All time favourite books…

26 06 2010

1.

A word child Iris Murdoch

Iris Murdoch is possibly my favorite writer and this may be my all time favourite book. It is the first book by her that I ever read, and I like it because it deals with obsession, guilt, human nature, time and love. It is the story of an (anti) hero – a man who works with and is fascinated by words, who is doomed to repeat the most significant mistake of his life. Murdoch writes brilliantly as always, and she always lets her readers draw their own conclusions.

Written on the body Jeanette Winterson

I like Jeanette Winterson’s preoccupations with love, loss, magic and quantum physics. But also because this is one of the few books that ever made me weep.

Tortilla Flat John Steinbeck

This review says it all.

“What it’s all about are friendships and the dynamics of interpersonal dealings between immortal characters. Immortal in that every generation has their Pilons and Dannys, and of having things that you can hold in your own hand versus things that cannot ultimately be bought or sold. The appeal is due in part to the similarities in our own lives and in the lives of others. In every Steinbeck novel is a little gift of insight. This has many.”

Also although the book is set in California, it always reminds me of Sri Lanka and people I have known.

2.

John Irving

Lets just say I love all his books – I love the bears, the sex workers, the boxers and the struggling authors that live in every one of them. He is a master story teller and wonderful entertainer. I loved The Hotel New Hampshire most of all: it made me think about the attraction of the forbidden.

Graphic novels

I love graphic novels. My three favorites are The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel, The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman and Kari by Amruta Patil. Although very different, they each deal with something close to my heart or something I am fascinated with. There is something wonderful about this art form that appeals to me. It’s like reading a movie. When I was a teenager, I read the movie “Grease” as a comic and ever since then I have actively searched for this form of writing/drawing.

Middlesex Jeffrey Eugenides

I loved this book because it made me question my assumptions about sex and sexuality. I read it early in my coming out days and it threw open a whole plethora of questions. The fact that I still remember the story line and can easily recall some of what I felt when reading it, reminds me that it was one of my favorite books!

3.

Daughter of Fortune Isabel Allende

Most times the books we read resonate because of the particular moment we read it in I think. Every time I think of this book, I remember the road to the library in Harlem and the book’s beautiful thick cream pages with large letters. The prose is lyrical; it makes you want to visit Chile, and is sweeter and more romantic in mood than The House of the Spirits. I discovered my love for magic realism with this book.

The Harry Potter series JK Rowling

I love the magic in these books – witches, wizards, beasts that talk, spell making, all of it. I like the author’s use of the many classical mythological references in the naming of things, it adds layers of meaning. My favorite book is the first one and I don’t think the entire series is perfect, but it is still a series I read over and over again, especially when I feel sad.

A short history of nearly everything Bill Bryson

If you are wondering why I am including a pop-science book in this, the answer is I am a geek. The other answer is that it is a well-written book on science and makes things from super-volcanoes to atoms to black holes seem more titillating than porn.

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On a sleepy afternoon in bed would you read a poem?

21 11 2009

I have been looking for poems in blogs and found myself wondering: is poetry the pastime of elitists and lovers? It appears to me that poetry is not something people are really ‘into’ these days. When do we really read poetry? Other than in school as part of Sinhala or English literature. Did we ever read it as a leisure activity? As something to do on a rainy day in bed? Would you go looking for well-written poems in cyberspace or go to the well-known classics? Would you have sent this poem to a friend as good reading material, however beautiful you think it is? Would you think of sending this to your beloved as a gift? All these questions whirl around in my mind as I look for poems in blogs.

And now, I wonder why – as a generation – we are not ‘into’ poetry. Is it because good poems are hard to find, especially on blogs? Is it because poetry is considered the posh marginal in literature – people think it is sublime, but not many read it. It is not fiction, which lives on the preoccupations of lives. Is it because many people feel that writing – and reading – poems is a deeply personal thing, at a level that fiction isn’t? That it is something to do when in love and in pain?

Sugar

Smooth
on
my fingers.
Soft
in
my mouth.
Swirl
my tongue
around.
Dissolve
in
my mouth.

 

You.

 

Waiting

 

I know myself now

That I shall wait

As I have waited,

as I will always wait.

Patiently, patiently,

As the earth, as the sky.

Patient as water I will wait.

Patient as death.

It makes no difference

Where I go or what I do.

I know after all this time

That there is no time.

Still I wait and wait.

And whatever happens,

whatever I may look back upon

when its all over

I know that there is no end

no beginning.

Nothing but me and you

And the times I wait

between.





The Urge

23 08 2009

Belly up

Back curved

Body curled

Feet up

Deep into the night

Guiltily

Far into the morning

Lazily

On too-warm sheets

In the afternoon

With round inky shapes

Long neverending stretches

In the middle of journeys

Waiting in bus-stops

Quickly quickly between classes

And again again and again

And then.

It’s over.

And now again.

The crisp pages

Of a

Many-leaved book.