Article by Keshav
JBL 53 rd Meetup – “Books we read and didn’t like”
Red hot outside, serene inside. Sweat tickled down the veins, heart rejoiced for artistic gains.In an oven, which was not burning, but calm, we started the hot topic, “bookswe read and did not like”. People gathered at sedate pace, adding to pitch of the mood.
After the customary introduction by Dr Manu Saini, the ebbs started flowing Now, firstly for readers, the warning goes that in this discussion, books were scathed, thrown to dustbin, torn in pieces and were left hanging to dry in open,to exaggerate a bit. And it was the meetup which broke many hearts and soured friendships over books, promise-to- meet-in- dark-gallery looks exchanged. So,read at your own peril!!
To begin with, it was moderate not to give an idea about what was going to happen. The basic idea was to talk about books in which we had invested our time, efforts and money and did not get the due.
The topic was given its due by Mr Vivek Sharma, analysing why we did not like the books, his point was summed up in two words, excellent and ridiculous. He took example of Ram Gopal Verma’s ‘Satya’ and ‘RGV ki Aag’ to explain this further. Now on to the reasons as to why sometimes some books are not liked.
The first reason of liking any book is that one does not simply connect with book at all. It is like a puzzle which rather than being solved, becomes complex at each step. Even after investing enough time and efforts, one doesn’t get it.
Sometimes we just do not connect on fundamental level with what author want to convey. And sometimes we don’t get what we are looking in book, which also drive the interest away.The second reason is the expectations attached with the author. It is the case usually when a book of author you came across is excellent and then with great expectations, you move to his/hers subsequent works, and bonkers, you feel cheated. It is nothing as was the first and feels as a let-down to you.
The third reason is due to reader’s mistakes. Sometimes one is unable to give books the concentration or hard work that it requires. The wrong timing would be more apt here, as you may pick the book to read at a wrong time. The other issue is the lack of knowledge base about the issue at hand or unfamiliar topics.
The fourth reason can be down to author’s quality. If one looks for meaning in books that have none of it, it is a huge let down: The cheap thrillers or the air time read. Due to lofty expectations attached, books can turn out to be pale. The other factors here can be the grammatical errors, narrative mistakes that put readers off. And it can also due to better quality of author, when books seems challenging and thus kept in shelf until its time.
The fifth one is when books are over hyped, critics are praising it and people are going crazy about it, it is all over the market. You take it and don’t get it. You feel as if you are wrong as whole world is raving about it and you did not get it!
Sparsh put this as bluntly as he could, “blah…..blah and little more blah…”
The last reason is the subject, sometimes it is not to one’s taste. For some, it is the gore details, for some, the emotional drama to others, the incessant wavering outside the plot, which don’t go well with the reader. Or sometimes, it happens that we initially like the book at start and then gradually it loses its sheen, thus left being unfinished. Adding to list, the self-help books can be seen as an example, where one thing is talked over and over again throughout the book, which kind of bores.
But this all should not build a case for not liking any book. An author’s work deserve full praise or full criticism. This piece was part of that criticism. It takes efforts and dozens of books to find that one piece of gem. This was for those dozen books.
At last, one of our senior most members Mr Ravi Hooda summed up discussion, when he said, “it is not that we don’t like the book. It is the case that we have read so much that we like some more than others.”Notable mentions
1. Mr Ravi Hooda’s take on existentialism,” I am sitting here in bakery.
There is glass of water half filled. The light is shining through it and I hear raucous from my left side”
2. The Martian by Andy Weir reviewed by Mr Ruchir. His work is a template for how to prepare for the meetup.