08 July 2008

Books & Writers & More

I was looking at some of my old posts and I find it disappointing that I write a lot about hurting and other negative things, but nothing much about what I like, and what's good in my life. And there is a lot of that. So starting today, I vow to write something about what I think makes life worth living - big or small, as long as it's positive.

And as a first post of this great new attitude of mine :), I will write a few things about the one constant love of my life - books.

For as long as I can remember, reading has been the one activity that I've never stopped enjoying. I liked reading from the moment I learned how to, I remember being a kid in school and going shopping for school books with my mom at the start of each new school year, and then finish reading my entire English books before school even started.

Some facts about books, reading, & me:

* I'm not an intelligent reader, just an extremely emotional one. I never understand the literary analyses and intellectual critics.
* I love poetry and I prefer the classics - Longfellow, Keats, the Bronte sisters, Shelley, and also a few more recent ones like Maya Angelou & Pablo Neruda.
*I also love Russian writers - Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anton Chekhov, Alexander Pushkin, Nikolai Gogol & Leo Tolstoy. It seems Russia used to be full of brilliant men, I wonder what's wrong with modern Russia :P
*I think Dostoevsky's 'The Brothers Karamazov' is possibly the best book I've ever read, that and Lewis Carroll's 'Alice in Wonderland.' These are two books I can read over and over and over again and still want to read some more. I used to hate people who would act like they were intellectually superior because they read Dostoevsky and others like him and they'd talk about existentialism and oedipalism and that kind of shit, but they don't even really like it but do it all just to impress people. But a friend literally forced me to read 'Crime and Punishment' and I realised I loved the book and its author, and I've been reading him ever since.
Books I recently read (ie last two months):

1. 'The Kite Runner' - Khaled Hosseini (Kinda late because I never found it very appealing and it took a friend a very long time to finally convince me to read it)
2. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
3. Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt
4. Measuring the World - Daniel Kelhmann (Crosswords recommended, didn't like it)
5. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen - Paul Torday
6. Literary Lapses and Nonsense Novels - Stephen Leacock
7. The Girl in Blue - P.G. Wodehouse

* I also am a very fast reader, and a good one in the sense that I remember well the things I read. And also a dedicated one, I don't mind being bleary and puffy-eyed and sleep-deprived the next day if it means staying up all night finishing a good book tonight.
* I want the things I read to make me feel things, evoke strong emotions in me, I want to cry over my books, I want them to make me laugh out loud even when I'm alone and it's 3 AM. And even occasionally give me nightmares. I want them to make me think, and maybe even make me a better person, and also make me forget my eyes burn and that my head hurts.
* I generally hate romance novels. However, I do like some of the classic ones, the one romance novel I've never stopped loving is 'The Lady of the Camellias' by Alexander Dumas jr.
* I like sad writers, and the neurotic ones, the crazy ones, and all their dark thoughts. Poe would be a good example.
* I like ghost stories, but again, only the classic ones. I have quite a big collection of Victorian ghost stories.
* Going home when all my friends are out, and I know I'm going to be alone, and I know I have nothing to do, and worst of all, I know I have nothing to read makes me dread going home.
* I don't like Indian writers, I think they are big show-offs, and are mostly pretentious. I always get the feeling while reading them that they're sitting with several fancy dictionaries while writing, and for every word that they're trying to use, they flip through the dictionary to see if there's a bigger, fancier-sounding, more incomprehensible version of the word that they can use.

So you can see with the amount of time I spend at work, and the amount of time I spend reading, and the amount of time I spend going out, I am not a person that needs a lot of sleep. And the amount of time it takes me to read one book ensures that I spend as much on books as I do on clothes. Maybe clothes are more expensive, but at least I don't have to buy one every few days like I do books.

Currently reading: The Brothers Karamazov :D Yes, again. I found a new translation that I hadn't seen before last week and bought it. Also, I'm out of anything else to read. And I will be going to pick up some new books soon, so I'm open to suggestions.



Anonymous said...

How about 'Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy' by Douglas Adams? All five volumes :)

Jerusha said...

anonymous - thanks, got that noted down for my next trip to the bookstore.

Calliopia said...

I write to vent too sometimes. Great way to get anger and resentments off your system. And not to worry, lit analysis and stuff is for the hardcore lit intelligentsia. Your reading for enjoyment is just the way it should be.

Personally I don't like Russian lit much partly because the names are hard to remember and the worlds they portray tend to be somewhat morbid and boringly westernised. I mean western cultures in lit is a bit of a been there, done that sort of thing. Which is partly why I love Khaled Hosseini, most Indian writers and others who give us glimpses of cultures and worlds other than the western.

And please do check out the poetry of Nikki Giovanni. Like Angelou, she's a Black American poet and really very, very good.

Jerusha said...

J - I don't understand it (as always) but I somehow always can identify myself or relate to lots of the Russian stories. Maybe I was Russian in my previous life :)

And thank you thank you for introducing me to Nikki, I've been reading her all day. And you're right, she's terrific!

Puia said...

hehehe, a dik khawp mai.. keipawh ka hardisk a chhe palh vek mai a, a chhunga ka thuziak awm te nen.. ka blog ah a lo la awm a, thlalak hlui thenkhatte pawh.. a ti chi khawp mai..

A ngaihnawm thin e hotunu.. fiamthu chang te, thupuifun deuh post chang te hi a awm ve tur alom, hringnun hi chutiang chu a ni hrim2 tur niin ka hria..:)

Everyman said...

Your description of Indian writing was hilarious!!

If you liked 100 years of solitude, you perhaps would like Love in the Time of Cholera..read it if you havent..and yes.. Hitchhikers Guide, 3 men in a boat are 2 books that would lift you up anytime :-)

Calliopia said...

So glad you like Nikki. I just love her Omelet poem. She was on TV news a lot last year btw....the Korean kid who went on a shooting spree at Virginia Tech was a student of hers. Creepy.

illusionaire said...

I try my best to read such books, but my I simply can’t find my interest… :-(

Right now I am giving it another try and am currently reading “Half of a yellow sun” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I come back from work, take a shower and go to bed immediately. It takes me just 4-5 pages of that book to put me to sleep, which I think is actually a good method of taking a good rest before the work grind next day.

Jerusha said...

boss puia - Ka thil hlauh ber pakhat ani, ka computer hi chhe vek palh ta se, ka nun hi kim lo huai khawpin thu ziah/thlalak etc ka lose nasa ang. Ka tap nasa viau ang lol

everyman - so you found it funny, the Indian writers description, now what I'd like to know is if you agree or not. Some friends absolutely resent it when I say that..

Jerusha said...

J - I love the omelet poem too! "ate
a hot poem... after loving you" It all seems to simple, and I always wonder why didn't I ever think of that! I could've written that lol

Kimkim - African writer lam maw? Heng ho hi ka chhiar ngai vak lo a, let me know how it is.

Everyman said...

Well, I do think that they over complicate things and they can't tell a story in a simple enough fashion :-) Maybe to be writing today, is to be writing complicated .

Jerusha said...

:-) everyman, you're so diplomatic! haha but yeah, you're right. Simple people, simple country, overcomplicating lives and books :)

And I bought 3 men in a boat, will tell you how I like it once I'm done.