Candle-lit dinners, moonlight strolls, night-outs are all fun, but when it comes to me, nothing does it better than a book. On my birthday today, I got 5 books and I have gift coupons left for any other book that I could want.
Each book that I got/bought today has a story to say. The story of how they got to me, that is.
Less than a week ago, I went along with a couple of friends, to a bookstore here. While looking through the exhaustive collection and continually wondering about the fact that 'there are just so many books out there and so little time', I got hold of Shashi Tharoor's The Great Indian Novel. Now, Mr. Tharoor is one of my favourite people on Twitter - an excellent writer, be it in 140 characters, or one large book. The book's back cover quoted someone saying ' Perhaps the best work of fiction written by an Indian ' while another reviewer remarks - 'Every sane Indian should buy a copy of this book'.
Perhaps the second comment hit me most, since I went to my friend and told her about how we'd missed out on such a great book. Voila, today, I open the gift my friends give me, and there's the book. A beautiful moment of bliss when I saw the familiar cover. I told you- books make my day.
And then, my Mum gave me the most wonderful gift of them all - a gift voucher worth quite a lot of money and asked me to buy as many books as I want. That was bliss. My weakness for political, India-related books is quite well-known to anyone who knows me. Predictably, I picked M.J.Akbar's biography of Nehru- Nehru: The Making of India. Both of these men are people I love to read/read about. It's a huge book and I hope it is a fitting tribute to a leader of Nehru's stature.
India After Gandhi was the next book I picked. Another HUGE book. Written by eminent author Ramachandra Guha and praised as the 'Book of the Year' by the Economist, Wall Street Journal, Outlook etc, this book, I think, should be bought by every Indian. I'm looking forward to reading it.
I bought Jane Eyre. I've read it before, of course, but it's been quite some time and I need a reread, so I figured that I should buy the book for myself. Ever since I saw BBC's version of Jane Eyre ( yes, the one starring Toby Stephens as Mr. Rochestor), I've wanted to read through the book again.
Finally, the most expensive book that I bought today: India Remembered by Pamela Mountbatten. I just couldn't resist buying the book. It's an insider's view of the last days of the British in India - one subject that I find myself absolutely addicted to. It has valuable letters,a treasure-trove of beautiful photographs of moments that made India what it is. I decided this book is any collector's 'must-buy'. I'm no great collector of artifacts, books related to that period, but flipping through the pages of the book, written by the daughter of India's last viceroy, I couldn't help but get the book for myself. I think its one of those books to be preserved and handed down from generation to generation.
And what's the irony of all this? I can't read all this now because I have some excellent books waiting to be read, books that need to be returned to the library. I'm reading Tharoor's India: From Midnight to the Millenium and I'm looking forward to reading the much-acclaimed book by Markus Zusak - The Book Thief, as well as George Orwell's epic Nineteen Eighty-four. I'm looking forward to reading and reviewing them all!
P.S. If you have a friend who you know is a book-lover, gift them books. Nothing can make them happier. Seriously.