Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Reading Two Books in Seven Days

I have started reading again. I mean I am always reading something or the other but lately I have felt have my attention span has been waning. Over the years my concentration has deteriorated and my interest levels have dwindled. At times, I have blamed it on my context and at times on the lack of familiarity with the context of the book and its characters. At times, I think, it might have been sheer fatigue with the written word.

May be I read too much of the dark/sad stuff and the poison slowly seeped into me from the pages. At times, I fear that I am becoming (have become?) one of those lamenting, numb characters from one of those books that I just love. I think therein lies the appeal of those profoundly sad books. They touch something somewhere inside you. And you are startled by it - and if you are lucky, you discover something about yourself. Anyway, as I said, I might have been reading too much of this stuff. So on purpose, I have been laying off such books.

I have changed the kind of books I read. And I think I like this change.

I read the Maltese Falcon and then the City of Djinns. Nice books both of them. I think the vagabond in me liked the city of Djinns. And the Falcon was ok. Then, I started the Moviegoer. It is a book that I have wanted to read for a long time. But as I started it, I realized that it is another of those self-discovery books. Nothing wrong with it. As a matter of fact, it is one of the Time's top 100 books from the last century. But just that these days, I am not in the frame of mind where I can ingest, digest and love such books. So I gave it up mid-way. Maybe, i will pick it up again. Someday!

Then, I started 'The Day of The Jackal'. I told you that I am loving the inane these days. But Forsyth tires me easily. Not with this book but he has done that with aplomb in the past. So for no reason, I gave up reading this book midway. Certainly, no reflection of how interesting the book is. Am clarifying here as I do not want any hate mails from the ardent lovers of this book. Like the one who loaned me this book. May be, I will also turn into those who swear by the Jackal sometime down the line!

But last week has been phenomenal. I read two books. And to the readers of this page, I would like to recommend them. Its Not About The Bike by Lance Armstrong and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Murakami.

The former has a significant amount of American showmanship. But even if you normalize it for that, it is a wonderfully inspiring story. And what delights you is the fact that most of what is being said in that book happened. I never knew that Lance came back from death (His Doctors had pegged his chances of survival at lower than 3%!!). You feel the climb up the col du la madone and the chaos from The Tour de France lands right into your room. It sure did fire my imagination in a way that no book has done in a long time.

Then there is the Murakami book. This is a usual Murakami book if you have been reading him for some time. But as a runner ( :-) I think I have earned it!), this book is just delicious. There are things in that book that only runners will understand. And like me, he is also a re-creational runner (Though it seems that he trains harder). So at times, it seems like an intimate conversation. How often do you get that in a sheaf of papers bunched between two hard boards?


Vani Kulkarni said...

hmmm.. Am not into cardio. Any kind. :) however this blog is sorta nice, but perhaps one is overdoing the inane bits. limiting would lead to lifting it out of the depths of mundane. cheers!

Prateek said...

Thanks Vani. 'What' would lift 'what' out of the mundane?