HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARCEL PROUST!

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It’s not a belated birthday wish. It’s a continuing one. Breathing in the Proustian air is one of my most favorite stress-busters since the time I have been introduced to it. An air so rich yet so clear, it permeates into my lungs with its slight, caressing bend, filling me with a sense of beauty that no amount of dark inhalation can pollute. Proust was special, even as a child. Which 14 year old would scribble such answers to a random, vanilla questionnaire after all? Even if I squeeze my most refined juices, I won’t be able to drench his intellect an inch. Continue reading

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Its Bloomsday!

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For a bibliophile who fell in love with Joyce’s vast, exploratory, swashbuckling devil-may-care attitudinal writing last year, this is a first anniversary of sorts. Ulysses was, is and I am certain would be, a book to read and drive rebirths, to re-read. Should I say I loved the book because I understood it, I would be misleading myself and anyone reading this, for how exactly does one understand a multiverse of human behavior, seeped in the deep undertones of societal, political, religious, emotional, philosophical, psychological, linguistic, academic and mysterious hues, across a pantheon of 800 riveting pages, in one, single reading? Well, atleast I could not. But what I could, was to love it; like how one does when one comes across a beautiful thing – enigmatic, partially comprehensible but beautiful nonetheless. Continue reading

Karl Ove Knausgaard – A Chequered Enigma

No, it hasn’t anything to do with courage. It’s more that I was so desperate and so frustrated. The only way I could trick myself into writing was by ­doing it like this. By setting myself the premise that I would write very quickly and not edit, that everything should be in it. Without that, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.

While I still look at this guy with apprehension, fighting an image of excessive palavering and reducible blasphemy, I can’t help but marvel at the above quote from this interview, which speaks exactly what I believe as a writer. I am reading you soon, Mr. Knausgaard; if only to assess the veracity of the above statement.

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[Image courtesy: http://www.nytimes.com ]

 

Book Review: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (1914)

7588A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

APRIL 19 (Evening): Alright. This is insane. It has been almost eighteen, 18 (has more impact) hours since I sat down to scribble something about what is going on in my mind but the right words are still elusive. And this eluding is colluding my mind no bounds. No, I did not mean to create any sense of rhythmic rhyme here. Because life is no rhyme. And far from rhythmic. It is a battle – fierce, dark, compounded with many elements and munitions and machineries and what not. It is a forever raging battle where I always find myself fighting, well, ME. Yes, I am always up against myself. A Present ME vs A Future ME, A Strong ME vs A Weak ME, A Hopeful ME vs A Dejected ME, A Sure ME vs A Doubtful ME. The last one, seems, perennially raging, blazing like the eternal flame of a glorious soul. Ah, Soul . Why did I even write that word? While the whole world tells me it is the purest part of a body, the guardian of noble deeds and the first thing to leave a body that has rotten beyond repair, I have seen it the most corrupt. Continue reading

2015 – My Year in Books

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It was a year of frenzied reading. And for once, the pace was fueled not by madness but serenity. The more serene I felt, the deeper I sunk – sunk into the world of books, of characters, of emotions, of questions, of dilemmas, of contemplation, of statements and above all, of many truths. That this world has such remarkable talent and that I am fortunate to have access to some of these documented and published texts left me tranquil in excitement and content in wait.

I am a person with frugal goals and at the beginning of this year, I narrowed my reading goal to just one: spending atleast 60% of my reading time on new (to me) authors. And thankfully, the year obliged. I read Banville, BarnesBernhard, Calvino, Camus, Coetzee, Dostoyevsky, EliotFlaubert, Gogol, Hamsun, Joyce, Kawabata, KrasznahorkaiKrzhizhanovsky, Kundera, Mann, Mistry, Modiano, MunroProust, Pynchon, Rilke, Sartre, Sebald, Steinbeck, VesaasWoolf and Zweig for the first time and the experience ranged from exhilaration to numbness. Continue reading

Book Review: The Complete Short Stories of Marcel Proust by Marcel Proust (2001)

51P-jDkx97L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The Complete Short Stories of Marcel Proust by Marcel Proust
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

Mezzanine.
That is where my soul lies right now.
Elevated, with the soft avalanche of rippling visions,
erupting from the nubile eyes of a young Proust, from a lowly level that
seethed with diminished dignity and blackened clarity
to a mezzanine level, worthy of a corner seat
in a giant hall of evolved consciousness.

Analysing discarded memories from the forgotten boxes,
left lying beneath unpleasant mounds of soiled fates and muddy losses,
had seldom turned so aromatic an episode, so imminent an occurrence.
Like a foreigner, unknowingly leaving his secret trail in a new land,
Proust suspends slings from the trees of solitude and
provides levers for the uneven roads of melancholy
for the subsequent travellers to embrace,
a road that is guiding rather than deflecting. Continue reading

Juxtaposed Notes

Palimpsest (Family)

Two days ago, it so happened that I was passing by my bookshelves and my glance fell on a book. Given by a friend, to read and return, it lied pensively, giving me nasty stares with a disdain for my delay in meeting it. So, on impulse (and driven by a bit of guilt), I picked it up to read. Of course, it helped that the author was a favorite one.

I was only at the fifth page when I encountered a  few words, scribbled in fading blue ink on the left side of a paragraph. Well, it is not the first time I have come across a scribbling on a book. People have a bad, nagging habit of doing it on books from the public libraries and I have had my share of blue and black, indecipherable pulp leaping at me suddenly. Continue reading

11 Unusual Book Stores

Bart's Book Store - California

I love e-books, I do. But ask me this: What gives you the the happiest feeling in your world of reading? And I would say: Reading in my library! Ah! Sinking into my little cozy library, books staring at me with wistful eyes from all around and in a continuous, hypnotic way, closing in on me with a serene vial of magic elixir. The smell of their skins, tantalizing across ages and length. Like a drunkard, I get drawn to a book store at the whiff of its inhabitants and at the sight of their sheets from a distance. Here are some unusual book stores I would love to visit some day! Do you wanna join? 🙂 Head here .