Aug 6, 2005

Books and Padayatty!

I am a bookaholic! My parents imbibed in me a good reading habit, which has not left me till today. Started with Grimm Brothers and folk tales, then abridged versions of the classics; Tintin, Asterix, Tinkle, Amar Chitra Katha in between; Enid Blyton... then the 18-till-they-die Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys (that was a race for who among frinds would complete the whole list first)... mention Three Investigators and Sherlock Holmes; then onto the Best-seller Paperbacks (John Grisham, Sidney Sheldon and the list goes on...); I was into the wonderful world of books, reading at least 2 books a week till I reached the 10th class.

Then on, other masculine and teenage distractions affected my reading habit. Though I have not given up on it, the number of books I read, has been minimum in the last four or five years. But I read most of the books that I consider my favourites, during these years.

Vacations was the time for reading. After roaming all around the city with friends the whole day, I would read late into the night some book I took from the Eloor Lending Library. Now that I have mentioned it, I might as well commend Eloor for being a very good library for fiction lovers, who cannot afford to buy New York Times Best Sellers with their hefty price tags (guess most Indians belong to that list). The Loyola School library was another place where my list of 'books I read' grew long. Another factor contributing to my interest in books, was certain people around me who were as excited as I was to discuss books; my sister Neena; my best friend Faiz Ali Mohammad, who I concede, defeated me in Hardy Boys, though I suspect he only read the summary given on the cover and the last chapter!


Angeline's been bombing me with tags! Been delaying it for no reason at all (read lazy)... so here goes my book tag!

1. Total number of books owned: Well, I come from a middle-class family, which is rich when it comes to bookish wealth. I don't think I can make any sort of guess as to the number of books owned. I personally own very few books (me and my sister got no mine's, only ours!).

2. Last book bought: Don't tell this to anybody because the last book I bought was a xerox copy of the Half-Blood Prince (bourgeoise publishers down! the proles need all the fanatasy they can get!).

3. Last book read: Same as above. Was lucky to find a copy(actually) in bloody Raipur!

4. Books that mean a lot to me:

1. Catcher In The Rye - Describes a state of mind I often find myself in! I face 'em phonies everyday, and I sure have a soft-corner (not the self-righteous take-you-to-heaven-with-me kind) for 'losers' as the conventional world calls them.

2. Catch-22 - Yossarian says they're all shooting at him. Somebody corrects that to they're shooting at everybody. Yossarian asks, in all simplicity, what the difference is! That's what Catch-22 means for me. My favourite anti-hero(conventional sense) deciding to live life for himself, forgetting country and all the liars who churnout Catch-22's so that simpletons like me and Yossarian end up dead for some cause which is not there!

3. To Kill A Mockingbird - My favourite hero, who decides to make a stand for what he thinks is right, when the society at large persecutes him. He becomes a role model for his young children, revealing to them and conditioning them to live by what their heart says is right in a world so wild. If I ever be a father, I'd be modeled on my own Papa and Atticus Finch! Also probably at the back of my decision to join law school.

4. Swami And Friends - I read this one long back. The friendship and the innocence of the boys felt very Indian and close to my own. Swami is just like me. He wastes time just before the examinations drawing up elaborate lists of things he might need while preparing for the exams. He edits and re-edits them and ends up getting very few of the items in his painstakingly made list. A wannabe organised guy, who loses himself in the finer details! I too have done the same things. Preparing schedules for my study leaves, which included minor details like the paragraphs in the books I had to study, tea-breaks, stretch-breaks. By the time I had finished the first schedule, I would be late by at least ten minutes on the grand opening. This meant another list. Poor Mummy has thrown enough schedules into the waste-basket!

6. Franny and Zooey - I'll do it for fat-lady! I recognize Jesus's presence in every individual, howsoever irritating they might be. For that reason, I might even put up with them! Salinger's style of writing definitely influenced me a lot (The bracket syndrome)!

7. Animal Farm - Helps me bear HNLU Farm! Enlightens me on how the majority of the people are, how they forget the past very easily. I loved the cynic, Benjamin the donkey, whose world view is probably best!

8. A Christmas Carol - Tells me not to go the Scrooge way. It's the spirit of Christmas for me!

That's all I can think of now!

Now, as the tag must go on, here's to...

Achu, Adarsh, Anjali, Anish, Anurag, Debanshu, Jiby, Madhvi, Praveen and Vishnu.


Don't expect to borrow any books from me... I chew and digest them!


silverine said...

Well I am a self confessed bookaholic too.I remember going into a depression when I had finished all Enid Blytons books. Then I latched onto Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. Then came Alistair Maclean and bam! my interests took a wild tangent to intrigue and mystery. Somehow I never got hooked onto Mills and Boons like my contemporaries.Then again the interest changed ...... As a kid I dreamt of owning a book store :))

btw the Blr Eloor is also doing a good job of keeping the book reading habit alive for countless bookaholics here.

>|' ; '| said...

my dear padayatty...

reading the 1st para was a shock. i thought i was reading my biography. nice to find a fellow bibliophile.

came here thru adarsh's blog

>|' ; '| said...

i was never a member of eloor... but got me a membership of the state central library when i was in 8th i think. i used to pick books at random from the ocean of books there and usually 3 out of 5 trun out to be gr8 reads.nowadays there aint enuf time for reading is hectic.

Jiby said...

how...i wish i became a bookaholic again! the last book i read was da vinci code and it wuz revolting to say the wuz irresponsible fiction of the worst kind! passed thru the same phases like u. noddy's, famous fives, three investigators, hardy boys, forsythe, maclean,archer,etc and then suddenly i took to the victorian classics with a btw i even fell headlong in love with poetry and shakespeare too...those were the last of my book addiction days...since then my reading has been pathetic. i wish at times i wuz still that kind of person. as for libraries the loyola library, tvm public library and eloor were my eden gardens.great post...i am abt to write a post on the influence of books one me soon.

Praveen said...

I am a bookaholic myself. I devour books hungrily.Read all the books on your list except "A Christmas Carol". Yea, Franny and Zooey is an amazing read, isnt it? Want to read of JDS if ever I get hold of any of his other books.

Jiby said...

oh ok...neil, i have not too belatedly figured out now wht u mean by a book tag...these four questions will be answered in my next one...after reading ur post i am thinking of picking up a book again...most probably it will be 'one hundred years of solitude' write more often ok!

Neil Padayatty said...

Thank you all you bookaholics!

@Silverine - On 'owning a bookstore'... my sister and I wanted a library(probably influenced by the Eloor experience)! Some of the old books still have the fancy serial numbers(only four digit ones, that) we put on the books!
I'd love to own a bookstore like the one in the movie "You've Got Mail".

@poison - Ashok, you are right about no time to read. I hope I get a job where I get enough time to do these few favourite things I like. Maybe I should become a writer myself. Or like silverine says, maybe a bookstore owner or a library owner! We'll think about taking over Eloor!

@jiby - I was just about to tell you what a tag means... good thing you figured it out yourself. Glad I could be of help again, this time for reigniting the old Loyolite passion for books!
And I promise I'll try to write more often.

@praveen - I've got soft-copies of a few Salinger writings. I'll mail them to you if you want it. They're short stories, so you can bear reading them on a PC.

I don't prefer reading books on computer. You just can't chew and digest digitally!

Praveen said...

Thanks, Neil, it would be great if you can mail me JDS stuff.

Also, please let me know how to tag others when I blog, I have absolutely no clue :)


Ali machi,Gr8 to knwo u r such a gr 8 reader,To b frank never got time to read all these books.Got ceratin doubts which i will ask u when i meet u in person.Anyway nice to knwo u wanted to styart a library.16 years of frienship and still once you could have told me wat.Would have given you my enitre collection of books.Nice blog da even tough i am a total stranger to this book world.And morever"Studs"dont get time to read.This is brag no blog.Cheers mate

Angel said...

got to this post late...

anyways, yeah interesting list of books, photocopy of the Half-Blood prince ;))

keep reading!

Neil Padayatty said...

@praveen - Will mail JDS.
@darren fletcher - You can still give me those books. Thank you!
@angel - Better late than never! Thanks for the comment. The other tag will be answred soon enough.

Jithu said...

books are always a bliss.. time killers, engagers, mood soothers and what not.. i personally own a small collection of abt 200 books, 80% bought frm the streets of churchgate.. :-)

MadV said...

Thank You Neil for book-tagging me..

BTW I am not bookaholic. :(..

Matter of Choice said...

Hey thankx for book tagging me :)

u have a great colelction of books out there in ur list..Atticus Finch and Holden caulfield are my fav charectors in literary world too!

പാപ്പാന്‍‌/mahout said...

Well, well, well ...

Atticus Finch and "To Kill ..." are my favourites too. There is at least one public Unix system in the world where yours truly logs in as "atticus". Before I was even married, I had wanted to be an Atticus to my kids, but now that they are here, their opinion about me would probably be tending more towards Attila the Hun than Atticus.

The Catcher In The Rye -- Well, what a novel! Remains fresh even after, what, 50+ years?

The Christmas Carol was a secondary reader for me while I was in the 10th grade. Such supplementary readers are supposed to ignite sparks of curiosity about great literature in kids. I feel they achieve precisely the opposite effect. Any book that I have read as a supplementary reader (in the abridged form), I have never bothered to read in its entirety. The same reason I don't like the Readers' Digest's condensed books.

3 matches out of 8 -- not bad.

The first English book I read (not counting the kids' books from the then Progress Publishers) was "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I needed a dictionary to burrow through that one, though :-)

Never got a chance to read the Hardy Boys, and Enid Blyton. The public library in our small town had only the cheapest paperbacks in its shelves -- so I got to read "The Assassin", "The Eider Sanction", and "The Honourable Schoolboy" :-) [Actually, the last one is not a cheapo, it is a classic work from le Carre', if you are into spy novels.]

Lastly, all my books (pre-College) were numbered, and indexed in a book too, like your library.

Alas, I don't read these days.

PS: I feel at home in your blog.

Neil Padayatty said...

@jithu - Well put! But, tell me, what's at churchgate?
@madv - Then I would recommend that you be one. It's one thing you shouldn't be inhibited against being.
@matter of choice - Well! I had actually given it to another Anish. But then, the only thing that matters is that the tag must go on. I hereby do tag you!
Book Tagged Anish of
@mahout - Wow! Thanks for that detailed comment. And glad that you've got more in common with me than some others whom I consider friends! If you felt at home here, then please do come back again. I'm sure I'll feel the same at yours. We'll be one big blogging family!