Friday, September 18, 2009

THE BALM OF BOOKS

Things have been rather downbeat lately.

The teachers’ strike has been called off, and we have resumed our classes, but bureaucracy has tied a thick red tape around our salaries and is refusing to release it anytime soon.

The forty days’ strike meant an enormous amount of backlog of syllabus-to-be-completed and tutorial-projects-to-be-corrected which now has to be taken up through hectic lung-busting lectures and tedious hours of red-pen-wielding.

And to top it all, all holidays have been cancelled as we have to ‘compensate’ for the strike period absenteeism. That is fair enough, but it does mean getting up early on holidays, which I absolutely abhor.

So, I definitely need a balm for my overworked brain and going-around-in-circles mind.

And for me, the best balm has always been BOOKS.

Books keep my head out of the water.
Books help me float in the mess of this world.
Books are a place I can go when everything else stresses me out
.

Fo a change, this time, I put away my Crime Fiction and my Chick Lit (both are my fave escape-routes), and picked up some serious LITERATURE.

William Golding’s THE SPIRE. Toni Morrison’s TAR BABY.

Both Nobel Prize Winners. But so very different from each other. Golding, a white Brit male, very much in the centre of the world. Morrison, a black American woman, very much a marginalized entity. And they write about diverse worlds and different eras in these books.

But in their insight into and compassion about the human condition, in their moulding of language into a thing of beauty and awe, they are somehow similar.

Nothing uplifts me like good literature. Nothing makes me feel so wide-eyed and thankful and amazed. And I keep on adding to my list of great books.

WHICH BOOK/S LIFT YOU OUT OF THE MUDDLE F THIS WORLD?

12 comments:

Kavi said...

A whole lot of books. And it is the variety that adds the spice and fuel to the reading.

There have been some recent purchases like the Cluetrain Manifesto which is proving to be a wonderful read.

Fiction doesnt get me going great guns. For always, i imagine a story to pan out in sometime. Which leads me to disappointment ( if it leads some other way) and boredom ( if it is something that i have imagined)

More importantly, anything that draws a vivid picture and helps me imagine, and think and mull over a period of time...well, that gets me going !

Hmm. So you are working !! Hope you will make it to the meet !

Meira said...

I usually pick up books which I've read before, when I'm feeling blue. That ways I know I'm going to get comforted as I begin reading :)
So it ranges from Enid Blyton to Anita Nair.:D

June Saville said...

Hi Sucharita
Toni Morrison's 'Beloved' is close to the top of my book list ...
June in Oz

P said...

sounds good... got another 2 to add to my reading list :)

Pradip Biswas said...

The best balm is keep a book on your palm. I do not get abook of my choice in this remote place. The small time we get for Internet from our V-sat wireless communication can not be spared for reading a book. I have my one usual recriutment. At times of boredom and frustrations My new and old characters keep on coming and I listen or interact with them and if asked for I write their conversations. That is my story.
Recently I am reading the printouts of Our Joint effort A trek to unknown. When read through printed papers I am honest that I do not yawn but keep unusual late hours awake. You may try.

sujata said...

I love a classic when I am happy and stress free, even a biography, but when blue and stressed I run for the nearest romance!! mindless and stupid..but it gets me going!! so I save all my nora roberts for blue days.

Tomz said...

It was my stress buster too till a few years back to read crime fictions. Now I have somehow lost my passion in reading and a skill in writing took place instead. and u know, though i learned novels of both these writers that u mentioned, I never came across the particular works that u wrote about.

manju said...

Yes, reading books is my remedy when I am feeling 'down', too! The titles have changed over the years, and also according to my mood.

I confess that I'm a crime fiction fan like you. I also enjoy historical novels (but not serious history books!).

Aparna said...

I think I am the weird one here. I never re read a book. Even if I love it, I can not read it again. May be because the thrill of discovering something new is missing. So when I am depressed and down, I go to the nearest lending library and get a fresh one. It might be the latest best seller, it could be a new author, or it could even be a romance.
How is the puja shopping going?

Sucharita Sarkar said...

@Kavi,
Any book is fuel for the mind. Thanks for the petrol.

@Meira,
I love to re-read my Agatha Christies and my Sophie Kinsellas. Instant caffeine for the stressed soul.

@June,
And the Bluest Eye? And... she writes really well, no?

@P,
Do add them. They will definitely be worth the trouble.

@Pradipda,
Our joint effort (more yours, less mine) is a pretty thrill-ride.

@Sujata,
Variety is the spice of reading.

@Tomz,
All writers are voracious readers, so you are in the right direction.

@Manju,
So, who is your fave crime writer? My knowledge of history writers is almost nil, though.

@Aparna,
Not re-reading saves a lot of time, actually. And with so many books that i want to read before I die, maybe I should follow your practice.

Onkar said...

There is nothing like a good book. I recently read the Kite-runner and really loved it.

The Weekend Blogger said...

I exist for books. Throughout my life books have been my constant companions through all the ups and downs...in fact sometimes when I go down the memory lane and I find that I am able to recall each major event along with the book that I was reading when that happened ! Eg. I was reading "Shrikanto" before and after my wedding ! Ruskin Bond is my author of comfort.