Prufrock's Page

Saturday, June 04, 2005


Well, one has been tagged, er, memed, er, whatever. And the Committee For Fair Blogging Practices has been knocking on one's door, demanding a response. So here goes:

Total number of books one owns: Too many to count, but not so many as to be sated. When one last moved, three months ago, there were 29 medium-sized cartons -- about 12 of these remain unpacked as there's no more space on the shelves.

Last book one bought: The Whole Story And Other Stories by Ali Smith; Gilead by Marilynne Robinson.

Last book one read: Um, one is about to complete five or six, actually. Apart from the two above, there's Sailing The Wine-Dark Sea: Why The Greeks Matter by Thomas Cahill, Lighthousekeeping by Jeanette Winterson and Opening Skinner's Box: Great Psychological Experiments of the 20th Century by Lauren Slater

Five books that mean a lot: Where does one start? A feeble, arithmetic-defying attempt, in no particular order:

Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie: The book that effectively messed up one's mind for good by making one want to write and simultaneously making one realise that one would never produce something quite so extraordinary.

The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath: Now that one is in one's dotage, one realises that both are marred by juvenalia, but when one was a teenager, nothing was as staggering as the experience of reading about Holden and Esther. The next logical step was Philip Roth's Portnoy's Complaint. Which, of course, led one to other books by Roth. And Malamud. And Updike. And Bel- ["Stop it!" -- The Committee For Fair Blogging Practices]

The Mahabharata: Family feuds, blood and gore, warfare, infidelity, much more satisfying than the Ramayana. One isn't referring here to any one specific English translation, but all of them, from Rajagopalachari to Narayan to Buck to Lal. Haven't yet caught up with the multi-volume translations, unfortunately.

The lyrics to Pink Floyd's The Wall: The soundtrack to college life -- one recalls painstakingly copying the lyrics (from an LP owned by a friend) into an old exercise book and discovering some time later that one had memorised the entire thing.

The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler and The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro: The characters of Macon and Stevens stayed in mind long, long after one finished the books.

Men writing about women: Leo on Anna; Thomas on Tess; Gustave on Emma; Henry on Isabel -- each author obsessed with his character, each book so wonderful.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov: No other book has made the English language sing and dance so wonderfully.

Tag five people and have them do this on their blogs: Well, almost all of those whom one would like to pass this on to have already been tagged, so here's an attempt at widening the net:

J.A. Prufrock (The Original)
The Letterhead
Dina Mehta
Hemangini Gupta
Sanket Patil


  • (To anyone clicking 'Sanket Patil') The URL mentioned in the blog wont work anymore. I removed the _ that was causing a few problems. The URL is

    By Blogger Sanket, at 7:25 PM  

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