Monday, January 21, 2008

Books NOT Recommended

I love reading books...actually I love reading, I'll read anything as long as it's in Urdu or English, the two langauges that I claim to be fluent in...and I mean anything, if it's readable, it has to be read. How long I take to read it depends on teh length of the writing, its format and portability (e-treatise have their limitations for instance, they can't be read before dozing off to sleep and picked up the next morning from the floor to be read again). When it comes to books, I confess I prefer fiction to non-fictitious works, but once I start a book, I have to finish it, irrespective of genre, it becomes a HAVE TO task. Sometimes though, there is a book that I start with all the steam of an full-throttled engine but somehow leave midway and those books are just relegated to an ornamental place in the paltry bookshelf I have here. (My actual collection is in Pakistan, indexed, maintained and subsequently, gradually taken over by kid bro, A.) Books like Orhan Pamuk's The White Castle (left midway), Umberto Eco's Focault's Pendulum (too esoteric and intelligent for my present state of being), or even Aag ka Darya and Naguib Mahfouz's Palace Walk, the last two I borrowed from Bhai last year. I always get some more books from his MA bursting at the ends bookshelf but rarely get down to reading any. In the meantime I'm beefing up my own shelf here, Z's ordering books online and buying books too (our tastes in books are poles apart and so far we've fought over only one book, The Leopard and The Fox), thus there is a whole stack of reading to be done...add to it the numerous magazine subscriptions that Z has and the amount of reading a person, who has teh whole day to herself, can do is staggering. Of course it won't and doesn't stagger me.
There was a time at school when I was reading two books a day, it took two math and urdu classes in a row for me to finish a Nancy Drew/Sweet Valley paperback and then I switched books with N, my classmate. I learned speed reading at school, I also learned math and urdu enough to get by. :)
Last time we went to the Sharjah World Book Fair, I did not buy a single book, even Z was surprised (he steers me away from bookshops, I think he fears himself at such places more than what and how much I would bring to the check-out counter; somehow his stack is always larger than mine). And then I slipped into Border at DCC some weeks past and did not buy any book from there either...I have resolved to first read up what I have before buying anything new, lest I end up with an enviable collection of books I have not read and bros are happily passing off as their possessions back home. How far I'm resolute in my resolve is yet to be seen, if I go to the House of Prose I might give in but that bridge is to be crossed when it comes.
The Kite Runner, I'd been reading so much about it and then I downloaded the movie too. I saw and brought the book back from Bhai's place yesterday thinking I'd read it first and then watch the movie. I shouldn't have. After My Forbidden Face and the Bookseller of Kabul, I'd decided to stay clear of any book on Afghanistan. It just dampens your spirit, these books, make you morose, depressed, melancholy to read all that has befallen the people of Afghanistan...I wonder if books have to absolutely trashy or really dank to become a best-seller. I started reading the book at around one in the morning last depressed, let it go, tossed and turned, switched on the light, read some more, put it aside, tried to sleep, picked it up again...till about five in the morning. It was such a dreary read that I could not put it if my hurrying through the pages and finishing off teh story would somehow lesses or at least quicken the suffering recorded in its pages. I finally finished it this evening, only getting up to fix something to eat. I'm glad that I did, read it off, not eat. However bleak and whatever travails and sufferings it contains, there was, literally, a ghost of a smile at the end. And I'll also watch the movie, there's no way they could've carried all that pain onto celluloid. And Also find and read Hosseini's second novel, it's been on the top ten best-seller list too long for me to have not read it. And perhaps I can start on Orhan Pamuk again. I brought all of his books here with me only to spite mean bro S, he loves Pamuk...but I forgot that he has my Kazuo Ishiguro collection with him, gah! they have all my collection with them that they're dishing out to their friends!
"Children aren't colouring books. You
don't get to fill them with your favourite colours
." The Kite


knicq said...

I resolved long ago to not read any depressing books at all - precisely the reason I have stayed away from "The Kite Runner" and the Amy Tan books you warned me about... there is darkness enough in the world, must we read about it too? Besides, there is still TONS of humour that has been written and I have not read...

I resolved too not to buy any more books until I had finished at least half of those on my bookshelves - and I took a page each out of yours and Owlie's books, and I read and I read like crazy - except my resolve gave way every time I went to house of prose, and hence the 'half' I was reading towards continues to evade me by a few books...

I liked what I saw on your bookshelves last time I was there... care to exchange my unread half with yours... perhaps that will help me get past my target :)

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