Wednesday, May 07, 2014

New Used Books - In Search of Books

When it comes to reading, I am omnivorous. I read a lot of materials. However, even omnivores have their choicest food if it comes down to choosing. And no one makes me realise this than Kinna. More than 98 percent of our discussions are centred on books and most often that is my most amazing moments. I love to talk about books - read, unread, released, newly published, etc. I just love books. When Kinna saw a post of some books I have read, she wondered whether my shelf is depleted of books. And alas, she was right. If you have fewer books to choose from, you have to make do with all books you have skipped over time.

Consequently, when I saw that a Used Books dealer has spread his wares on the pavement of the Madina New Road road, I decided to take a look. What I have found, after years of searching and buying books, is that one could find strange and sought-after titles in such obscure locations. Except that the condition of the book cannot be guaranteed. In a country where booksellers are not necessarily book-lovers and so marvellous books are hardly stocked and bookshops are filled to the brim with text-books, these sources are very important. From my Madina New Road Used Book Dealer, I found the following exciting titles:
  1. My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk. This is a rare find. Orhan Pamuk a Turkish novelist who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2006. It is said that this particular book facilitated that award. My happiness is also in part due to the fact that I have not read any Turkish writer.
  2. A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel. Hilary Mantel became a popular name, to some of us, when she won the Booker Prize with her book Wolf Hall in 2009 and then won it again with the sequel - the second in a proposed trilogy - Bringing Up the Bodies in 2012. She is the first person to have her consecutive works win the Man Booker Prize. Whether the third book will win her another Booker is yet to be seen, but it also means that she is an author worth the read and if I won't get those two books, I will make do with those that are available. In fact, A Place of Greater Safety was voted as Sunday Express Book of the Year in 1992. Her list of awards is impressive.
  3. Babel Tower by A. S. Byatt. I should not have purchased another Byatt but far from it I have one - Still Life - sitting on my shelf. I read and did not enjoy very much her Booker-winning book Possession. However, the reason could be peculiar to that book and I have try her other books in order to come to a more balanced conclusion.
  4. Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh. Every reader chooses his books carefully. Selecting a book is a very difficult process because unless it is a reread, the reader will go into the book blind. Even when one has read reviews and summaries they are always different from the actual reading. Reviews cannot capture and present the prose of a book to the reader. It can only talk about it. Hence, readers have all sorts of means for selecting their books, including depending on long- and shortlisted books for awards. One award I rely upon is the Man Booker Prize. Yes, it has its own controversies; but it is more likely to deliver great books to the reader than any other award. Sea of Poppies was shortlisted for the 2008 Man Booker Prize.
  5. Guardian of the Dawn by Richard Zimler. This is a complete gamble. I have not heard of the author or the book. I just chose it because of the reviews at the back and also because of the religious designs on the cover. The author is said to have lectured on Portuguese-Jewish culture all over the world. I am still in darkness on this. Every reader gambles. Sometimes he is luck to find an author who jumps onto the favourites list; at other times, he finds an author to blacklist.
  6. Charlotte's Web by E. B. White. Yes, I know this is for children but it is too popular not to have a look. Perhaps some of us have to plug some of our childhood reading gaps. But this would go the kids definitely.
  7. I got another children's book with three titles by Roald Dahl. Again, Roald Dahl belongs to the familiar-but-not-read authors. The titles are:
    1. The BFG
    2. Matilda
    3. George's Marvellous Medicine
  8. The final book is a science fiction by Douglas Adams with four titles. The first title could be found on a lot of list. I am gradually making my way into science fiction after reading Asimov's The Foundation Trilogy and Herbert's Dune. The titles in this book are:
    1. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
    2. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
    3. Life, the Universe and Everything
    4. So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
These are books I have added to my shelf and which should spark my reading interest in the coming weeks, hopefully. Which of these have you read and what do you think about them?


  1. I actually have not heard about any of them. You really acquired a whole lot of books. No African Lit right?

    1. Yes no African Lit. Getting them or looking for them is becoming more and more like looking for water on the desert. Very bad.

  2. Interesting list: some good reads among them, some I've haven't heard of before

    1. Chei!!!!!!!! You bi really that man of books. I haven't read any. I don't even know the authors. Lol. kidding -I know Orhan Pamuk and Hilary Mantel though i haven't read any of them. A friend of mine in the US has to mail me her Booker winning "Bring up the bodies" He bought it already.


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