Saturday, May 24, 2008

Whispers from the Reading Room

There has been a flurry of covert activity in the reading room.I've been reading with such haste that the activity assumes the importance of breathing or existing.I decided to write this entry so that I wouldn't forgo the pleasure of reminiscence.

Let me start with Victor Hugo.I became interested in his work after I read that he was Ayn Rand's favorite writer.I started reading 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' with a big chunk of bias. For some reason I expected it to be a soppy story written for children thanks to the animated and abridged versions of the book.There is more to 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' than just the usual grind about an unseemly creature with a beautiful heart.I loved Hugo's picturesque description of medieval Paris,its architecture and its people and his observations on philosophy and on the dichotomy of human nature.

I then moved on to R.K. Narayan,my favorite among Indian writers who express themselves in English. His style is quirky and very peculiarly Indian.He captures the essence of life between the time that India was still an English colony and the time of its independence.His stories have unapologetic,tongue in cheek revelations about the Indian condition(a superset of what is known as the human condition).

I then read a collection of bone-chilling stories by Daphne Du Maurier as I felt I could do with some 'light reading'.The intrepid blogger then decided to turn into the intrepid reader.I wanted to read 'O Jerusalem' by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre. I offhandedly mentioned to my dad that I was looking for the book but couldn't find it.He then told me that it had been stashed away in a rather inconvenient corner of the loft.I realized that the procurement of this gem would be a test of both strength and skill. Since I'm more craven than I imagine myself to be,'O Jerusalem' will have to wait.

So here I am at present reading 'Anna Karenina' by Tolstoy.I seem to enjoy Tolstoy's impressions on marital infidelity more than I enjoy his reverie on war.I'm reading this one at lightening speed. Hopefully I'll be able to do the same when I revisit 'War and Peace' towards the end of this year.

The future of the reading room: I was considering reading these two books at the same time.'We the Living', Ayn Rand's scathing anti-communist account of life during the Russian revolution, and 'Mother',the pro red-guard hit by Maxim Gorky.I sometimes wonder if reading makes people insane....

No comments: