By Isha Manchanda
A book that means a lot to you?
If I had to pick just one, then The Little Prince. Sheer magic. Other than that, anything and everything that RK Narayan wrote. Everytime I read him I am strongly reminded of my father, other quirky relatives, forgotten moments.
Your favourite genre?
Doesn’t matter. It just needs to be a a good thumping read.
Your favourite character?
Phantom, Mandrake, Tintin, Billy Bunter, William, Sudden, Steve Carella from the 87th Precinct, Garp. And I love Modesty Blaise.
An underrated book?
Why are some great writers out of print? Clifford Simak, Giovanni Guareschi’s Don Camillo series, most of Manohar Malgonkar. I was reading about something bloody good called an Expresso Book Machine, which can print out-of-print books from a database in five minutes.
The book you bought last?
The Man Who Wasn’t Maigret, a biography of Georges Simenon. He wrote 200 books, 170 more under pseudonyms, wrote 44 books one year, 80 pages a day, sold over 500 million copies, and slept with 10,000 women (his wife says he exaggerated, its closer to 3,200!) That’s some life.
Last book read?
Surendra Mohan Pathak’s 65 Lakh Heist, and a wonderful RK Narayan biography by Susan and N Ram.
Books you wish you had written
I envy Kurt Vonnegut, Graham Greene, Ed McBain, VS Naipaul! Closer home I loved Q & A by Vikas Swarup. Outrageously superb, total Manmohan Desai. The best read I’ve had in years.