Speaking of books, it is very annoying to see every Tom Dick and Harry who is a chef or telly presenter or beautician or wrestler or one of those who had carved a career out of their cleavage taking up space and time for their book-signing sessions at the book stores. I had to put up with all the drama in many a bookshops across many a cities lately. In fact countries. The pain entails putting up with hordes of pop-ulations who cant maintain any decorum and generally make a Leicester square at the ground floor. Moreover they drift off here and there with their cameras cramping up space, getting in way of the regulars demanding to be trampled. It would be immense relief to all the parties if a bus is parked in one of the adjacent side alleys with the writer or their ghost-writer inside ready with a pen and make all the admirers walk into the bus with their book copies and cameras. As a bonus they would all get a cctv footage with the author. It would be still more wonderful if the bus drives away with all of them and their idol aboard. They can claim for rest of their lives that they had been on a bus with so and so . Eejits.
If not for the pleasure of slowly wading through racks and racks of books, Amazon would have done the job.
Amongst other things, this article made me recollect my thoughts on the short story. With all my conviction I believe that short story is the real tangible unit of writing as against a novel where the content might easily overrule the craft of writing. Also, a novel as an art form is less restrictive and has more room for one ’s self expression thereby limiting the art per se. By this I mean, with some direction and commitment, one can search a material in one’s experience and convert it into decent novel. A short story on the other hand is more demanding on the imagination as well on the technicalities of writing.
Coming to the list , I haven’t read three in there, but I see it’s a decent list. Still there are gross overlookings- No Borges, No Dahl, No Calvino No Nabokov et al
But to be fair it’s a personal list -- but It would have felt better if The Dead had moved up to the top. Nose is a brilliant satire but like any satire, is limited in its depth. Just like a good animation. But The Dead is multi layered and deeply universal. It is my personal favourite; the ending is agreeably the most tender that literature has known. I remember reading it for the first time in a public library when I was young - a dogeared Dubliners in a bit of a state; no cover and no healthy spine.
I still recall the feeling; it is very hard to put into words. I didn’t know the author and the book at that time and moreover was devouring relentlessly everything so gradually I forgot about it. But the second time , a few years later , as I started reading it I instantly knew I had read it. It all came back in one instant. As I said before, tender. See even after all these years and after so many readings that's all I can bring myself to say.
The latter half of the story is a reflection of the delicate sharpness of Joyce’s mind. In the last paragraphs, if you can, you can find, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Stendhal and even Henry James.
PS- Sometimes I wonder how it would feel to pen such great prose ?
But we know the answer for that dont we? It would simply feel like writing the greatest prose starting somewhat stately and ending in a yes.