The Book Tag Virus Spreads

My Spiel
The Book Tag Virus has reached here. It is indeed a great concept and has spread like a wildfire in the last few months. I still feel that the first two items were rather lame. What's the point? What difference does it make if you own 2 or 2 thousand books? What has the buying of books got to do with the reading of them? I must give credit to the second last item - A dose of guilt can be healthy for you sometimes.

Can anyone point me to the originator of this meme? It is quite possible that I got a distorted iteration of this meme, or perhaps I missed the point. The Scientific American had an interesting article on the genetics of chain letters (You might need access to read the whole article).

Total Number of Books I Own: I have not really counted, but should be close to about 500 books back home (this is not counting the other books in the family library.) After moving to the States, I have not bought many books: to keep some breathing space in my tiny room; and more importantly, to keep my wallet full. I am now convinced that buying books is a futile exercise. (More on this later.)

Last Book I Bought: Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel. It was for two reasons: One, because it is the book of the month for June on the Lit. Blog and second, there is an amusing anecdote involving The Wicked Witch of the West, the Ford Theater in Chicago, Borders and Probability. Buying seems contradictory to my previous assertion, but I am an addict on the mend.

Last Book I Read: The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins, who incidentally introduced the word 'meme'- if not the concept - in this book. Also, read the other book of the month - Hesse's Siddhartha this weekend.

One Book I Couldn't Finish:- Arms and the Man by Shaw seems to be perpetually on my reading list. I keep starting other books and this play always gets neglected. The ease of online renewal has really spoilt me.

Five Great Books??
Such questions are so tricky. It's often not who you include, rather who you exclude.
Can't really pin the top five or ten books: it seems unfair. At times there are authors whose body of work is more remarkable than one particular piece of work, e.g. - P.G. Wodehouse, Arthur Conan Doyle, John Steinbeck, etc. Then there are the one-hit wonders - Margaret Mitchell, Arundhati Roy, Harper Lee, and others who have said much in one beautiful book but then no more. Seems unfair to pick them over the others with a more substantial body of work. Such arguments can be endless, however I realised that these three were definitely unforgettable.

* Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera - A novel about all shades of love, marriage and relationships. Less magic and more realism as compared to his other books.
* Salman Rushdie's Ground Beneath Her Feet - One of the most fantastic books that I have ever read. His best work. A longish review was posted here.
* Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy - Not much of a story, but Seth is all about the writing. Seth writes prose that reads like poetry. The alternative index of chapters is proof enough.

This meme was inflicted on me by Paddy and though I can end the violence here, I have decided to pass the virus to the yet uninfected(?) -
Ashutosh, Javed, Anand Sivashankar and Anirudh.


Javed said...

hey man the link to Paddy's blog isn't working... anyway what do you have to do to 'get infected'? Post something similar on your own blog?

Hirak said...


Sumedha said...

One of the more original 'tags' :)

Ashutosh said...

Done! Thank you. :)

Anirudh said...

Yeah, Vikram Seth is a great poet, and it shows in his prose.

Anand said...

Agree on that multiple versus single book puzzle.That's why I have to see if Sue Monk Kidd's The Mermaid Chair is any good. Ian McEwan, we now know, has written bad ones too !

Paddy said...

Thank You for spreaing the Virus! Your list is indeed reveals your inclination :)

Hirak said...

I think I can add Siddhartha and Jared Diamond's two books - GGS and Collapse among the best books read.