Thursday, August 31, 2023

A visit to a book fair in South Mumbai

My wife and I frequently travel to South Mumbai, roughly 22 km (17 miles) from our home in the suburbs, to spend a few delightful hours among its art deco buildings, historical landmarks, art galleries and cultural scenes; walk along the sea-facing promenades; visit footpath booksellers and book exhibitions; shop on the causeway; and eat at traditional restaurants.

The island city holds a special place for us and has an old-world charm that takes us into another time. You can read more about our recent trip to the island city at our new website Pocketful of Happiness.

Here are a few pictures from a book exhibition that we went to. There were literally thousands of books – fiction and nonfiction, paperbacks and hardbacks. Most books cost no more than a dollar or two. We bought a few. The book fair was organised by Ashish Book Centre and held near Churchgate, which serves as the headquarters of the suburban Western Railway network.


© All photographs by Prashant C. Trikannad

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Reading Ann Patchett

Excerpts frequently influence whether I should read books by authors I have never read before. That and a Twitter post is how I learnt more about award-winning American author Ann Patchett who writes both fiction and nonfiction.

I was drawn to her writing when I read about her latest book Tom Lake, which is described as a “Beautiful and moving novel about family, love and growing up” or in the words of The Guardian, “A truth that feels like life rather than literature.”

Those are the kind of books I have always enjoyed reading, and hope to write someday, now more so since my wife and I launched a website Pocketful of Happiness which stemmed from our desire to be happy (possibly, at all times) and spread a little joy among our readers. Books like these have a feel-good quality about them. 

Ann Patchett's writing has been variously described as warm, poetic, illuminating, rich, poignant, funny, powerful, compelling and stirring. This was evident from the many excerpts I read including this affecting passage from This is the Story of a Happy Marriage (2013):

“People seem able to love their dogs with an unabashed acceptance that they rarely demonstrate with family or friends. The dogs do not disappoint them, or if they do, the owners manage to forget about it quickly. I want to learn to love people like this, the way I love my dog, with pride and enthusiasm and a complete amnesia for faults. In short, to love others the way my dog loves me.”

It prompted me to buy the book along with These Precious Days: Essays (2021). Both are personal  and literary collections of essays and memoir.

I look forward to reading one of these books as soon as I finish Agatha Christie’s The Murder on the Links