Culture Czar

Where I talk about cricket, and the books I love, and cricket, and music, and cricket, and movies, and cabbages, maybe, and kings...

Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Fraudian Slip

I was speaking with someone the other day, and the topic somehow veered around to books. I dropped the usual hints about how well read I was, and then did a mental checklist, to remind myself of my vast erudition.

For those who came in late, I'm, as far as books go, a complete stud. I own books by authors ranging from the surprsingly Italian Wu Ming Clan, to the Trinididian Marxist historian C. L. R. James, from the Must-Own Vladimir Nabokov to the Own-It-Or-You're-A-Loser Tom Wolfe. One day, I promise myself, I'll even read them.

So, getting back to my vast erudition, I try and figure out how many "Classics of English Literature" I've read. In the original, of course. And get the answer pretty fast.

Disclaimers: This is only "English", as in Tea and Crumpets, With a Little Milk, Thank You, literature, and not American/ Indian/anything outside the British Isles. This excludes anything written before 1900. And this, obviously, only includes books read in the original text.

Back to the point. 4 Books. Four. The number between Three and Five. Listed out below:-

Shocked? Don't be. Most of my reading in my formative years revolved around these cute pocket sized titles which went by the name "Jaico Abridged Classics" or something. Really nice books, especially for a 7 year old. They cut through the clutter, and tell you in about 280 pocket-sized large font pages what the book is all about. In case you're a dumbfuck, they also have a large picture on each page so that you know what is happening. Engrossing stuff.

I'm a little better when it comes to Shakespeare, though. I've read two of his plays, Julius Caesar and Twelfth Night being prescribed texts for the ICSE and ISC exams.

What about the rest? Ah. Comics. All of Shakespeare's plays, I've read all of them in comic book form. Highly reccomended, especially if you're an 8-year old kid. I can still quote extensively from Macbeth, Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice and the rest. (Incidentally, another excellent source of Shakespeare quotes is PG Wodehouse).

I am still wondering whether I am now a symbol of our appaling cultural degeneracy, or just a really lazy reader who took a short cut to bibliophilia. Maybe it's a sign of the times anyway. As Shakespeare should have said, "All the perfumes of Araby cant hide......"


Blogger Rimi said...

Shakespeare's plays in comics? That one I haven't heard before.

OVerlook the mediocrity of the comment, but this is a brilliant post. AND it gave me the idea for my next post. You're clearly more talented than you know.

6:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow.. u have a mom with a library!!
most of us are just first generation readers , you see...

2:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cant empathize. I've never read a first generation before.

6:32 AM  
Blogger Queen of the Worms said...

I liked this post.

5:51 AM  
Blogger In search of a certain something... said...

reminds me of my "reading habits" as a child...and yes, I still feel I should have done ISC if not for anything else, just for adding another shakespeare classic to my booty :-)

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