Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Ta-da I've been tagged.

By Jane Sunshine. Thank you kindly

Luckily its about my favourite subject. Books. I hope I've done this justice. Here goes:

1. What is the total number of books you've owned?
I own books in different continents – too heavy to transport, to precious to give away. On my bookshelves in India I think I own about 200 books. My mum claims that ‘we’ own them – I beg to disagree! Got my brother to count up the four book towers that hide the mirror on our dressing table. Rough count indicates about 180 books in London. Other books have been lent to travelling cousins and friends and never returned. I still consider them mine. So around the world, in all, I would say I am the proud owner of near 400 books.

2. What is the last book you bought?
Ash & Bone by John Harvey. From WH Smith at Euston. And I read it before a whole pile of others I had previously bought. Never read JH before but it was a fast paced murder mystery solved by a retired detective with his own personal issues. Obviously. Very good bus/ train/ plane reading. On the sofa it was just OK.

3. What is the last book you've read?
How to be Lost by Amanda Eyre Ward
. Good but not great. Came highly recommended but sadly did not leave a dent.

4. What are you currently reading?
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. The first novel I've read that is connected with Afghanistan. A present from my friend K on her recent trip from Mumbai. So far I’m loving it.

5. What are the 5 books that have meant a lot to you or that you particularly enjoyed?
I don’t like shortlists. They are constricting. I’ve been influenced by a few of the books I’ve reviewed on this blog in the past and although some of them mean a lot to me I’m keen to concentrate and think of 5 other books that mean something as well.

What the Body Remembers by Shauna Singh Baldwin. This is probably my all time favourite book. I’ve read and re-read it so many times and each time it’s a revelation. I won’t say a lot – I do want to do a proper book review for this one – but it’s my on a lonely island book.

Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris. This is her best book, better even than the much acclaimed and movie turned Chocolat. She manages to make any situation shimmer with magic. Joanne Harris has an innate ability to see things in the distance and write with a complex charm. This book will seep into your being and make you feel warm and loved.

The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh. Such a powerful writer and such a powerful theme. It taught me to look beyond what I know of my country and even if imagined, to appreciate the complex diversity that is our sub-continent. Set in the Sunderbans in North East India, environmental issues form the base for intricate human interactions between an American Scientist and the various classes of local people. The prose delicately brings to the fore the plight of displaced people and their struggle for land, and more importantly the struggle between the fragile ecosystem and its human inhabitants. It’s a wonderful read that gently weaves together people from different classes and culture, and breaks down all barriers of gender and language.

Abandon by Pico Iyer. This is a departure from his brilliant travel writing. A spiritual mystery that makes you sit up and think about the choices you make, And here is an interview with its author.

Memory Box by Margaret Forster. This is why. Beautiful.

6) What book(s) would you wish to buy next?
I’m a sucker for anything by Indian authors. It’s my medication for homesickness. So my list is ever growing (will be fulfilled on my next India trip and then the cycle will start again) as the number of young Indians putting pen to paper gloriously grows. My list of ‘want this’ is about 50 long but I’ll just pare it down for this:

The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

Weight Loss by Upamanyu Chatterjee. Mainly because everything he writes is always just so funny.

The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh. It’s bound to be sublime.

Babyji by Abha Devesar. I’m a sucker for anything about my lovely Delhi. God I miss that city.

Two Lives by Vikram Seth. I’ve read everything else he’s ever written. I don’t see why I should stop.

The Bouganvillea House by Kalpana Swaminathan. Its got some good reviews.

7. What book(s) caught your attention but you never had a chance to read?
The Argumentative Indian by Amartya Sen. I keep meaning to but I wonder if it will hold my attention

The whole series of Ramayana interpretations by Ashok K. Banker. They’ve been highly recommended but I just have not bothered. Soon.

8. What book(s) that you've owned for so long but never read?
A house by the River by Sid Smith. Bought at a bargain bookshop about a year ago as the jacket flap read well. The inside was too slow to follow. I relegated it to the bottom of my book towers after chapter 2 and have not bothered ever since. Don’t know that I ever will.

9. Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?
Here are a few bloggers whose book habits/loves/hates it would be interesting to find out. I know it says 3 - I’ve put in 4 incase one of them declines:

Shoefiend: Because I can and with her writing wouldn’t it be great to know what her inspirations are?!

JAP: Again it’s his writing that intrigues me. Where does it all come from

Keya: The influence of all her travels will probably make this a wonderful list

Inspired Shyamala: Where does she get her inspiration from. Again how interesting it will be.

I can't wait.


  1. Oooo...nice. I have been meaning to read What the Body Remembers. Now especially after you talk about it in such glowing terms. And Ghosh, Iyer and Seth. My favourites as well.

  2. Anonymous5:56 AM

    Ramayan by Ashok Banker...could not get past 10 pages...maybe it is just me!!! 40in 2006

  3. Ahhh, the tag game.. this time about books. Sehr interessant!

  4. Oh...I am so honoured! This is the fist time I have been tagged/meme - ed. And it is especially exciting since it is on books! Thanks!

  5. Young lady, thank you for effectively distracting me on a *&#%^ day.

    Now I have to be all corporate and keen and focussed, while what I'm really thinking is, "Now does Robert Pirsig score over T.H. White, or should I just go with Ronald Rouel?"

    If you permit, I shall upbraid you on e-mail (and also inquire whether that 'intriguing' is sarcasm)


  6. I'm also reading Kite Runner right now....need to cut down on blogging in order to complete the book.

  7. Shock Horror! Tagged! NO NO NO! But since I want to make sure I'm still invited over for your wonderful lunch/dinners I shall comply. Sob

  8. Jane, I guarantee you will love 'What the Body remembers'!

    40in2006, suggestions are 108 pro and 1 against. Balance hunh!

    Me, Yes the tag game. You I shall include in my next tag list!

    Keya, Waiting for your list

    JAP, that was no sarcasm sir. I do mean it. As for distracting you glad to do what I can!

    Kaps, I'm almost done with Kite Runner. Such a brilliant book; I'm definitely going to review it.

    Shoefiend, Beside your adoring public which will oooh and aah over your book selection, I promise you a fondue meal soon!

  9. The tag post is up. My fondue fork / pointy thing is being polished (don;t get any dirty ideas now )

  10. Anonymous6:00 PM

    Some very good recommendations here! Must lay my hands on "What the Body remembers" now that it's pretty apparent that you are a "serious" book reviewer and you have really good taste! Agree with most all recommendations - I am a big fan of most Indian authors myself.

    Although currently reading "Wild ducks flying backward" - Tom Robbins. Chuckles guaranteed - very Peter Mayle/Bill Bryson-ish - if you like that sort of stuff.

    Also just finished "The Blue Bedspread" by Raj Kamal Jha - very stylistic and image and detail rich, if you know what I mean, but I am personally not too fond of deviant subjects, like incest...sorry for an extra long comment, but haven't come across any book blogs so far, so was visibly enamored and got completely carried away.

    Equally so, by your impressive collection of 400 tomes, I am nearing 200 myself and running out of space!

  11. Anonymous6:03 PM

    One more for the road - Kite Runner is another stunning book, much like The Hungry Tide - easily the two best books of 2005. More reasons to come by here more often...

  12. 30, you've unstoppered a genie. The book meme ... 2000 words and still pouring out. At least it will teach you not to tag me again!

    Mohana, nice to fins another Pater Mayle - Bill Bryson enthusiast. Thanks for reminding me of Peter, I should mention him in my post.