Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Book tag

Thanks for the tag maisnon !

1) One book that changed your life?

I can't think of one that's literally changed my life but a book that resonated with me on a personal level is Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things. I read it long after it came out and wasn't sure it could measure up to the hype. It described a world that I was really familiar with but had never before seen described in print. And described so accurately on so many levels --- not just the recognizable characters and places and happenings, but also her use of language. Those word-games that she plays, that some might think frivolous, I thought, captured the way Indian kids use the English language. [Ok, I'll stop trying to be M.Kakutani now. Or M.Vij, for that matter]. I was also relieved to finally be able to answer the question "You're Indian, but why is your last name an anglo-saxon first name ?" with "Read this book".

2) One book you have read more than once?

I was going to say that the exciting prose and plot of [insert-textbook-name-here] kept me coming back for more, but realized that there isn't even a textbook that I've read all the way through twice.

3) One book you would want on a desert island?

A Practical Guide to Ship-building ? Yes, another cop-out (with apologies to GK Chesterton).

4) One book that made you cry?

Hmmm. The only one that comes to mind is "What's So Amazing About Grace" by Philip Yancey. My younger, less cynical, less skeptical, self was easily moved by stories of selflessness and grace. Later when I heard the song "Grace" on U2's ATYCLB I was convinced that Bono had also read the book [and according to the internets, I might be right].

5) One book that made you laugh?

Only one ? There's Them: Adventures with Extremists by Jon Ronson which describes some interesting characters that Ronson spent a lot of time with. In my mind Ronson, Sedaris and Dave Eggers form the TAL posse of really funny writers (because TAL is where I first heard them). Ronson, like Sedaris, also has a hilarious voice (literally). When I read his stuff, I hear his voice reading it to me in my head, and it's even funnier.

6) One book you wish had been written?

How to have your cake and eat it perhaps?

7) One book you wish had never been written?

I hate to be a downer here, but ... The Left Behind series ? I do not need to have read a sentence of that tripe to wish it had never been written. When a piece of fiction forces a literalist nineteenth-century interpretation on an allegorical first-century text, bad things happens. What bad things you ask ? Otherwise mild-mannered, (presumably) well-meaning people start cheering for ethnic cleansing, the destruction of the environment and nuclear war.

8) One book you are reading currently?

White Teeth by Zadie Smith. I've been reading it in tiny bites for several weeks now and I hope to finish it during the 8+ hrs that I'll be spending in aircraft this week.

9) One book you have been meaning to read?

I've been meaning to get through the second half of Life of Pi after I abandoned it halfway and was told that there was a payoff at the end. My friend's copy has been lying unopened on my shelf for several months now.

It's hard to choose who to tag from my vast readership. Perhaps I'll go with the 'B's'. So badmash, bdeshini and brimful --- you're all tagged (whenever you get around to reading this post, that is).


Anonymous brimful said...

Thanks for the tag! Also, thanks for enlightening me about Jon Ronson- since Eggers, Sedaris (and their TAL colleague Sarah Vowell) make me laugh out loud, I clearly need to pick up a Ronson book.

11/01/2006 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger ashvin said...

It was great to read your answers to the tag, brimful!

And Vowell certainly fits that group (even the funny speaking voice !).

11/01/2006 07:35:00 PM  

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