Sunday, September 19

Books et al

Nowadays I feel blessed to be able to find time to read more than ever before. There had been a huge backlog of books-to-read and I’m glad I’ve atleast begun my journey towards bridging the gap between wanted-to-read, reading and to-read ones. There's just one small glitch, so many books and so less time! :)

I don’t know how people go about choosing a book but for me it’s a very tedious and baffling process. I somehow never go by reviews and pick up any book by pure instinct. No wonder then that many times my hunch is not completely correct and I end up wasting my precious time on books like The 3 Mistakes of my Life by Chetan Bhagat, Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho or Unruly Times by Prashant Bhavalkar.

I’m not a very literature obsessed person but I like to read sensible stuff. I prefer reading what I can follow without having to rack my brain for perceived meanings. I despise it when people think they sound intelligent when they add difficult looking and spelling words and twist the language unnecessarily. There’s a chance of the entire meaning of the sentence getting confused and the sequence getting lost, what good is it for the reader then?

Worse still is the current crop of ‘casual’ writers coming in. Any tom dick or harry who must’ve at some point of his life entertained the thought of writing a book finds himself getting backed by publishers who’ve started waking up to the fact that as long as they write anything relating to love it will sell. Quality no bar! Hence any IIT or IIM pass-out is seen coming out with some or the other love story of his/her own. The same campus ranting, lashing out at and by professors, clandestine romances, incomplete dreams etc is seen in most of them.

If some book does have a corporate backdrop then it sure talks about either super-achievers or super-losers, while in reality most people conveniently fall within these two categories. An extra-marital affair is suitably embedded in the story, anyhow. Simple sensibilities like honesty, respect, gratitude and empathy are blatantly frowned upon on shown in a dark light, almost as if they’re a crime. As long as it sells, nothing matters. Is this only what writing is about?

I do not wish to imply that all Indian authors are disappointing. We do have Sudha Murthy, V.S.Naipaul, Chitra Divakaruni Bannerjee, Mohyna Srinivasan etc who have a class of their own. Their books always succeed in teaching us a thing or two, if nothing else a few new words in English perhaps! :)

Sometimes I do rely on suggestions by people with a good taste and an even better judgement, like Nu, Titaxy and Swaram, and honestly I’ve never been disappointed. :)

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