Sunday, 1 January 2012

New books on New Year

I am not going to ring in 2012 without wishing you, dear readers and fellow-bloggers, on the dawn of the new year. So here goes: a Happy and Prosperous New Year to you all!

Neither am I going to start this wonderful year without posting something, anything. So again, here goes: this morning we revisited a place called King’s Circle at Matunga in central Bombay (now Mumbai) famous for its decades-old used and secondhand book-sellers and authentic south Indian cuisine. The book vendors sit on the footpath that runs around King’s Circle which is actually a garden in the centre of a bustling traffic junction. An ugly flyover now runs over the garden known in our parlance as Maheshwari Udyan (udyan means garden).

Many of the old sellers are gone, a few others are still around, and quite a few are hawking cheap pirated editions of Stephen R. Covey and John Grisham, and more.

We made our way directly to one particular book-seller who stocks just about everything, fiction and non-fiction, academics included, and all original. Most of the books are piled five-feet high, some are spread out on the floor, and others are lined up in open wooden shelves. The owner knows his books, what he doesn’t know is where. If you ask him for a particular author or title, he will point to a lot and say, “It should be somewhere in there.” So you browse through the lot at the risk of dirtying your hands and not finding what you are looking for, but it’s a risk worth taking.

I could have walked away with many more books and comics than I did but I did not want to exhaust my quota on the first day of 2012 itself. So this is what I finally settled for – Tarzan at the Earth’s Core and Thuvia, Maid of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs (see exact covers); Beyond the Black Stump by Nevil Shute; The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey (original); The Mammoth Book of Golden Age of Science Fiction presented by Isaac Asimov; The Secret of Spiggy Holes by Enid Blyton; and eleven pocket-sized war and western comics, which included six Combat Picture Library, two War Stories in Pictures, two Cowboy Adventure Library, and one Sundance Western: Illustrated World Library Series.

The entire lot cost me Rs.350 ($7). The sf book cost just 20 cents. All in all, a very fruitful first day of the year, don’t you think? I am going back next Sunday!

9 comments:

  1. I've got a couple of copies of Thuvia but not this one. I've seen the cover though at some point. Happy New Year

    ReplyDelete
  2. And a happy New Year to you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your bookseller sounds like my one in Colombo. It is very dusty, and grimy but I come up with gems!

    Happy new year.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Happy New Year to you too, Charles! I'll be reading ERB after a long time.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Mystica, Happy New Year to you as well. Most of the book-sellers around King's Circle are south Indians and they have plenty of gems too provided you're willing to look for them.

    ReplyDelete
  6. If i ever make i to Mumbai from. Manila I hope you can show me arround the used book stores there! I am looking for the answer to the question you asked me on clickable tittle posts

    ReplyDelete
  7. Mel, there aren't as many used bookstores as before and the ones who are still there might disappear soon. I'm still trying to figure out how to get the headlines to "click".

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have that same copy of TARZAN AT THE EARTH'S CORE (I love that book!) Wonderful account of your visit to a unique bookseller, Prahsant. The secondhand bookshop is slowly going the way of the dodo in the U.S. Glad to hear there are still some worthwhile places in India. I'll have a look around your site for your review of the Tarzan novel

    ReplyDelete