Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Challenging my mind

I miss those people who challenged my ideas from cultural stereotypes to International Politics. Those men who could discuss literature as well as lathes. Those who could talk tech and explain french manicures. Those who believed - "So many Wikipedia entries. So little time". Where have you gone? 

Friday, June 17, 2011


I have been contemplating changing my entire outlook to life. Or book buying as we call it. I am one of those wonders, who has a problem with libraries. Don't get me wrong...I love a good library and love to select books in one. My only problem with them is this - they want their books back once you finish reading them.

That I do not like.

Because once I have finished reading a book, I go back and keep it back in the shelf. Every once in a while, I open the cupboard and look at lovingly, bringing back the fond memories. I remember where I bought it from. Or how I came to know about it. I remember the first time in bed together and looking across at the book, the morning after.

After a few months I like to pick it up again and re-read it. On the 2nd read I discover so much I had not noticed the first time. I look forward to reaching certain passages I remember from the last time. And when friends come over to stay, I recommend certain books they can read based on genre, fiction, non-fiction, speed, etc. But only for the duration of the stay. I do not lend books. 'Nuff Said.

But lately I have been coming across different people extolling the virtues of this library or that. I have been hearing cries from different corners telling me that I should join a library. Mates have pointed out sooner or later, other expenses will take precedence, and I will have to sacrifice my book buying habit.

Again and again, the library is being thrown in my path. Metaphorically speaking of course. And it doesn't help that a very good one is present, a stones throw away from my apartment. 

Slowly I have begun to wonder if I need a complete refurbishment to my book buying outlook. A paradigm shift if you will. 

Is it time I ask, to step over the threshold of a library?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Reading Austen

I just started reading Classic Jane Austen : Complete And Unabridged. Jane Austen is not a writer to be taken lightly. That is apparent from the fact that the book weighs 1.24 kgs. It's like lifting one of those weights I pretend to exercise with while staring at myself in the mirrors of the gym. 

So its not a book to can curl up with on the sofa and hold above your head. I'll dare you to last more than 5 mins. It must be treated with respect. It's a book you need to keep on a table with a cup of coffee by your side as you read and re-read that complex beautiful prose.

I'd ideally like to be seen reading this, like Meg Ryan in "You've got mail". Sitting by the window of a coffee shop, bent over the tome, oblivious to the world walking by [unless of course tom hanks passes by].

Instead, I read it in bed. Weight on my elbows, book on the pillow. And I read out sentences that strike me, out loud to the hubby. [Yes, I know you are going to leave me soon if I continue reading Austen out loud to you.]

But then I realize that really, Austen's lines is made to be read out loud. When one sentence lasts 3 or 4 lines long. Where words must never be less than 3 syllables long. It's a reading exercise that sounds so beautiful when read out loud. With the right enunciation and the right pauses, it is a beauty to listen to. 

Some of Jane Austens characters will always remain etched in the memory. Elizabeth Bennett, the brooding Mr. Darcy [pause to swoon here], Edward Ferrars...and I hope to make this list longer once I finish reading Austen.

Until then folks. 'Tis a long road ahead.

Not yet History

Someday I would like to read the troubled history of India-Pakistan relationships with the advantage of hindsight. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to ever become "history".