In #readingtales : Midnight’s Children #rushdie

This book seems to be one hundred percent #read and #reread .

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It took me a lifetime to get past a certain page in #midnightschildren.  about 12-17 times I came to it, stopped and never went back until one day I did go ahead and was engrossed in it like this was my only world. I’ve re-read the entire book and parts of it many times over, fallen in and out of love, over and over again. I do own more than one copy ..one cleaner and one scribbled all over.

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In #readingtales – the pleasures of opening a carton of books #sundayactivity #bookstagram #bookmemories #ilovereading #booklover

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(I think) I’m in love

It has been a few hours, I’ve been thinking that it could be love, this what I am going through. The dreams, the desire, the wait, what else could it be… I’m re-reading the lines.. trying to remember the words, musing about it, I have that lost smile that pops up in the middle of other things.. I’m thinking back to that first flush, those giggly girlish way of going about things..  just may be I am lost in love with Adichie when she writes, “Princeton in summer, smelled of nothing … it is the lack of smell that most appealed to her, perhaps because the other American cities she knew smelled distinctly. Philadelphia had that musty scent of history. New Haven smelled of neglect. Baltimore of of brine, and Brooklyn of sun warmed garbage. But Princeton had no smell. She liked taking deep breaths here…” what is this if not love, if I have to even blog about it, and cannot contain my excitement. 

Coincidentally, the protagonist of the tale is also a blogger. From the time a friend passed on this book, I’ve been glued to it, sharing quotes to my interested & uninterested friends… reading sentences all over again! 

I’m kind of drunk in the readerly happiness….then a thought takes root..  what could Bombay smell of, would it be different from the way Mumbai smells.. just because they changed the name or is it just a habit that refuses to go away…

Inspired from my current read – Adichie’s Americanah (2013).

ps: in Malayalam, നാറ്റം/nattam (stink) is a bad smell, while  സുഗന്ധം/sughandham (Fragrance) is a good one.. what are the other words that qualify smell in the languages you speak, I would love to know..

PS I found a lot of traffic to this post I wrote sometime last year, yesterday. Loved re-reading it again, posting again. Here’s the link to the original post and the comments. 

Do you scribble in your books

If you do there is a word for it, like there are words for every little action we habituate. The word is Marginalia ..

“When you buy a book, you establish a property right in it, just as you do in clothes or furniture when you buy and pay for them. But the act of purchase is actually only the prelude to possession in the case of a book. Full ownership of a book only comes when you have made it a part of yourself, and the best way to make yourself a part of it — which comes to the same thing — is by writing in it.” ~ How to Read a Book  (1940) by Mortimer J. Adler.

#tuesdaythoughts

 

#WorldBookDay

So world book day today… Sending all of you who love to read a happy day. Which brings me to, what kind of a reader are you? Does that question sound weird? 

I have my reading days where I cannot put down a book, and continue reading without a care for food or drink, rain or shine. Then there are those set of days when I have my reading blocs where I wouldn’t touch a book if I can help it. Then there are days in between where I have a book or two around me which I’ll be reading from. My prof tells me to read at least 1000 words a day, and read three books at the same time, a morning, lunch and evening book varying in plot, its degree of intensity and genre. 

I just finished reading “The Killing of Polly Carter” a few days ago. A breeze of a read, a very similar style to Agathe Christie kind of murder mysteries and solving them. It reminded me of one of Mrs Marple’s cases she solved in the Caribbean when she was on vacation. 

The timing of things! 

A friend and I were reading up on this famous war journalist, Martha Gelhorn, a few weeks ago. In the beginning the name didn’t ring a bell, but over the hour we learnt she was one of the pioneers in war journalism in the last century who covered every war during her active lifetime. The coincidence of all this, is when another friend of mine brought a book, a collection of war articles, written by Ernest Hemingway, to our book meet totally unaware of my earlier reading.

Gelhorn and Hemingway were married for a brief period during the 1940s. I’m amused at the timing of things. 

First I get to read about Gelhorn, her adventures as a journalist, bits and pieces from her articles, her association with Hemingway who inspired her to write about the Spanish War which catapulted her into this field… And then to receive a collection of Hemingway articles … Lovely! 

Bliss

“You have no idea how good it is to see you again.. ” (210) #HarryPotterAndTheCursedChild

When the Amazon guy came in yesterday, he told me a bunch of rubbish, I didn’t find it “beatiful at all” He didn’t have the card swiping machine and I didn’t have enough cash to pay. We had a fight. I gave him a piece of my mind. I was so furious I had to take a break to get my cool back. This morning at around 9 the guy calls me again and says, “Madam, I have the machine, when should I come.” He came within 10 minutes, gave me the package, I paid. We became friends over harry potter, and a pack of yumfills. It has been a lovely day today, meeting Harry, Ron and Hermoine, all over again after so many years through the new and old writing. In a very blissful state at the moment, having finished reading something I had craved for, and musing over characters, places, certain paragraphs, sentences, quotes, and their camaraderie, sharing it with friends who have already read, who are reading still. It has been an interesting day so far. Hugs to all the HP fans 🙂 doesn’t it all come down to that finally. 😉 (no spoilers)

Ok, one spoiler, can’t resist .. when Hermione and Scorpius reply together and Ron says “Blimey! there are two of them .. ” well I thought of Quaid’s reaction in the Parent Trap (1998)b391f2ad72f9a313a7e86faf2a44012f

 

Book Buddies

You tell me, what goes absolutely hand in hand with a book for you? I’m listing a few random partners.

1. A cup of coffee
2. A bottle of water
3. A piece of cake
4. A packet of chips
5. A pillow
6. A comfortable chair
7. A mattress
8. A corner beside the cupboard
9. A lone time
10. A flight ticket

Personally for me, an untouched coffee and an unopened bottle of water, a half eaten piece of cake and unopened packet of chips are indications of a good book… Or the level of concentration the book has taken me into.. I rarely eat while I read. For that matter, I don’t even keep food or a drink nearby while I am at it. It is very distracting to begin with. Cakes and chips are so messy, they even stick to the pages of the book!! or the reader! So, eating means having napkins around, wiping hands on it frequently after every bite!! 😉 😉 my best partner then is a flight ticket .. I can take a seat at an airport lounge and later in an plane, fasten the seat belt and read.. It can also be a cushion .. 🙂

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pins n ashes

oo oo oo oo oo oo

There is some strange connection between food and books, more than the two Os right in the middle of their names. Books have stories of food, and food times can also be book times.. (Not juat reading, it can be a time to discuss books too) (Although it is not a very good practice to follow) I am kind of intrigued by this connection, a connection that has made itself evident because books and foods are part of my favourite things.. I love to cook, and take pictures of food.. Some recipes come through books, such as my initial cooking experiments were all done from recipes in these cookbooks from MJ’s collection (I used to cook so that I could surprise them for snacks at coffee time in the evenings) habits die hard.. I continue to do the same even now when I’m at home 🙂

Regarding reading, I am not a compulsive reader at that. I read at my own pace, I enjoy my books, I live the lives of the characters, re-read my favourite parts, make customized bookmarks for each book, jot down memoirs of the book purchases and the book journeys .. Discuss books extensively with book crazy friends, rip their narratives apart as part of work and find interpretations, make connections partly because of my training and partly because it has become second nature.

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As far back as I can remember, I remember a stack of books next to my mother wherever she sat in the house. A stack of all kinds of dictionaries, books, magazines, newspapers, bits of papers that came as covers for things.. And the practice continues with the next generation through me. Wherever I stay there are always books around so many so that sometimes, I use them as table stands and such 😀 to manage space. Regarding lists of books read, since my way of life I choice is reading I happen to have read a lot of genres… At a least all those books listed in the must read group of 100 and 1000 books of the millennium and the century and the decade courtesy course work and curiosity.

Do I read while I eat.. Not really. I listen while eat .. (Audio books as they are called and it does open a whole new world).

oo oo oo oo
PS. Habits die hard .. The habit of blogging for the last 31 days stays on the 32nd day..

A Book Bias …

I sometimes wonder what it is to be biased ….. (Even when I have my own strong likes and dislikes.. Still..)

And then an example falls from nearby. I was horrified, and horrified is the word, the other day when my sibling sent me a picture of a box set he had purchased at a sale at landmark. I wanted to bury myself in the sand.. I thought it was peculiar that the mother also shared a part of the horror 😛 Birds of the same feather! The books were from Paulo Coehlo. About 10 of them. I comfort myself that they look lovely on the shelf with their colourful spines 😛

I remember, about 8-10 years ago, I was made to read two books, one the alchemist and the other the monk who sold his Ferrari at gun point, almost. I read with great difficulty, especially the Ferrari book because it made no sense to me at many levels. The alchemist I cracked one day after I had kept it aside after starting it like some 10 or 12 times. Almost at gunpoint, because I couldn’t say no to the person who asked me to read! It took me I don’t know over a year to complete these two books. The other time I willingly set myself to read a book of the same genre is Eat Pray Love, I loved the eat part of it a lot, I would suggest to people, read the eat and close the book. After alchemist with its universe conspires theory was a comfort pillow and quotable…  I took up, his other books. But at the end of each book I read, all he had to say were the same things, directly or indirectly. I stopped! I stopped reading also because all this self help was getting to me! I needed to help myself to get out of these artificial self helping and motivating books. But I am in a minority group, the larger majority love PC books! they loved the positive energy in selling the ferari, somebody else buying it, discarding it on the road and walking the desert or climbing a mountain… scuba diving as recent as Hrithik Roshan’s Zindagi..

I’ve understood I am allergic to this induced kind of self help in any media format! More so because I feel only I can help myself, no books, no people, no miracle can do that.. yes they can motivate! but finally it is upto the person.. It is easy to understood why I was horrified when there was a pic of a box set from the sibling! Well it could be a book bias, anyways, I’m so sure, the sibling will come back with the same thoughts.. but the realization that I have a book/author bias is getting to me!! .. In search for another word … a euphemism….. 😀

Blogathon’16 Day 27

Have you realized that Akbar and Shakespeare are contemporaries?

Let me start with a question, list 10 Mughal Emperors in Indian History? Write them down somewhere..  I’ll come back to that later, but before that I need to share with you my excitement about the title of the post.

If you put British History and Indian History side by side, you’ll come to know that Akbar and Shakespeare are contemporary to each other. Strange? I thought they lived in different worlds, Oh! they did, but those different world were their different continents. However, they lived their lives almost during the same years.

Time for another fact. Queen Elizabeth died in 1603, Akbar died in 1605, Shakespeare lived a decade longer and died in 1616.

All this, when set out in this fashion makes me feel rather excited about information in general and about these people in particular. I have never put Shakespeare and Akbar together before. I knew their dates, works and their years individually within their context, and the context of say, East India Company and the Plymouth, but never in this way, across countries. By that same logic, the second battle of Panipat was fought in 1556. It was in 1558 that Elizabeth became the Queen of England. Here in what has become India today, a 14 year old Akbar makes a statement in the battle field against Hemu, and there, Elizabeth succeeds her sister Mary and start making statements and tries to bring peace!

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I’ve been reading Alex Rutherford for quite a while now. I read his first two books on Babar and Humayun, I picked up Akbar then and then Jahangir. He has written about Shah Jahan too in his latest book released this year. It so happened that while visiting a friend (and as is practice) I was attracted to her book shelf. She had just finished reading the first book in the series on Babar. She lent it to me and there I began my journey with Rutherford through one of my fav periods in Indian history. Favourite because with Mughal history in class 7 our class got an amazing history teacher. She made us or rather me love history (I can speak for myself and not my classmates as such) and since it all began with the Mughals, it is a special love.

So if you ask me the question name 10 Mughal Emperors I would scratch my head, because I have only studied 7. Babar, Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan, Aurengazeb and Bahadur Shah Zafar. William Dalrymple has made the last Mughal Ruler famous with his book, The Last Mughal, just think of that cover pic! Now who are the other 3 if I have to complete a 10 point list. This question is also borrowed. I happened to watch it on a TV Quiz show, where according to its format, each team is asked list 10 names of a topic of their choice from a list in a stipulated time. When this question came, I was genuinely puzzled. Because my school history textbook gave me only 7 prominent names, I raked my memory, avoided the enticing google to get answers.. but nothing appeared in my head from school memory. When the quiz master revealed the answers I was taken aback to see the names!

To test if I was the only one who was taken aback and puzzled by this question and ignorant about the remaining rulers, I put forth this question to an assorted group of my friends, this is a varied group who studied in different schools in different parts of India, under different school boards. I was wishing at least one of them would give me at least an 8th name. One of the first counter questions most of them asked was “how come 10” is it a list of Mughal Emperors of India or in Mughal History as a whole starting with Timur! “Isn’t it 7”  was other counter question, and they all listed the names they knew in chronological order.

The problem seems to lie in the way history is taught in our schools. Between Aurangazeb and Bahadur Shah Zafar there are many Mughal Emperors, but the textbooks we studied consolidated all their names into either one or two paragraphs or to a page, when these seven were given dedicated chapters.

Coming back to excitement about the contemporaneity, that bit of information still excites me, sharing it with you, if you too like me is beginning to see the connection.