Thursday, February 10, 2005

On books

Pico Iyer- I have traveled with him only till Argentina. ‘Lonely places’- my reading of that book stopped when I reached Argentina- oh I finished Argentina… the book is so good that I am scared to read it all and finish it! I have this fear all the time. That’s why I always take ages to finish a good book.

‘Judith Krantz”, “Danielle Steel”; “Sidney Sheldon” or any of the authors of thrillers and romances I finish almost the same day as I begin.

But when it comes to some books… like “Life of Pi” or “Mitla Pass”… I simply can’t read more than a few pages or chapters. They are so good that I want to savor the sensation of the book, of discovering all its joys… of prolonging the happiness and contentment as long as I can…

The library due date is long past for “Mitla Pass” and I don’t want to finish that book. I have read over twenty books from the time I borrowed “Mitla Pass”. Leon Uris is one hell of a writer. His Exodus and Redemption have rocked my world. I have read on Ireland and ‘Palestine’ like crazy after those two books. I will never make the mistake of reading them again. I never read books that move me passionately; twice! What if the feeling is lost the second time? What if there is no magic the second time? “Catcher in the rye”… I fell in love with the book. That’s why even though I own the book; never will I read it again… “Midnight’s children”, “Atlas shrugged”, “The fountainhead”…the list is endless I suppose!

There are some books which are supposed to be among the best of the century. Like Gabriel Marquez’s “One hundred years of solitude”. I have the book. I have not progressed beyond the first few pages. I took a break. And when I picked it up to resume my reading, I found quite to my dismay that I forgot the entire plot, the characters and everything. I read again and read more than I did before… yeah- you guessed it, I took another break. And once again, on resuming I was as lost as before. I maybe dumb; but to me people whoever claim it to be one of the best things ever written (the statistics is staggering mind you), are those who have not maybe fully read the book. Or people who thing the more complex the plot- a classic it is!

A good book should be of simple language. Sensible use of words… so that even the most complex of plots is easy for the reader to follow. Surprisingly Salman Rushdie does not do any of these-his plots are as twisted s they can get. The characters are in various degrees of insanity. But I like his writing…

I remember reading Tasleema Nasrin’s “Lajja”. It was a disappointing affair. Yes simple words… simpler language (numbers!).All she had done according to me was put down statistics on what was destroyed in retaliation by the Muslims in Bangladesh when the Babri Masjid was demolished by the Hindus in India.

I guess I cannot standardize then…


Blogger Cheeru said...

I share the same feeling. I take time to read good books and drop off from the bad ones. Its not just about reading the story, its about living in the story, sharing the feelings potrayed and going through everything yourself !! I guess thats the way one can live through many lives than just living the one life given !!

3:51 AM  
Blogger raka said...

Was very sad when I read the last book of Jane Austen. Was very sad when I finished Gone with the wind and learnt that Margaret Mitchell wrote none other.

3:01 PM  
Blogger Vimal Gasper said...

Normally, I don't read a book more than once not because I think in similar lines, but because I'm a slow reader and there are a lot more to read... I stop reading after a few chapters if its boring and finish it off ASAP if its interesting. I didn't find Life of Pi interesting but didn't leave it after a few chapters, my blog explains the rest...

1:32 AM  
Blogger kriti said...


it was funny... i went through many of your posts one day. a friend of mine who had done the same told me to read your earlier posts to compare your previous writings with the current.hence i chanced upon this post.

exactly my sentiments - and i found it comforting to have my sentiments mirrored. 100 years of solitude - i cannot imagine myself finishing it. (one scene sticks like glue - the young girl whose grandmother forced her to prostitution. and clients came in for only about 2 minutes each)

i too read books very slowly. That is the subject of my latest post -

then i chanced upon another post - Wednesday's Child, i think the name was. considering that it is totally about yourself - i got a pleasant surprise. our birthdates are the same. :)

bye for now.

2:21 PM  

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