* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A corollary to the books-I-cant-be-bothered-to-finish, is the books I want to finish, but somehow just can't. Case in point: Sealy's Trotternama.
I can't remember where I picked up my copy, which is in itself an unusual occurrence (I have a vague feeling it was on sale at some book exhibition). What I do remember is that I hadn't heard of Sealy or the book before, but was simply intrigued by the title. Which might or might not have to do with the vague feeling that I'd eaten Khyber's* then-famous paaya shorba a few days earlier. I could be imagining this memory, of course.
The book's been with me for around 15 years. It's a lumpy Penguin edition, slightly bigger than standard paperback size, which means it sort of flops around. And it's one of those poor prints that Penguin occasionally comes out with, with a weird narrow font size in a not-blackily-black ink on paper that's really too thin to not see what's on the other side of the page, and with a so bleh cover.
I've made several forays at the book. I keep getting a quarter into it, and then just ... moving on. I know I'm quite interested in all the minute details that he goes into, and I don't really mind the archaic English form he slips in, or the fourth-wall breakouts. But I just couldn't ever finish the book, and a few years ago, I'd put it on my shelf of books-to-be-finished.
I took it up again recently after picking up copies of his Everest Hotel and Red, and devouring them over a couple of days. Right, I figured, you just didn't get Sealy at the time. Maybe it was all too jumpy-abstract for you then. But you get him now, and Trotter-nama's going to be awesome.
Like bugger it is. This time I've got halfway through it, and I'm stuck. The damn thing has been lying on my bedside table for a month now, striking up irritatingly brief conversations with all the other tomes that have passed through, and wondering what it can do to make me love it that little bit more.
I'm seriously considering blaming the physical book for it, for the reasons above.
Which would of course raise a whole set of other questions and issues, such as whether I'm really that shallow as to require good form to appreciate good content, and so on.
* Whatever happened to Khyber? I can't remember it ever being discussed as an option for eating out in the last ... decade or so. Heck, I can't remember anybody even mentioning it in the same time. Even in guides or somesuch. It's one of those places that seems to have simply been bypassed by the foodie crowd, and probably relies on old faithful diners**.
** Now that I think of it, this applies to a whole bunch of places that used to be the eating-out option, when there like, five. And are now just staples, dinosaurs, same-old same-old and quite rubbish in most cases. Delhi Darbar's another that springs to mind.