Thursday, March 08, 2007

Book Talk

My brother brought me Francine Prose's "Reading Like a Writer" which I am reading like a reader, heh-heh. Seriously, the book reminds one to read slowly in order to understand and appreciate the craft of writing. Each word and sentence is the result of a decision made by the writer, and one can fully appreciate the nuances only by slow and deliberate reading.

This is true of any creative art, of course. Take photography for instance. If you want to learn to be a photographer by looking at photographs, then study the lighting, the location in space, the instant the shutter was pressed, how the space inside the frame is organized, how colors (or shades of grey) are used, etc.

One interesting tidbit about Prose's book: in the list of "must-read" books at the end, she has only one book on "how to write" amongst a mass of fiction - the evergreen Elements of Style by Strunk and White. I have used this book for 25+ years and still go back to it.

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Both Etc and Words n Pages in Gulshan are closed due to the crackdown on building code violations. Kudos to owners of WnP for their honesty in admitting to customers they have "a small legal problem" - unlike other restaurants and businesses, partially bulldozed, claiming they are closed because they are "renovating."

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Finished reading J. Lahiri's The Namesake. Syed Manzoorul Islam, in his story Reshmi Rumal, says he was carrying Namesake and Tagore's Chhinnopotro during a train ride. He tried to read the former for an hour, did not like it, then tried "Thakur Mohashoi-er Chhinnopotro" and liked it. Well I thought Namesake was a quick and light read, specially interesting to me because my children were born and raised in the US.

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I understand Bangladeshi writer Tahmima Anam's book launch took place this week in London. The book is the first opus in English around the 1971 War of Bangladesh Independence. I hope it reaches many people who don't know about our history. Am looking forward to reading it.

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That book I bought at Boi Mela, called Bangladesher Protno Shompod, passed its second test last week. How? Back in Dec 2005, I asked about a mysterious ruin near Bhairab Bridge. Recently, Mr. Anwar left a comment on the blog saying it was Hatir Pul of Bariura in Sarail, and sure enough, the above book has a section on this bridge and on Bariura. Quick, someone take this book from me before I spend the rest of my life wandering around Bd checking out historical ruins!
(BTW, the first test was before I bought it - I wanted to find the location of Shankarpasha mosque in Sylhet - which I had been trying to locate - and it had good directions.)

1 comment:

Probashi said...

I remember you telling me about Strunk & white almost 15 years ago when I was a freshman in North Carolina. It is still with me since then. Its a gem.

I can't wait to return and take part in all these trips with you.

Tahmima's book launch happened yesterday. It was a emotional event for a lot of us. I hope it gets translated in Bangla and reaches the mass.

Shu