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What started out as a pastime soon turned into a hobby that turned into a passion until it eventually became a necessity. Reading is a need so beautiful that I feel I must write about it every day.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

I dream a dream of a library!

Recently, I decided to create a personal library. Now, as unfortunate as this may sound coming from a book blogger, I have never actually collected books.In my defense, I will attribute this disturbing fact to the tragic event of shifting our house back in 2001 when the movers managed to get my carton of books completely wet! Do you know what a soaking wet box full of one's carefully collected and best loved books can do to a child's psyche? I was traumatized! At that point, my 10 year old self thought 'Hmm, I'll never have as many books as I just lost again in my life, so there is no point in trying to recollect it all'. Since then, I've donated, sold off or lent all the books I've ever read. 

Sometimes, I thought of it as a testimony of my compassion to send a book back into the world by giving it away, but a slight desire to see a corner in my room stacked with my own books never evaded me and so, after all these years, I decided to build a home library. Fortunately, I've kept a record of all the books I've devoured over the years so the plan is to buy back all those covers, track down all my friends who may have borrowed and add them to my already existing little bookshelf which I made yesterday with some of the books I was left with. 

F.Y.I. First book from the left is the 'Autobiography of Mark Twain' (a prized possession) 
It's going to be a long process of recollecting everything I've read but the end result is sure to give my room the beautiful book-laden nook it's been missing ever since the fateful day that damn mover ruined my books.  
These are the 20 or so books I'm starting out with.

And with that happy thought, I'd sign off. Wish me luck :D and also, leave me tips on how you organize your book collection. I'm torn between a traditional bookcase and a hanging shelf.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

You're as good as the books you read!

Tell me you read Nicholas Sparks, Sidney Sheldon or Nora Roberts and I may not want to speak to you again. Tell me you worship the likes of Marquez, Chekov and Joyce and I will respect you forever. For sworn bibliophiles around the world, books can be major deal breakers (or makers).

The books we love often reflect all that we believe in; all that we think is beautiful in the world. It may have a character you closely relate to or a plot that reads like your own life. So the kind of books we read say a lot about us.

Accuse me of narrow mindedness but when it comes to knowing people, I judge them by their taste in literature. Going into someone's house and seeing a wall plastered with books excite me, perusing the titles on somebody's shelves is like opening a window on their psyche.

I am aware of the fact that an individual is more than the sum of his bookshelf but I also believe that books are an extension of one's self and so for me a person is as good the books he reads. 

Beg to differ?

P.S. My apologies to the people who love Sparks, Roberts and Sheldon but seriously, you need to give Wilde, Dostoevsky and Marquez a shot.

Monday, 13 February 2012

This is where we live!

''This is where we live'' is a visually pleasing video of a world made out of books. Very creative!
I found this interesting video on StumbleUpon. Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Stripping the sheen off 'new' India!

''Meet Balram Halwai; servant, philosopher, entrepreneur, murderer...'' reads the blurb on the Man Booker prize winner- The White Tiger.
Since it's 2008 win I had been aching to read it but never got around to buying it. Sometimes, because I thought it was too expensive and other times because there were better picks in competition. Finally, when I saw it at a Book fair back in Decemeber for Rs.75! There was no reason to let it go. (I can be a bit of a cheap sucker when it comes to buying books but hey! Who says reading needs to be an expensive hobby?) 

So, Balram Halwai, is the witty narrator of this journey who goes from being a servant to an entrepreneur. It may seems like a rags to riches story at first but a few pages in, and you know there is a bigger, dirtier game being played out before you. Here is a protagonist who starts out in the poverty-stricken, unjust society of India and learns the hard way that the only way to make it to the top, quick is to imitate the rich, i.e: betray, steal and kill. 

The story unveils a side of India that is conveniently hidden under its 'fastest growing economy' label.Adiga manages to strip the sheen off the 'new' India that we have come to know and exposes the hypocrisy and misery that exists in the working class of this country. As Balram philosophically disdains over the treatment of the poor in his country, he says, humans should be treated like humans.
The book has been written in the form of letters addressed to the President of China who is to visit India soon. The most poignant parts in the book come whenever Balram tries to advice the President. Here's an extract:  
Don't waste your money on those American books Mr. Jiabo. They're so yesterday.
I am tomorrow!''
 This book paints a vivid picture of the misery and helplessness of India's lower class and what it takes to break away from the shackles of poverty- a will of breaking free of the 'rooster coup' so great, that it triumphs all other emotions.
Adiga's writing style is simple, flowy and witty. Balram starts out by telling Mr. Jiabo (the President):  
''It is an ancient and venerated custom of people in my country to start a story by praying to a Higher Power. I guess, Your Excellency, that I too should start off by kissing some god's arse.Which god's arse, though? There are so many choices.See the Muslims have one god. The Christians have three gods. And we Hindus have 36,000,000 gods.Making a grand total of 36,000,004 divine arses for me to choose from.''
Don't let the humor fool you because the tale gets dark from here! This is not a big eye-opener but an interesting book nonetheless. 
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