Now that I’m out of college (and it’s been two long and tedious years) I’m craving books more than ever. In my five years at JU, my teachers, some of my classmates, and seniors had introduced me to the kind of literature, I knew would stay with me for a while. My existing book collection was mostly built in those five years when I bought books furiously and piled them in various heaps on the old book case, across the floor, or stuffed into random corners of the room. Overtime, some of them have acquired a yellowish tint, some have been given away and some have found its way to my mother’s book shelf. Now almost every other month books get added, most of them bought from online stores at subsidized rates. Lately, in my head I’ve been romanticizing my college days a lot, particularly a book sale I was very fond of. Organized by a popular library in Kolkata, it was the stuff my early 20’s dreams were made of. My friends and I made a grand outing of it, buying second hand books from a small tiny room. The whole thing always happened so fast that someone always inevitably got hold of the book I wanted. I had to plead till that person gave in and handed the book over, mostly not. Then my friends and I would go over the loot, we’d acquire some ten books for a meager sum of Rs. 500-600…some not such great buys, but some very rare and treasured finds.
All this is a thing of the past. This year I couldn’t even manage to go to the Kolkata Book Fair because it was pitch week. If anyone told me this four years back I’d laugh on their face for using work as an excuse not to go to book fair. Anyway, life gets less romantic as one grows up. Paying taxes and covering health insurance money becomes more important than sitting in a corner doing absolutely nothing. God forbid you are sitting and doing nothing, you’ve had it.
I have managed to buy a Kindle and this fact saddens me greatly. A Kindle is not me, it’s too technologically advanced for me and no matter what anyone says, the reading experience isn’t that great shakes. However, it is a much cheaper option for those who want to read expensive books but cannot afford to. Also, from the practical point of view, the Kindle is so light it’s almost non-existent. This is a big thing for me because I’m a very sloppy packer when it comes to trips. I always have to buy another bag while returning from some new place, any new place, so mostly my books tend to bulge out of the backpack after I’ve stuffed it in with much force (again not the best way to treat books).
So far I’ve made good use of the device:
Wyrd Sisters – Terry Pratchett
The Light Fantastic – Terry Pratchett
The Myth of Sisyphus – Albert Camus
The Man In the High Castle – Philip K. Dick
The Edible Woman – Margaret Atwood
SF and the Human Imagination – Margaret Atwood
Madaddam Trilogy – Margaret Atwood
The Blind Assasin – Margaret Atwood
Second Sex – Simone de Beauvoir
I Am An Emotional Creature – Eve Ensler
Kitchen – Banana Yoshimoto
The Nimrod Flipout – Etgar Keret
The Ruined Map – Kobo Abe
A Quiet Life – Kenzabure Oe
Franny and Zooey – J.D. Salinger
As She Climbed Across the Table – Jonathan Lethem
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell – Susanna Clarke
I think I managed to thoroughly read most of the books (that I have struck out) in a reasonable span of time, despite the pitch weeks, bitch weeks.
Also, the creepy bit about an e-book reader is that you can delete a book after reading it to create space for more books. I find this act to be almost disturbing. It’s somewhat reminiscent, in my imagination, of the act of burning books to keep them away from the masses. Or not. Although, even the most basic Kindle can store up to 3000 books so I’m not deleting a single one.