I love how Post Titles can be anything you want them to. So why have some very literary, thought-provoking statement? Just start with the first sentence you can think of and really, it’s just more and more down-hill car wrecks from there on.
Answering any questions my title may have sprung up in your minds (who are we kidding?), I confess now, to buying FIVE books today. 😕
But in my defense, and I must admit it’s a HUGE defensive standpoint for me to hide behind,
THERE WAS A BOOK FAIR!
To any and all unfamiliar with BOOK FAIRS, let me explain.
Lots of book shops gathered in one place.
Lot of books gathered in one place.
Lots of discounts gathered in one place.
If that doesn’t scream out ‘HOLY GRAIL’ to you, well I pity you. Yes, here’s looking at you kid with abject pity.
Thus, I ended up spending only about Rs 2500 for a total of five books that ordinarily would cost somewhere in the neighbourhood of Rs. 2500 each. And just so you can get your head around it, Rs. 2500 is about 17 dollars. And 17 dollars for five books is an amazing bargain no?
Now I know I said that I have WAAAAY too many books piled up at home, bought at a whim and languidly dusting each other up on my TBR list but when a BOOK FAIR comes, all reason flies out the window.
So without further ado: THE BOOKS
Top left: Noontide Toll Romesh Gunesekara (I’ve read and written about his Sandglass and it made him one of my favorite Sri Lankan authors. And isn’t that cover absolutely GORRRRJUSS?)
Top Middle: The Professional Ashok Ferrey (I’ve and written about his Colpetty People here and while it wasn’t my favorite book, I realised he’s a good writer. I’ve been skirting around buying this book for some time because of questionable content but I finally gutsied up and bought it)
Top Left: Zorba The Greek Nikos Kazantzakis (I first heard about the movie released in 1964 but never watched it. Then I saw this on the shelves some months but it always seemed a tad too expensive for a really old movie that I may not like. But discount = Yes so I bought it)
Bottom Right: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Stieg Larrson (heard about the movie, didn’t watch it, heard about the book series, wanted to read it. Bought it)
Bottom Left: I am Malala Malala Yousafzai (need I even explain?)
I realise this severely expands my TBR list and I have about two months to whiz past them (I cannot lug 15 or so books to USA. I cannot. I. Can. Not) but I’m just gonna have to make the best out of it.
Book buys aside, the entire experience of browsing through crowded, sweaty humans to reach for books in tiny, cramped books is surprisingly satisfactory. Sometimes, you have to beat someone else to a book. You also meet random book-nerds like yourself who totally understand the manic expression on your face while you’re reaching for the book up high.
Also, cool experience:
I went with a friend today and there we were browsing in the stalls of a bookstore. She had a Thousand Splendid Suns in one hand and was debating whether to buy a Danielle Steele book. I had Noontide Toll clutched in my hands. She looked at me for my opinion and I shred Danielle Steele.
Next to us is a couple of foreigners who probably overhear us. Definitely overhears us.
Old Foreigner Man: There’s a BIG difference between those two eh? *points at Thousand Splendid Suns and Danielle Steel*
Me: Oh yeah. Big. Difference.
Old Foreigner Man: Oh I see you’ve got Noontide Toll? Have you read Reef? *points at my book*
Me: *momentary stutter* No, but I’ve read his Sandglass.
Old Foreigner Man: Sandglass? I’ve not heard of that.
Me: It wasn’t one of his more famous work.
Old Foreigner Man: Was written before or after Reef?
Me: After. Reef is his best known and best received work obviously.
My friend: *looking blankly between the two of us*
And before any of you wonder, yes I knew what I was talking about. I wasn’t bluffing. I know Romesh Gunesekara’s works. not inside-out but enough to discuss with a passing aficionado
So now I realise that little exchange doesn’t seem anything extraordinary but I’m usually just a lock-jawed robot in public. So an actual conversation to a stranger, about books no less, is a massive event in my life.(I realise what a sad, lonely life I lead. Sigh)
But my point in retelling our encounter is to show the kind of experiences one can have in book fairs. Kindred spirits and all.
Although no matter how much of a sense of belonging I get there, I’m not going back there. Despite the discounts, It’s so so easy to spend. And I’m too much of a thrifter for that.
1. Book fairs are interesting places. Obviously. But not just for books. Also because of the people you’re rubbing shoulder with. Fellow humans who like the smell of old books just as much as you .
Sidenote: I’m rediscovering the glory of listening to Foxes. Her album Glorious is one of the best thematically cohesive, well put-together and emotive albums of 2014. Brilliant stuff.