Sunday, February 05, 2006

Fine collection

Reached the Book fair late despite didu and I having planned it for almost a week. It was the last day, so headed straight to the Penguin stall which housed the best collection of the lot. There were parents who found comfort in the Scholistic stall in the form of science books for their children, but hey, nothing beats fiction.

Stacked were reams of classics, non-fiction (one excellent book by my blog's atheist-in-residence Richard Dawkins), and most attractively, contemporary fiction. So out we go in different directions, collecting books by the dozen, and one of us (all right, it was me) making a complete fool of himself by asking everyone for a goddammed basket to keep the tomes in. And tomes they were, from slim ones like Never let me go and An artist of the floating world (both Ishiguro) to beefy ones like My name is red (Pamuk) and Vikram Seth's Two lives, which we didn't buy because I have it at the library in my office. Didz is very keen on reading it and it is a damn fine read too with Seth's characteristic simple yet gripping style. The beginning made me nostalgic for An equal music:

The branches are bare, the sky tonight a milky violet. It is not quiet here, but it is peaceful. The wind ruffles the black water towards me.

There is no one about. The birds are still. The traffic slashes through Hyde Park. It comes to my ears as white noise.

I test the bench but do not sit down. As yesterday, as the day before, I stand until I have lost my thoughts. I look at the water of the Serpentine.

The yearning prompts me to include Seth in the collection, and I pick up The Golden Gate. Along we drift with our separate selections, which in the final moments of the fair, we sift through to decide on the ones we are taking home. Of the 15 or so titles, 7 finally make it to the list after a gruelling brainstorming session on two yellow bean-bags.

Perfect evening! Great company, excellent books.


Fancyclown said...

If you are ever in England go to the Hay festival. The town has 1,300 people and 39 book shops, it's an eccentic place.

My pictures from 2005.

Vikram Johri said...
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