Badrinath.
I can of course vent my ire on the various ills perpetrated on a majority of us by the Congress government, but such a post will suffer one of two undesirable fates – it’s either going to be read by a maximum of two people, or it’s going to be read by a variety of folks, who will all suppose I’m just another Raj Thackeray or Godse wannabe. While that will bring out a few interesting comments, it certainly is not going to lead to interesting discussions. More of a troll-haven such a post will be, as anyone can see on any right-of-center blog. That’s not to say I’ll never write something like that; just that I don’t feel upto it now.
While I’m not imagining there are thousands of people waiting eagerly for my next post who’ll lapse into chronic depression and slit their wrists if I don’t keep up my quota of atleast one post a week, I do have reason to believe I stay sane if I put up atleast one post a week… it’s become quite an addiction. It gives me a (possibly) false reassurance that there’s someone out there who has an infinite capacity to put up with my supposed jokes, opinions, ideas, raves, rants and the like.
When at a loss for blogging ideas, turn to tags!
This one’s a book tag. I just combined all the different tags I’ve come across.
Total Number of Books I own: Hard to gauge. I once tried a census, but it erupted into arguments of which belonged to me and which to my sis, and whether comics counted. And some of my books have been borrowed and never returned, which makes it all the more worse. And a few folks left their books with me and moved house without telling me, so I technically don’t *own* those books…
BLEG: If by any chance you’ve borrowed my “Odyssey – From Pepsi to Apple” by John Sculley, this would be a good time and place to tell me it’s with you. Thanks.
Last Book I Bought: My Country, My Life by LK Advani. Propaganda, yes (can as much as call him the Ad-vaNi for BJP.. he surely is the poster boy for the BJP… why, even his wife is called Kamla!), but it’s that side of the story that has been suppressed for simply too long. Either suppressed or been drowned out for too long. It is quite a good read. Well-written. The chapters on the Emergency are very passionately written. I’d recommend reading this book along with Shashi Tharoor’s Great Indian Novel coz the sarcasm of one and parody of another bring out the facts really well and give you a deeper insight and understanding into the history of India than what you would have got from reading either alone.
Last Book I Read: The BFG and The Witches by Roald Dahl. And got into a Dahl frenzy after that… since I’d always hated Dahl due to his depressing short stories, these books were a very pleasant surprise. I then read his My Uncle Oswald… it isn’t great. Comes close to disgusting quite a lot of times. Boy – Tales of Childhood is technically the latest book I’ve read. It’s a very endearing book, more so since we were used to reading extracts from the same book every year in school as part of English Literature. It sure did feel good to see all those stories together in a book, along with relevant context.
Five Books That Mean A Lot To Me:
- English, August by Upamanyu Chatterjee. It’s more than just a cynical novel; it’s a philosophical journey. Or so I felt when I read it. I read it, reread it, and again, and again, and each time I find something new.
- My Country, My Life by Advani. He asks in the book, when the countries of Europe, which had brooked animosity against each other for more than half a century and had fought the bloodiest wars in history can live together in peace and co-prosperity, why can’t the Subcontinent do so, more so when we have millennia of shared history and culture and language. He talks about what exactly is India’s problem, in a more articulate and erudite way than anyone I’ve read ever.
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: I can reread it a million times (I’m sure I have) and still not get bored. It’s easily my favourite in the series. The number of conversations the book opened was simply mind-blowing… easily, everyone and his brother seem to have read the book.
- Malgudi Landscapes, a collection of RK Narayan’s works. It contained quite a lot of his short stories and essays and extracts from most of his novels and non-fiction. It offers a glimpse into his world. It’s the sort of book that nudges and eggs you on to want to read all his works. My neighbor borrowed this and then went on to have a feud with my family. In the ensuing melee, everyone forgot about asking for the book. *Sigh*
- The Sun’s Seventh Horse by Dharmvir Bharti. It means a lot to me for reasons other than mere literary merit.
A book that made you laugh: Ogden Nash’s Candy is Dandy. And some passages of English, August.
A book that made you cry: Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead. For the sheer hopelessness of the writing and unreadability that ensued.
A book that scared you: 1984
A book that disgusted you: The Mammaries of the Welfare State by Upamanyu Chatterjee. Sequel to English, August, but lacks any subtlety. Very in-your-face, so much that you hate the practiced cynicism the book radiates.
A book you loved in elementary school: The Adventurous Four series of Enid Blyton – the one with Andy, Tom, Jill and Mary and their boat.
A book you loved in middle school or junior high school: Malory Towers and St. Clares by Enid Blyton.
A book you loved in high school: The English Teacher, Grandmother’s Tale and Harry Potter.
A book you loved in college: I read too much in college, and most of it was pulp-fiction or pop-literature that it refuses to stick. I’d say Catcher in the Rye.
A book that challenged your identity: How to Win Friends And Influence People. It’s the only self-help book I have any respect for. Oh, and English, August, too.
A series that you love: Lots – all of Enid Blyton’s schoolgirl series, all the Blandings books by Wodehouse. I like Blandings much, much better than Jeeves.
Your favorite horror book: World’s Greatest Ghosts. The book became a major rage in school, with everyone asking to borrow it, including snooty seniors who probably didn’t know of my existance till then. The popularity of it can be gauged by the fact that it came back to me in four pieces.
Your favorite science fiction book: The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. I liked the first three, but the other two became too much for me. Sure, there are brilliant ideas introduced, and alternative explanations offered for so many everyday occurrences, but when these become the essence of the book and not the story, for five long books, it gets trying. Asimov’s I, Robot is aeons better and comes close to being put on a pedestal by me, though his Foundation and Elijah Baley series weren’t all that great. I liked his Nightfall: Brilliant concept, but after a while it gets unreadable.
Your favorite fantasy: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer. I like the no-nonsense attitude of it all. I like Foaly the centaur and his innoventions (word I coined – innovative inventions. Propagate it, do.). But above all, I liked it that the lead character was not a loser-who-gets-lucky, but an astute plotter and planner whose plans worked, and not just due to luck. I hate most other fantasy series.
Your favorite mystery: Feluda. I also like short stories featuring Miss Marple. Perry Mason rocks, but more for astute grandstands and manipulations than for any detective work.
Your favorite biography: The last book I bought. And also, Satyajit Ray – The Inner Eye – Biography of a Master Filmmaker.
Your favorite “coming of age” book: English, August. And to a lesser extent, Swami and Friends.
Your favorite classic: Gone With The Wind. And though I haven’t read it fully, Ponniyin Selvan.
Ebooks vs hardcopies: For availability and easy of obtaining, ebooks. Yes, I’m aware they are illegal. But Rupa and Penguin can bring down prices, can’t they? And bookstores can be better stocked? I can’t justify paying big bucks to read stuff I’d like to read only once. And… ease of stocking is certainly more with ebooks; I don’t have mum and dad yelling that my eBooks folder needs maintenance. But the thing with ebooks is, out of sight and out of mind. I see Back On The Road Again peeping out of my crowded bookshelf, and am reminded I should read it sometime. But The Hunchback of Notre Dame has been languishing on my laptop for four years now.
And who do I tag?
Anyone who wants to do this tag. Just anyone.