Gasp! I've been Shanghaied, and Chocolates and Gold coins have swamped me. I’ve been tagged by Michael Higgins. I was also book tagged by the inimitable Uma of Indian writing.
Unfortunately for my wife (it used to be my parents) I’m an inveterate bibliophile, and have groaning bookshelves with too many books (not all of which I’ve read). There are books on the floor, books on my bed, books on my desk, books on top of the television, books on the couch…..you get the picture.
The last book I bought: (whispering softly and shifting my feet) “A Sanskrit grammar for students”, Arthur A. Macdonell.
The last book I read: William Buck’s “The Ramayana” and Pico Iyer’s “Video Nights at Katmandu” (I usually read two books at a time).
Five books that mean a lot to me: Five is too small a number, but I’ll try anyway. There may be better books, but these are five amongst my favorites.
1) Ernest Hemmingway’s “The old man and the Sea”: It’s a travesty to just call this book “the longest short story ever written.” It was written when Hemmingway was at his lowest ebb (after “Across the river, and into the trees” was panned by critics). He came out with the story of Santiago, and to me, Hemmingway had reached a lofty summit with this book. It may be narcissistic, it may be excessively sentimental, it may be simplistic, but when I read it, the hair on my skin rose. The last chapter, when the boat makes it back, but the mako was just bone…….literature doesn’t get much better in a 100 pages.
2) P.G. Wodehouse’s “Leave it to Psmith”: To me, this will remain Plum’s best book. It also ended the illustrious career of one of Plum’s most memorable characters, the sophisticated, monocle wearing, smooth-talking Psmith. It brought out the best of Psmith literature, as well as the entire menagerie of Blandings Castle. And Plum’s language is sheer descriptive poetry.
3) Terry Pratchett’s “Small Gods”: No one would classify this Discworld classic as high literature. Pratchett writes funny, smart stories. That’s it. But in this novel I found satire and parody of the highest order.
“…………Like Brutha, a simple lad who only wants to tend his melon patch. Until one day he hears the voice of a god calling his name. A small god, to be sure. But bossy as Hell.” (From the paperback. Note the capital letters.)
4) Gary Larson’s “The far side”: If you haven’t read it, get it now, and keep it in your restroom. The morning job never was happier than while reading Larson. Especially if you like science.
5) George Orwell’s “Animal farm”: I read it for the first time fifteen years ago. I did not sleep that night. When Boxer was loaded on to a glue truck, I wanted to cry. Every time I have re-read it, I have put it down a little shaken.
I ruthlessly tag these excellent bloggers, and look forward to what they come up with.