I picked up this meme from Yazad Jal's AnarCapLib. This is the first time I am continuing a meme for I found it interesting. It's about books and Yazad (while tagging the cartel) has generously said "All are welcome" to reply to his post. So here goes.
Total Number of Books I Own: Haven't counted. But I reckon between 500-600. There's one small cupboard packed with them at my parent's place. And two closets that my dad got a carpenter to make in some loft space so that he wouldn't have to pick up a book before he sat down. I have another two loft closets and a cabinet at my brother's place where I am staying at the moment.
Last Book I Bought: Actually the last one I booked (pre-ordered), about two days back. Harry potter and the Half Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling. And before you ask: Yes, I am a Potter fan. No, I am not ashamed of it.
Last Book I Read: Eragon by Christopher Paolini. A fantasy tale, the first part of the Inheritance Trilogy. Paolini wrote it when he was 15 and is surprisingly well written for someone so young. I guess every now and then Paolini must be feeling, If only I could go back and rewrite it now, it would be so much better. But a part of the charm of the book lies in the fact that it was written by a teenager. Is highly influenced and shaped by Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea Series, and to some extent by Harry Potter. A good read, particularly if you are fond of SF & F.
Five Books That Mean a Lot to Me:
Where do I start? And which ones to leave out?
Here's a list. Most of my friends know that I prefer fiction to non-fiction but I do have my favorites. This only lists some of my favorite fiction.
The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh
Personally I think this is the best novel in Indian Writing in English to have come in the past 20 years or so. Very lyrical, a great narrative technique and characters that stay with you even after years of reading the book.
The Crow Road by Iain Banks
For some reason it reminds me of The Shadow Lines, probably because the narrators and the narrative technique are so similar. I consider Crow Road to be an even better work than Bank's cult classic The Wasp Factory. A great novel that interweaves stories across two families and two generations. Iain Banks is a master in describing the setting of his stories -- In The Crow Road you can see and feel the rain drenched Ireland. And like The Shadow Lines, great characterization.
Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie
If only Rushdie had stuck to writing children's fables and essays. I feel this is Rushdie's best effort, better than Midnight's Children. The beauty of Haroun and the Sea of Stories lies in that it transcends the Kids' story genre effortlessly. An adult can read it as an allegory and at the same time marvel at its rich imagination. And it is amazing that a novelist under the threat of Fatwa for his writings can come up with something that so optimistic and so defiant. Something that much affirms the power of stories and story telling.
The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov
A fading Empire, The Encyclopedia Galactica, Psychohistory and the plan of one man to establish a new galactic empire in a 1000 years. Science Fiction at its best.
Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger / Cocoon by Bhalchandra Nemade (translated from Kosala originally in Marathi)
Yeah! I know I have to specify only one but both the books are very similar. Their protagonists could be clones of each other. And like The Catcher in the Rye, Cocoon too ends with the narrator saying that he is not going to tell more of his story. Two novels that handle the theme of alienation superbly. Cocoon is also excellently recreates the atmosphere of Pune and its academia.
Tag five people and have them do this on their blogs:
Hmm... this is a bit difficult. I know and would like quite a few of the people I know to respond to this one. But they don't (actually are too lazy to blog) blog. Hopefully they'll respond to this or parts of this meme in the comments.
Here are five bloggers (either colleagues or ex-colleagues) who I would like to tag:
In Confidence (Click to read: Book Tag: You're it!)
VeBlogs (click to read: Tagging Books)
narcosynthesis (click to read: Tagging Books)
Cogitations, Reflections and Pericopes (click to read: Got Tagged!)
Like Yazad, I would like to say "All are welcome." This tag is not limited to the five bloggers listed here. Other bloggers and non-bloggers are welcome too.
Amit Varma who was tagged by Yazad has posted his response here.
And another update here.
And some more book tags I liked:
Duck of Destiny - Samit Basu
Jabberwock - Jai Arjun Singh
Kitabkhana - Hurree Babu
indianwriting - Uma Mahadevan-Dasgupta
Update 2: The meme that hit the Indian blogosphere has now spawned. Some of the tagged "victims" have come up with interesting variations (or additional headings/questions). Uma of Indianwriting suggested "the one book you couldn't finish reading?/the most unreadable thing you've read?" She had tagged Anand of Locana who added it to his meme.
Books You Couldn't Finish Reading/Most Unreadable Thing You've Read:
Here are mine.
Update 3: Worst Books Ever/ The Most Overrated Books/ Purple Paragraphs