My Kafkasque List: Books that wound me

Since the last couple of days, something called a ‘book bucket challenge’ has been doing the rounds on Facebook. A friend nominates you to list out 10 books which have had an impact on you and in turn you nominate some others for their list after jotting down yours. For as long as I can remember , books have been an integral part of me.“One day I would have all the books in the world, shelves and shelves of the. I would live my life in a tower of books. I would read all day long and eat peaches. And if any young knights in armor dared to come calling on their white chargers and plead with me to let down my hair, I would pelt them with peach pits until they went home.”  ( Jacqueline Kennedy, ‘The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate). Yes, that’s who I was 🙂

It was interesting to know what books my friends have liked.It was nice to get to know them more because someone had rightly said ” Show me the books he loves and I shall know the man far better than through mortal friends ”  Well, let me start with my ten books list:

1. Ulysses: James Joyce

2. The Golden Notebook: Doris Lessing

3.The poetry of Neruda, Sexton, Pound, Rilke, Eliot and Cummings

4. The Diaries of Anaïs Nin

5.  Gitanjali : Rabindranath Tagore

6. Ficciones & The Aleph: Jorge Luis Borges

7. On the Road : Jack Kerouac

8. Love in the time of cholera: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

9.The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Milan Kundera

10.Sidhhartha: Herman Hesse

Damn! I reached 10 already ? And I haven’t even talked about  José Saramago, Haruki Murakami, Robert Bolano, Orhan Pamuk, Mikahil Shishkin,László Krasznahorkai. I haven’t talked of the excitement in Tintin, Asterix & Obelix, Phantom, Flash Gordon, Archie & Jughead, Richie Rich. Of Enid Blyton…of all  her magical  books I have read  as a child. Of Mills & Boons and  my feverish  imaginations and longings.Of new authors and new books  that I discover everyday. Of old books that I didn’t know existed. Of personal stories/quotes/doodles  scribbled on second hand books. Of notes on tissue napkins. Of messages written with my lipstick on the bathroom mirror. Of naughty post -its on the refrigerator. Of forgotten stories in newspaper packets selling peanuts. Of  Hindi literature that I despair of being able to read because of the language barrier..till I find a glorious translation or one of my friends  passionately explains it. That goes for all regional literature actually. Of Che Guevara’s  motorcycle diaries.

And most achingly, most beautifully  all those books and words ( and music) which connect me with/to my Beloved. So  I speak in Bukowski’s voice:

“I will remember the kisses
our lips raw with love
and how you gave me
everything you had
and how I
offered you what was left of
and I will remember your small room
the feel of you
the light in the window
your records
your books
our morning coffee
our noons our nights
our bodies spilled together
the tiny flowing currents
immediate and forever
your leg my leg
your arm my arm
your smile and the warmth
of you
who made me laugh

Its past midnite here in New Delhi. This song goes out for all those who are reading/read like there is no tomorrow.They are the rapture riders 🙂


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