Yes, I have. I now find myself in a state of great discomfort: I dislike making lists, lest it be a ‘Things To Do’ to keep me from forgetting, and for allocating adequate time to tasks. I’m not Rob. Which is why you don’t see a list of favourite movies or music albums in the sidebar. But, I have been tagged, and tagged as I am, I shall do the needful and try to stop rambling. Here goes:
1. Worst book ever: The Everest Hotel by I Allen Seally. As much as Dhruva Chak might defend his La Martiniere chums book, I’m sorry but there’s only one word that describes this book for me – BORING. How this came to be awarded a special nomination for the Booker is beyond me. The book was frustrating and slow, and as timelessly painful as a Govinda movie. Even ‘The Jukebox Queen of Malta’ by Nicholas Rinaldi was better.
Update: Hi Mr. Seally. I’ve been informed that you have read this comment. It is a bit harsh, and I was unnecessarily rude, but I did find the book boring, frustrating, and all of those awful things I’ve said above. Sorry, but that’s how it is.
Grossest character ever written: *scratches head* *scratches unmentionables*. I dunno!
Total number of books I have:
Too many, according to the mother and sister. A good collection, according to the father. (Get more, he says)
I’ve never counted. And so, I shall take this opportunity to do the needful. I’m also timing myself. Right. Back. 2 minutes 21 seconds and I have 240 books in my room. Three are with Harneet. Two are with a friend in Pune. Several are in a shelf in the attic. I’d say around 300+, but counting. Some are missing. (Uh oh!)
A very very large majority of these are my own. My paternal grandfather survived on books in desolate locations around Rajasthan as a civil engineer. He had little or no company there. After he passed away and grandmother shifted back to Delhi, eight trunks of books were kept by in the garage which flooded one monsoon, destroying all but one book – a leatherbound ‘Good English: How to Speak and Write it” that I’m afraid to open, lest the pages crumble. I swiped quite a few of my maternal grandfather’s collection of Wodehouses from Bombay. They were gathering dust. In my absense, my (elder) sister traded some of these with her friends for M&B’s. She has not been forgiven. But she doesn’t apologise either.
Last book I bought:
All in one day: Without Feathers by Woody Allen, Death is a lonely business by Ray Bradbury, The Tailor of Panama by John le Carre, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, The Gangs of New York by Herbert Asbury, Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood, Shipping News by Annie Proulx, Girl Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen, Drawing of the three by Stephen King and Remains of the Day by Kashuo Ishiguro. (Yes, I binge)
Five books that have meant a lot to me
Unfair question. Different books mean different things to a person, at different times. I don’t think any book has had an indelible effect on me. I read, I put down. Often, I forget. I think that’s a good thing, because each time I read a book or a story, it’s almost fresh for me.
Words, sometimes, remain. Words, thoughts, scenes. Like sentences from the prologue to ‘The Day of Creation’ by J.G. Ballard. Anyway, here’s a list subject to change:
1. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.
Helped me out of the lowest of possible lows. While I do not agree with the extremities of her fiction, and that her writing is boring, I do agree with the philosophy. I also feel that it has been misinterpreted and misunderstood. I do not need it, or read it now, but it did influence me greatly.
2. Short Stories by Saki
His writing influenced much of mine, along with Wilde. I’ve always attempted to mix slightest humour in my stories. I also ended up leaving my characters in a limbo (something which I was criticised often for, initially). What I have not been able to do, is create true evil characters, because that is something that I find difficult to identify with. My favourite Saki story remains ‘The Interlopers’ for this very reason.
3. Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk
Details. Details. Details. And shock and awe.
4. Complete Works by Oscar Wilde
Mrs. Wallace says more or less everything that had to be said about this. Except that I also found, in Wilde, a hint of evil. A subtle mockery of society and people that I also indulge in, often. I am, however, allowed to get away with it. No bruises, so far.
5. The Masterthinker’s Handbook by Edward de Bono
We aren’t talking strictly fiction, are we? Well, the rest are likely to change. This isn’t. I’m an analyst by habit. This book got me going, and helped structure my thinking.
6. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
I’m yet to finish this, but it remains the funniest book I’ve ever read. It amuses me when I need it. It helps me think out of the box when I need to ideate. It’s a writing style I wish I could adopt.
Also worth a mention: LOTR by Tolkein, Short stories by Roald Dahl and Somerset Maugham. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby. Animal Farm by George Orwell. The Foundation Series by Asimov. Minority Report by Philip K. Dick. There are so many others. *sigh*
What am I reading now?
The Remains of the Day by Kashuo Ishiguro and Effective Innovation by John Adair. Between books, I read a story from Asimov’s Foundation.
What’s the one book you couldn’t finish reading?
It put me off reading for a bit. Refer to the first answer, pls.
Enough said – now the fun bit.
I hereby tag:
Crudo would be the first person I’d tag, but he refuses to blog.