Friday, July 22, 2005

The book meme. And the winners are..........

Made up my mind to keep a check on the backlog of memes that I am yet to do justice to. Picked up the obvious choice. Books. But the most difficult.

Total number of books I own:
Absolutely clueless. Has to be something upward of 700 counting the Archies, Hardy Boy, Nancy Drew series to the Encyclopedia collection to the Calvin collection, Recipe books, Novels, Biographies, Quasi-philosophy stuff, Space and science related, Mallu books, NG collection and the textbooks too ;)
To be politically correct, I don’t ‘own’ any of these books. Rather I ‘share’ with my brother. Me and my brother used to make the First day first hour trips to all the book fairs in little Trichur and that we know most of the book-shop guys in Trichur on a first name basis.
Sigh! Our children are gonna be so lucky. Born into a family with an almirah full of books perfect for all age groups!

Last book I bought:
Jazz, Toni Morrison
Am amazed by this author. Absolutely loved one of her other books which I read 10 years back.
A quip about this author - her books are sort of difficult to read. Asked about this once, pat came her reply “Oh good. I find it difficult to write them too”.

Last book I read:
Chokher Bali, Rabindranath Tagore
(English translation of course!)
Was pretty disappointed by the book. Felt like reading those ‘love-story’ forwards. Well, maybe they were a better read and more entertaining. Chokher Bali (eye sore) was more like a desi soap-opera script. Was little surprising that some enterprising Indian had already made a serial out of that.
May be whatever Tagore wanted to convey was lost somewhere during the translation.

Book I am reading at present:
Liar’s Poker, Michael Lewis
This one all about Bond trading in one of the Wallstreet firms. Witty one too. This book has set the record of me not reading it for a year since I bought it. It changed 5 hands before I finally got down to reading it. And the timing couldn’t be better. Our dear Prof. UD is taking FMT (Financial Markets and Technology) for us this term which revolves around Trading and Exchanges and the nitty gritties – in his own inimitable style. It’s rocking till now.

Five books that mean a lot to me:
Five seems like such a small number. Let’s make it ten.

Ten books that mean a lot to me (in no particular order):

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
It’s no co-incidence that I love PJs. A sure page-turner, it’s one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. The satire and lunacy index of this book leaves one asking for more. Rightly said - Don’t Panic!

Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
‘Last night I dreamt I was at Manderley again..' brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
A thrilling story of jealousy and murder and an almost-thriller, it sent shivers down my spine when I first read it. Second read threw insights into the feminism the author has tried to portray and some ethical dilemmas and so many things left unsaid. Loooove this book!

Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
This has to be on the list of every girl’s top-10 favourite books. And it is in mine too. Hats off to the strong and selfish Scarlett O'Hara. The movie doesn’t come close to the book though.
"Frankly ... I don't give a damn" : )

The Best of Roald Dahl, Roald Dahl
Known as a Children’s author, Roald Dahl is one of my favourite short story writers. The collection of his stories that I have which include selected stories from Kiss Kiss, Switch Bitch and Someone like you are a league apart. The twists in each tale makes you wonder how he comes up with such plots!

Love Story, Erich Segal
I love this book simply for the effect it had on all the people I have gifted this to. Everyone single person I gifted this to cried after reading the book and were moved beyond doubt. Oh yeah, some of them were of the male species. And isn’t Jenny and her dad cool?
"Love means never having to say you're sorry" : )

Randam OOzham, M. T. Vasudevan Nair
Some books are considered deep and immortal because there are ‘pregnant silences’ between each pair of lines which makes the reader think hard. But this is one book, which changed all the rules by giving words to those pregnant silences. That too, the silences that were left unsaid by Bheema in the great epic Mahabharatha. Coming from MT, my fav author in Malayalam literature, it is truly one of his best works.
I am trying my best to share this gem by promoting ‘Second Turn’ which is an English translation of this great work.

When We Were Young, Devi Yesodharan
The heart wrenching tale set in Muzaffarnagar and the intelligent word play used in this work are what I liked best. Who said engineers are all geeks? And who said MBAs don’t think beyond profit and businesses? Alumni of NITC and IIMC, the author of this novel won the best novel award from Oxford bookstore couple of years back. Hats off to you, Devi! Your style reminds me of Vikram Seth's.

Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes
This is the story of Charlie, who has an IQ of 68 and who, can't even beat a laboratory mouse called Algernon at maze-solving. Then the story goes to the other extreme where Charlie develops a super-normal IQ; but sadly, situation is still the same – he is as intellectually lonely as he was before. A painful story.

Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison
Story of a small black girl, Pecola, who prays to God daily for blue eyes.
Love the title too. Two simple words, yet conveys so much! Bluest I?

1984, George Orwell
Brilliant concepts. Thought Police and Big Brother…..brrrrrrrrrrrr
The book conjures a sense of fear because of how closely it fits the reality of contemporary times.
“Big Brother is watching you!!!”

As for tagging some more people for the book meme, well, here goes. Not a compulsion, share your favourite books if you feel like it : )

Neal Whitman


neeta said...

So, finally ma'am catches up on the meme! I thought it was long forgotten. Didn't know you liked Toni Morrison so much. If you want LOVE, lemme know.
As for Chokher Bali, even I found it to be a major disappointment. I think Tagore should only be read in Bengali... English can't possibly translate the sheer beauty and sweetness of the language.
And hey, Rebecca is one of my faves too. So is The Bluest Eye.

Girl With Big Eyes said...

Ma'am is back in action :)

I read Toni Morrison's Bluest Eye cause it was recommended by a prof of mine in school and I loved the deep analogy in the title.

And of course, I want love ;)

neeta said...

lol... I never realized what that sounded like!!! I am actually laughing out loud now. Lemme clarify before there are aspersions cast on my... err.. preferences. If you want Toni Morrison's book "Love", let me know!


Surya said...

Hey Priya,

Thanks for tagging me - but had been tagged before. its here..

I loved the love story too.Gone with the wind is an old favourite too.Dint remember abt them when I wrote my book tag favorites! said...

Good.Keep it Up

Anonymous said...

The list is impressive and shows diversity. But it shows you stay away from classics of all form ( Tagore is an exception) . You haven’t mentioned some of the most prolific writes like Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Lawrence and more recent like Hemingway and Wells . No mention of the great poets like words worth and Keats.

More over your comment on Tagore is wrong, saying that it was like “desi soap-opera script”. Remember when it was published there were no soap operas or such things. These are the works that started such things. These are the books from which authors later on borrowed heavily thus it crept to TV and movies. I guess if you see that entire history of literature and how it has been close to drama, stage and TV you will realise what I mean. Something that is path breaking at the time of its invention becomes commonplace few years hence.

Your list is great and I don’t mean to undermine that in any way but going by the range of your reading I suggest you read few of the classics, I bet you will like them. You will also know why our TV and cinema is the way it is today. Happy reading.