Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Seeking Pico Iyer...

Been a while since I posted a daily dekko....

This one comes from GreenChannel, who has put up a excerpt from an essay by one of my favorite authors, Pico Iyer. The entire essay can be found here.

IMHO, Pico Iyer is easily numero uno among the travel writers I have read. Bill Bryson's good, but somehow falls flat in trying to overdo the humor, and in getting the point across. Paul Theroux (I have just gone thru the first 100 pages of his "Dark Star Safari") comes across a little "holier than thou" and treats his sojourns like it's some sort of punishment.

I first read Pico Iyer in TIME when I was in school. I can't recollect what the article was all about, but I sure was impressed. Although he isnt too regular in his contributions to TIME, whenever he has written there, it's been lapped up eagerly by A and me. Every year TIME-Asia would bring out this special issue on travel, and invariably it would have an article by Pico Iyer (I dont know if they still do...).

I read "Video Night in Kathmandu" while I was staying at Ed's in Bombay in the summer of 2001. Was really impressed and planned to pick up some stuff from Crossword/Strand, but it was a futile trip into town - the saving grace being a nice afty/evening visiting the old haunts in Fountain and walking down the Causeway till Colaba PO. Meeting up with ILP as usual, talking about the usual stuff, catching up on school gossip and a lot more. (ILP has also played a role in influencing the books I have read, always recommending stuff during my school days. Will forever be indebted for the awesome book that kept me occupied on the BA flight).

Whenever I was in Landmark/Odyssey (which was pretty much every fortnight), would religiously check for Pico Iyer, but sadly couldnt find any of his books. Back then Amazon Marketplace was non-existent in my head.

Finally picked up the "Global Soul" on one of the Landmark trips. It is an awesome read, especially since he spoke about neither being from here, nor from there. Considering that I too feel pretty much the same, it struck a chord.

"Ransacked" a few bookstores in Bangalore when I was there, but again turned up empty-handed. Even had some agents on the lookout for books...all came to naught!

However, having come here, I have discovered Amazon Marketplace, where people sell their old books/extra stock. From the Pico Iyer collection, I have picked up "Tropical Classical", "Falling off the map" and ofcourse "Video Night in Kathmandu". Some sit back home in India, some occupy their pride of place in my bookshelf.

Among the other stuff, I have a couple of books by Bill Bryson, one by Theroux, a couple by James Watson (the classic one being his tome on the DNA, which I got at a 300% discount!), a few HRF Keatings (from the Inspector Ghote series), (and oh yeah) a couple of Feynmans....

Kool, aint it!?!

So that's that...

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