Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I've always loved books. In the past I was a voracious bookworm, albeit a choosy one, but now as I laughingly explain to anyone who cares to listen, ever since I got high-tech I haven't had much time for books anymore. Any spare moment and I'm either at my computer or tweaking my cellphone. But once in a while I do still read a good book and I count myself incredibly fortunate to have been able to lay hands earlier this year on Memoirs of a Geisha which was a fabulous eye-opening read, and just a couple of days ago, Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner.

I'd read the review of Runner some time ago but it hadn't really prepared me for the absorbing quality of the book. And the ambience helped some because I began reading it amid the dirt and gravel of the local cemetery where I was keeping an eye on the workers repairing my parents' gravesites. It turned out to be fascinating... and part of its' fascination lies in the fact that it's about a country that I've never really had much interest in. Sure I'd heard about the "forgotten war", of the inhumanly repressive Taliban regime, of the US playing Big Brother and ousting the black ones in the aftermath of 9/11... all the stuff that comes on the BBC and CNN. But The Kite Runner brings all that to life and in a neatly worked out plot whose careful construction reminds me of one of my favourite contemporary writers, Amitav Ghosh (if you haven't read his The Shadow Lines yet, do it pronto). Also, both Memoirs and Runner are about cultures other than the usual American/western which don't really have anything new much to offer anymore. Kudos to Mr Hosseini for this brilliant piece of writing.


  1. two of my favs too jon..and yes The kite runner is one of the best book i`ve read in a long long long time...i loved every page of it too..i`m reading `Shantaram' these days..kinda thick..but pretty good too ..i`m just halfway thru though..

  2. How's Shantaram? I heard abt it from Mossy and Jigme but I haven't come across it around here yet.

  3. the shadowy ensemble at first glance seems to belong to a portly septuagenarian with a pronounced moustache :)
    It takes effort to conceive that what appear as the nose/moustache/chin are in fact the curly locks, given the author of this post used to be a woman till very recently :))
    Would the lady mind putting a better shadow-profile that leaves not an iota of doubt? :D

    btw, I agree that though the urge to get one's hand (and eyes) on as many books still remains, book-reading (as opposed to reading blogs,mails,...) as a habit is only a shortening shadow of the childhood/teenage passion.
    That still does not prevent me from carrying a book with me everywhere - in my laptop case, on a journey, must for any vacation (more than one here), and most importantly on my bed - so I spend a few minutes with them, before I switch off the bedside lamp.

    Gone though are the days when I used to slurp a book/novel in less than 24 hrs flat.

    Also gone is the conviction that a book - once started reading - MUST be finished, howsoever boring, before moving onto next...

    my current read? none from the world of fiction.. (last was coelho's 11 minutes in summer and collected stories by sashi deshpande).. but i'm onto a difficult book - everything and more - by david foster wallace - that brings out the history of math in general and infinity in particular.. donot pity me. i'm self-pitied!!

  4. tinks, rest assured I'm no "portly septuagenarian with a pronounced moustache" arghhhh!!! It's a very very busy time for me out here so no better shadow pic to put up right now. Maybe if you're extra good and put up yours first...;)
    I hope you're through with that ghastly sounding book on maths...ugh. Throw it away!