Burgundy Thistle

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Classic Schmassic

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If there’s one thing that I look forward to and dread at the same time, it is shopping for books prescribed for a college course. The thrill of buying new books dies a slow, painful death when the bookstores gradually crawl into the picture. Don’t get me wrong; I love bookstores. They give an unparalleled sense of joy. A lot of people don’t understand how bookstores could possibly make anybody happy. Exactly how I feel about enthusiasm for cars. Or toothpicks. So maybe it’s not a love understood by all. But it delights me to walk into, what is essentially, a room filled with books. Shelves. Shelves. Shelves of books. Slowly pickling in little rectangular boxes of creamy yellow sheets are undiscovered stories. And, it’s these stories that excite me.

In spite of all the emotion attached with bookstores, shopping for books on ‘Recommended Reading’ lists can be a daunting affair. Not for lack of adventure. Quite the  contrary, in fact. There’s always the risk of having one too many adventures. It will never cease to baffle me, how some of these “books that changed the world” do not figure in the shelves of some of the biggest bookstores in Mumbai.

About a month ago, I walked into one of those enormous bookstores, the kind that make you nervous with their sheer size. I had a long, long list of the books that I would need. On that unpretentious, frayed sheet of now caramel-edged paper were titles of about forty books or so. Could be more, could be less. I went in with an air of confidence, knowing that I’d find almost all the books I required. Which is quite a silly thing to be sure about, considering my track record with reading lists. I looked through the numerous shelves, and I found nothing. I decided to hand over the caramel-edged paper to one of the people who worked there so they could find the books for me. Ten minutes. Twenty. Thirty. And, nothing.

She called out to me, and while forcing an embarrassed smile she told me that two books from the list were available. The rest, I would have to look for.

And, so began my journey…


Written by Gauri Burma

October 30, 2010 at 10:00 PM

Posted in Books


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“I know that books don’t save lives on the grand scale. They don’t end wars and such. They don’t cure cancer. But at the same time, books saved my life. And I know they’ve done that for friends of mine.”

— Rob Roberge in an interview with himself at The Nervous Breakdown


Written by Gauri Burma

October 24, 2010 at 9:06 PM

Posted in Books

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