Saturday 21 February 2015

For the love of books...

It might have come to the mind of regular readers of this blog that I have lately started writing a lot of book reviews. Before the advent of book review programs by popular blogging platforms eg Blogadda, my blog was just about cartoons, short stories and poems. I liked books but, I was not the kind of reader who would finish a book in one go and have strong feelings about it. I had purchased and started reading many classics but, couldn't finish even a single one.I wondered what it took in a reader to finish a book without losing interest midway. I applied for some of the book review programs on Blogadda and Indiblogger and slowly formed networks with many more book bloggers. Now the situation is such that I get review requests sometimes from publishers and authors themselves.

There have been incidents when I angered the authors by being too honest with my reviews. I don't think I can review the typical Leadstart authors anymore. (It's a publishing house which gives preference to beginners). With no disrespect to the publishing house, it has to be a little discriminate in choosing its manuscripts. I think it can take a hint from the publishers by the name of Aleph Publishing House. I think their books have relatively good quality of language.

I had signed up for IndiReads Book Review Program and ended up over-criticizing their pulp-fiction novellas. I have now realized that language is really important for me. There are authors out there who have a story to tell. They are ill-equipped in terms of medium i.e. language but they have content. All I can suggest for them is to get a good editor on board and get their book edited.

After all this experience and tumult, I am now ready to diagnose myself. I grew up in a household where Shakespeare and Shelly were lying around in the living room. My dad being a Literature post-graduate had a big collection of literary novels. I did read comics and other non-serious fiction as a young adult but, as a kid, my eye was slowly trained to look at literary fiction with special respect. I could never finish any of the classics and found them excessively boring but, whenever I had time, I would take out those hardbound, old books and look at all those lines that were written with much effort.

That is why I think in most of my reviews, I am looking for a certain literariness in the book and am disappointed when it is either too bland or too pretentious. My this habit lets me fall in love with books but doesn't let my enjoyment levels, while reading, remain on a steady graph. When they're classics, I am put off by the long descriptions; when they are thrillers, I am put off by the cheesiness. But then, I am in love with the printed word. That is for sure. If I could buy all the books in the World and keep them in a giant library with ladders and shelves, I would!

What is it about those printed and bound sheets of processed papyrus that makes the human preserve them in wooden shelves, dusting them, picking them up from time to time and flipping their leaves? There is something comforting about having the written word in your possession. The keeper of records and the protector of history is a role that may be bland in real life but has been much romanticized in films and stories.

I guess there is a certain power associated with owning books. It is intangible yet, very real. But I am not after that power. Or maybe I am. The point is, I could ramble on and on about books and that's why, I have started reviewing books.

Until later,


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