Last Sunday found us on the pavements of Abids, accompanied by the adventurous Haritha, hunting for books among the hundreds of impromptou bookstalls that had sprung up everywhere. After about five hours, we found ourselves richer by forty books, for which we had paid a total of about four hundred rupees. I am not counting one of our purchases, which was an English reader for ten year-olds, which was named Gay Way English Reader. One of the words in the glossary at the end was “thums” – no doubt one of the authors thought it was legitimate word since it is used with so much abandon as part of the name of the ever popular Thums Up!
Here is a list of the books we picked up:
1. The Land God Gave to Cain – Hammond Innes
Vidya is a Hammond Innes fan. Though I still haven’t got around to reading any of his stuff. I’ll start, one of these days…
2. The Man from Ceylon – Ruby M. Ayres
Again, one of Vidya’s choices. She remembers the author from her childhood when she saw one of her aunts reading some books by Ayres.
3. High Citadel – Desmond Bagley
One of my favourite Bagleys
4. The Abandoned – Paul Gallico
A cat story. Needless to say, we picked it up, as we are both feline fanciers!
5. Madam, Will you Talk? – Mary Stewart
6. The Ivy Tree – Mary Stewart
Both of us are Mary Stewart fans, and jumped at the books when we saw them!
7. Hungry Hill – Daphne du Maurier
After reading du Maurier’s House on the Strand, I have become a huge fan, as much of her writing as of her storytelling. Vidya didn’t like the ending, but was moved enough to take another chance with this one.
8. Trial Run – Dick Francis
Again, a mutual favourite. We have a lot of Dick Francises, and it is always great to come across one we don’t have.
9. I Lost Everything in the Post-Natal Depression – Erma Bombeck
10. Motherhood The Second Oldest Profession – Erma Bombeck
11. When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It’s Time to Go Home – Erma Bombeck
What else to say – the woman’s a hoot! My choice, rather than Vidya’s.
12. Death in Kenya – M.M.Kaye
My choice again – After having read bits of Far Pavilions, this is really a chance I’m taking.
13. Golden Bats and Pink Pigeons – Gerald Durrell
Big time fans, both of us!
14. Myth-nomers and Im-pervections – Robert Asprin
Another chance, again my choice. Fantasy always hooks me!
15. The English Rogue – Richard Head
A really intriguing book, which describes itself thus: “The bawdy classic, banned for half a century, of a 17th century thief and lecher.” How could anyone resist!
16. The Adventures of Hajji Baba of Ispahan – James Morier
Truth be told, I’d never have picked this one up if it were not for Ispahani Centre in Chennai!
17. Who Goes There – John W. Campbell, Jr.
One of the old-time sci-fi collections. A really old book.
18. Strata – Terry Pratchett
Though I’ve read a few Pratchetts, I’ve never owned one till this one.
19. Nabokov’s Quartet – Vladimir Nabokov
Four short works by Nabokov. Ten bucks. Enough said.
20. Fatherhood – Bill Cosby
Though I’m not a big fan of Bill Cosby, I find him quite tolerable, even enjoyable, in small doses.
21. Mine – Bill Keane
A Family Circus book
22. The Tao of Pooh – Benjamin Hoff
One of those books you always pick up and look through at all bookstores, but never get around to buying. Maybe I’ll get around to actually reading this one day!
23. Pissing in the Snow and Other Ozark Folktales – Vance Randolph
Folktales, especially politically incorrect ones – I’ve never been able to resist.
24. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
A childhood favourite, at last mine!
25. The Last Victory – T.N. Murari
We met Tim Murari when he launched Taj in Chennai. He was also one of the judges in the Zine5 Short Fiction contest. Naturally, when we came across a first edition of one of his works, we didn’t want to pass it up.
26. Moscow Rules – Robert Moss
I read my only Moss when my dad found one abandoned in a train. I don’t recall the name of the book (it wasn’t Spike), but I remember enjoying it.
27. 500 All-Time Greatest One-Liners – Henny Youngman
28. Peanuts for Everybody – Charles M. Schulz
Peanuts for peanuts – I had no choice but to buy it!
29. Flashman on the March – George Macdonald Fraser
Another longtimer on my to-read list.
30. Konark – Archaeological Survey of India
31. Ajanta – Archaeological Survey of India
Two of the precise, very detailed and informative but not very tourist friendly books by the ASI. Brilliant to have when you are visiting these places.
32. The Cat Who Came for Christmas – Cleveland Amory
Another cat book.
33. The Most Awful Joke Book Ever – Mary Danby
Jokes in the true Brit schoolboy style. Always welcome.
34. Gag Writer’s Private Joke Book – Eddie Davis
A book that intrigued me. This is an ancient tome – more than 50 years old. I’ve read most of the jokes in one form or the other, but what is of interest is the style.
35. Conan the Barbarian – Roy Thomas and Barry Smith
An all-colour affair featuring one of my favourite comic book characters.
36. Spider-girl #8
37. Spider-girl #18
38. Batman Detective Comics #11
39. Batman Detective Comics #14
40. DC Comics Presents #1
Comics, to add to my burgeoning collection
Of course, this begs the question of when I am going to find the time to read all of these books. Well, I have a bit of space to store books, and hopefully, some time before I pass on to the Great Big Library in the Sky, I’ll make the time!