Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Of that lamentable company

I was not aware of Tagging till Sudhamshu book-tagged me. I am answering the tagging questions the way he has. Unfortunately, among my friends I only know Sudhamshu who is a regular blogger. As a result, I won't be able to tag anyone further.

Here I go:

Total no. of books I own : around 400-450
Except 3-4 books in English and couple in Sanskrit, rest all are in my mother-tongue : Marathi.
Of course, I haven't counted technical books and story-books for children. [I have still kept a few for nostalgic reasons - like the ones I was gifted on my 6th birthday or for topping my class in Second standard : this is some kind of success, I must add, I have been unable to enjoy in my adult life :)]

Last book that I bought:
Can't name just one, as I went to Ideal book depot at Dadar, Mumbai and bought around 15-16 books which I had enlisted in last year or two. It won't make much sense naming them here as all are in Marathi.

Books that left lasting impact on me:
Of human bondage - W. Somerset Maugham
The fountainhead
Aahe manohar tari (Though it is pleasant) - Suneeta Deshpande
Baromas (12 months or round the year) - Sadanand Deshmukh (Sahitya Akademi award winner)

The other worth mentioning are collection of short stories by Maugham like East and West, Lord of the flies, all the Jeeves and Psmith collection by Wodehouse, Exodus, Animal Farm by Orwell and Mother by Maksim Gorky.

Unfortunately, I started reading English literature quite late in my life - at the age of 22, so I am still a novice in that. Some books in Marathi like Vishakha, Vyakti aani valli and Poorv-rang left a lasting impression on my mind.

I recollect reading Poorv-rang (travelogue about East Asian countries) when I was in 5th or 6th standard and getting the feeling that I have read something great. I guess that was the transition point in moving from Kid stuff to Serious literature. Though, Poorv-rang by no means is the best work by Pu. La. Deshpande and though I came across many other classics later on; it has a special place solely because that was the beginning. This was the time when Languages, first Marathi and then Sanskrit, became my most favorite subjects at school. Before that, Maths was the most favourite subject and looked like no other subject would appear more interesting.

Currently I am trying a little bit different approach. I read two or three factual or non-fiction books. One was India Unbound by Gurcharan Das on Indian Economy since independence till post-1991 Economic reforms and another Pakistan : Eye of storm by Bennett Jones. My guess was that I won't be able to read the first one with the same interest as novels. But I was wrong and it made an interesting reading.

The other approach is reading critical essays in Marathi. Of course, I made sure that I have read majority of the books of the author, whose work will be the subject of these essyas. It really makes a good reading because, having read the works of author, the critic gives you an additional dimension to understand and enjoy his work. Usually, he also would point to certain references which might escape in casual reading.

A good critic draws your attention to various other books which have a similar point that he is trying to prove. ( - so you know more names of the books worth reading, or at least giving a try). I discovered couple of good books this way, which for some reason did not enjoy the success they deserved and mostly would have remained unknown to me.

There is of course, whole another branch that deals with this scientific study of art. The books that I am reading right now are Himwantichi sarovare by Da. Bhi. Kulkarni and Saundaryanubhav by Prabhakar Padhye. I was initially bogged down by words like Existentialism, Logical positivism ( that too, explained in Sanskrit-nishtha Marathi) et al but then slowly things began to make sense (or so I think). Now, when I re-read the old books; it is with more insight and try to find some things that could have escaped before.

I wish I had same perseverance with my studies!


Anonymous said...

Impressive and erudite stuff. I would also recommend Khadak aani Pani by Gangadhar Gadgeel. - Pooja.

Nandan said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and comment Pooja. Actually, there was a blunder in the blog. The name should have been पूर्वरंग in stead of अपूर्वाई.

Pooja said...

Why this title? Does it refer to something?

Nandan said...

Some people read for instruction, which is praiseworthy, and some for pleasure, which is innocent; but not a few read from habit, and I suppose that this is neither innocent nor praisworthy. Of that lamentable company am I. -- taken from The Book Bag, Somerset Maugham's short story.