Thursday, June 09, 2005

the book meme baton finally edges forward ...

Finally, days (months!) after JR was kind enough to toss a wishbone my way, I've managed a unique synergy of time, space, focus and propriety to come up with my answers [elsewhere: JR's responses; Sudarshan's responses]

1. You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451! Which book do you want to be?

Simple. Fahrenheit 451. But that was an honest answer. Look at it this way: this way I preserve a record of the appalling practice of burning books and a record of the ingenious solution to the problem. Of course, cheap Matrix interpretations aside, this does bring up issues of self-awareness and recursion (which seems to subsume the first issue).

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

I have a feeling that I have. However, thanks to an increasingly everything-proof veneer of nihilistic cynicism that has built up over the years, all the roads leading back to the dark inner halls of my long-term memory are blocked. Simply put, I can't remember. I could think of a few examples from movies, but since this is a book meme, I'm sticking to the passion of the page.

3. The last book you bought is:

Bought a bunch at my first visit to the Pathfinder in Pune (which was also the last bookstore I visited during my recent trip to Pune). For sheer effect, I will choose to remember the top three on the stack: raat pashmiine kii and raavii paar (both by Gulzar and in Hindi) and Collected Plays by Mahesh Dattani. No, I rarely (very!) buy books in the US of A. The capitalistically bloated price is a big chunk of the reason (Hence, all my purchases have been from discount stores or the public library). The other reason stems from a revived (masochistic and infeasible, really) desire to read more Indian writing after having set foot on American tar. And if you think going back to Pune was the cure for this, you're mistaken. What I saw was a bunch of chains run by cerebrally dehydrated loons (Crossword, for example) that cater to superficial mainstream taste[sic]. What we need instead are stores like The International Book Service, Manney's and Pathfinder and/or perhaps a side-effect of the supply/demand phenomenon that pervades the US of A.

4. The last book you read

Selected stories of Philip K Dick, The complete war of the worlds, The King's English: a guide to modern usage by Kingsley Amis, The great American tax dodge and Nothing that meets the eye : the uncollected stories of Patricia Highsmith.

5. What are you currently reading?

If they move ... kill 'em: the life and films of Sam Peckinpah by David Weddle, Come along with me (a collection of short fiction, essays and an unfinished novel by Shirley Jackson), Neil Gaiman's wonderful Sandman series (technically graphic novels, but chock-full of a host of influences ranging from Norse mythology to William Shakespeare).

6. Five books you would take to a deserted island:

The complete Sherlock Holmes canon by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the trilogy in five parts with the bonus tail-ender by Douglas Adams, Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, the collected short stories of Philip K Dick (I'm cheating here: it's technically a 3-volume set, but I'm sure someone would do the needful for me), All the Monty Python scripts.

7. Who are you going to pass this stick to and why?

[pedantic smartass: That's whom not who!]. An unfortunate consequence of the distributed baton passing scheme, I have very few people in my immediate e-sphere to toss the bone to. Here's my mix of victims: Harish (the immediate BCQC cohort),Samrat (the salacious[sic] angle of the BCQC),Hirak,Aditya (in return for all the interesting reading recommendations I've received),Godya.

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