SEVENTY TWO

My love for easy reads borders on obsession. After I have made that statement I need to explain what are these easy reads. I am a self professed bibliophile which means on a day off from work I would rather sit and read than go out. But my favourite kind of books are the “unputdownables”, where one chases the story across the pages, turning each page in anticipation of what will happen next. Hence it is obvious why I term them “easy reads”,  because I don’t have to make any effort to read then, they pull me into their world and I make the journey. The other  reason I like such books is one you don’t have to take a break from reading to process a lot,  meaning the story can be grasped without getting lost in myriad sub plots and it contains such dialogue or description or action that takes the story forward in a natural progression instead of stagnating it.
So, I love my Foresyth, Ludlum of the old school and Archer of the new. Typically, I find my choices of leisure reading to gravitate towards crime fiction, humour,  adventure or spy thrillers. I find Agatha Christie, Satyajit Ray’s Feluda,  Shorodindu’s Byomkesh good to read in crime fiction. The catch is although I am a fan of Sherlock Holmes the character, I find the books a little tedious to read. In fact,  with my love for crime fiction so apparent to me I attempted to read the Oxford Book of American Detective Stories. I am still struggling with it. One reason could be because an collection like this has a variety of writing which means one has to constantly reset one’s mind before starting a new story. And because these are primarily short stories it is even difficult to leave them in the middle which can happen as I also read when I commute to work.
In the midst of my struggle with detective stories I picked up the new Jeffrey Archer, the fourth part of the Clifton Chronicles. One of my pet peeves about book or movie or TV  series is when the next book,  movie or season of the series is about to release I must recap the previous parts before I catch up with the new one. So, Archer’s new book led me back to his previous three best sellers. And I went through his new book in about 16 hours. That’s what has got me thinking, it is not so much that I have become busy and have less time to read, but it seems to me my addiction to easy reads has taken its toll on my ability to read other books and naturally I gravitate towards them instead of attempting to read something new or different. I believe my concentration levels are dipping because I find myself retaining less and less of what I read.
But as they say having a realisation is a good place to start with. Hence, I am looking to build back my ability to read and process variety of writings. But in the meantime I am very tempted to go back to Byomkesh series one more time. Perhaps, my worrying about my reading ability need not be so critical because after all classics and bestsellers are meant to have mass appeal and bring back the reader to the familiar story and characters over and over again.
Here’s to reading books without judgement and enjoying the experience.
THE END.

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THIRTY THREE

One of my favorite genre of literature is Short Story. I have been brought up on the staple diet of short stories authored by O’ Henry, Rabindranath Tagore, Daphne Du Maurier, W.somerset Maugham, Wilkie Collins, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. In the delving into the world of pop fiction Jeffrey Archer’s short stories are closest to my heart. Although he may have less chance of being studied at the University in some point in future, my love for him is yet to be diminished.

I have been re visiting his collection of short stories recently. This book comprised of the three earlier collections named as To Cut a Long Story ShortCat o’ Nine Tales and And Thereby Hangs a Tale.

I am sure many of the readers of the blog have already read some parts of his vast collection but for my own satisfaction I share with you the first story that begins the collection named, To Cut a Long Story Short. In the Preface to the book, the author himself says that he came across this story named Death Speaks, in his travels.

It was originally translated from Arabic, and despite extensive research, the author remains ‘Anon’, though the tale appeared in Somerset Maugham’s play Sheppey, and later as a preface to John O’ Hara’s Appointment in Samarra.

I have rarely come across a better example of the simple art of storytelling.

DEATH SPEAKS

There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to the market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, Master, just now when I was int he market place I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture, now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from the city, and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there death will not find me. The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Then the merchant went down to the market place and he saw me standing in the crowd and h came to me and said, Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning? That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him in Samarra.

Hope you enjoyed reading this one.

THE END.

Reference Sources: Jeffrey Archer’s To Cut a Long Story Short.

Disclaimer: In reproducing the story published in the book mentioned above, I do not seek to violate the copyright of the author and this is only used as a quote with full credit to the author as mentioned in the post.