The Word

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Pritish Nandy
Film Producer & Rajya Sabha MP

A book that means a lot to you? 
Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair
 by Pablo Neruda. It’s a slim book of poems but it transformed my life when I was 13. At 16, I wrote my first book of poems. Strangely, most of the poems there were first published in Latin American magazines. In translation.

Your favorite genre?
I have none. I read anything and everything that excites me. Poetry, fiction of all kinds, biographies, comics, thrillers, pulp fiction, graphic novels, you name it. I’m currently reading Wilderness: The Lost Writings of Jim Morrison.

Your favorite character?
It’s a toss up between James Bond and Jason Bourne. Bond is wittier though Bourne is more real. Funnily, both are assassins.

How many books do you own?
Difficult to say. I’ve gifted most of my library but I must still have 10,000 to 12,000 books.

An underrated book? 
The Traps of Faith,
 an analytical biography of the Mexican 16th century nun, bisexual poet, thinker and mathematician Sor Juana de la Cruz by Octavio Paz. Brilliant writing.

An overrated book?
All of Charles Dickens, William Thackeray, Rudyard Kipling and John Milton. Most of the rubbish we read in school. Unbearably bad.

The book you bought last?
Eoin Colfer’s sequel to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Last book read?
Partha Basu’s The Curious Case of 221B. A charming and fresh look at the Holmes mystique through Dr Watson’s eyes. A must read.

A book you wish you’d written?
Batman comics. Simply adore them.

Isha Manchanda

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