Books, Myself

Book Meme

1. What’s your favorite time of day to read?

In the morning, when I am on my way to the office. I get about 45 minutes, and if I am reading something really interesting, I just stagger my travel-time so that I wait longer at the bus-stop. That helps set the tone for the day, really.

2. Do you read during meals?

Yes. And no. Depends on the company I keep, really. When I worked in my previous company, I treated lunchtime like it was special, would not go out with anyone, and infallibly took a book to read. I did not read during dinner because that would be rude. I used to think eating by itself is a waste of time, unless you’re doing something else along with chewing your food. My parents hated that.

Now, I only read during lunch if I am in the middle of something very interesting. Most of the time, I go out to lunch with colleagues, so reading’s out of the question. If I delay lunch sometimes because of work, I still read.

3. Do you have bad habits while reading?

When I read a book that’s exciting, time passes by faster. My eyes dart through the pages faster as well. Happens to all of us. But you know what sucks? When there’s a chapter break at a crucial moment in the narrative. What happens then is that my eyes, out of their own accord, jump to the end of the chapter and read the last few words. This drops a nice monkey-wrench into the few seconds of build-up that would have been my due. I hate this habit, and I wish I could control it, but it feels impossible. (Sad panda face)

Once upon a time, I chewed on (and swallowed) corners of pages. True story.

4. How many hours a day would you say you read?

Again, depends on the book(s) I am reading. Can vary between 2 hours to maybe 7 hours (I’ve done read-binges from 9 PM to 3 AM). I read more in the weekend, if I am not doing anything else.

5. Do you read more or less now than you did, say, 10 years ago?

I have been reading more over the last year, thanks to the iPad and the iPhone. Been doing 2-3 books every week, and way more comics/manga. Also, I read different books at different times of the day, just to keep things interesting.

6. Do you consider yourself a speed reader?

I’ve done 900-page books in a day. You do the math.

7. If you could have any superpower related to books, what would it be?

The ability to carry my physical collection with me wherever I go. Remembering lines that I like verbatim. The ability to super-sample a book before I read it, without any spoilers.

(As you must have figured out already, I think about super-powers a lot. Just in case I need to pick one on the spot.)

8. Do you carry a book with you everywhere you go?

I carry an iPad everywhere I go. Which means I carry thousands of books with me. I win.

9. What kind of book do you prefer to read?

Something unlike the one that I just finished reading. Unless it’s the first in a trilogy or a series and I need to know what happens next.

10. How old were you when you got your first library card?

Six and a half. 1986 was a long time ago, goddammit. It was at the Tezpur district library, which had a ripping children’s book collection, and I had a really cool elder-brother-figure who took me to the library once a week, on his bicycle.

11. What’s the oldest book you have in your collection? (Oldest physical copy? Longest in the collection? Oldest copyright?)

The oldest book would be an 1893 copy of Charles Reade’s The Cloister And the Hearth. It belonged to a relative, and I took it from him because one of our English readers had an excerpt from it involving a hunter and a bear. The rest of the book was pretty disappointing, if I remember correctly.

I still have a copy of Ukrainian Folk Tales from 1987, that I bought with my own money. But the oldest may be a copy of Indira Gandhi, by Swraj Paul, that my father gifted me on my sixth birthday. I have spoken about this before.

12. Do you read in bed? Do you like reading in bed?

Yes. Ouch. I read in bed in strange positions, one old favorite being lying back, lifting my legs against the wall, and laying the book against my knees.

13. Do you write in your books?


Though I have taken to highlighting interesting paragraphs within iBooks, nowadays. But it’s usually pointless, because I do not refer to them later on.

14. If you had one piece of advice to a new reader, what would it be?

Just one? Let me go with three.

  • You’ve wasted a lot of time being a non-reader. Make up for that lost time by reading more.
  • Read the classics first. There is a reason why they are the classics.
  • If you do not like the first 10 pages of a book, find out someone you know and whose taste you respect and ask them if it’s worth reading. If they cannot convince you, move on and read something else.

 15. What was the last book you read? What are you reading now?

The first book I read this year was I Am Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59, which was a tremendously entertaining story of Google from the director of marketing and brand management. This forms a sort of companion to In the Plex that I read last year, which was sort of a from-the-outside look at the company.

I finished Killing Floor after that, the first of the Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child. I liked it, but I am not sure if I should read any more of them because a friend tells me they are more of the same.

I am now reading The Strain by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo del Toro, which begins really well.

There’s a whole bunch of comics I am reading as well, including the Noble Causes Archives, Absolute Death and the Walter Simonson Thor Omnibus. The latter two are rereads.

Books, Music

I am just done with the first draft of this gigantic article on electronic music, and I had this burning desire to listen to the Boom Boom Satellites loud. Really really loud. Instead, I stumbled across this singer/songwriter called Pop Levi who sounds like he’s going to be on my playlist for the next few days. Delicious, unapologetic pop music!

There’s a new bookshop in town called Books and Beyond. Apparently a part of Spencers’ Retail, it’s opened at Ashoka Metropolitan Mall in Banjara Hills, the same place that has the Apple Store. I met a friend on Saturday who raved about the stunning collection they have, and how he picked up the complete Basilisk volumes from the graphic novel section there. Intrigued, I made my way there Sunday evening. No manga volumes to be found, but I did pick up the latest Artemis Fowl ( AF and the Time Paradox, and it’s the pressure of writing the huge-ass article that has prevented me from doing a marathon read-session. That shall be remedied today). AND, I found this little hardcover edition of Lyra’s Oxford by Philip Pullman, the companion book to the His Dark Materials trilogy. It was pointed out to me, just as I picked it up, that the book had a “Signed by the author” sticker attached to it, and yes indeed, when I opened it up, it was autographed. Phew! Made my week. Buoyed with optimism, I proceeded to spend the next hour looking for more books tagged with the same “signed by” label, found a generic young adult book or two that I wasn’t really interested in, so just bought the two.

But Books and Beyond has a pretty cool selection. Other than the mandatory shelf-warmers, there was a complete set of the Flashman novels, a couple of books from the Dresden series by Jim Butcher, and Koushun Takami’s Battle Royale as well, though incorrectly filed under “classics”. I look forward to see whether they maintain the catalogue, or if it goes the Crossword way and degenerates into greeting-card world.