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Location: Dublin, Republic of, Ireland

Wednesday, 20 September 2006

My book meme (and I have tagged Anna, Atyllah's Author, Kelley, Saaleha & The Wandering Author)

- And then to write with might in the light of the night
Until the cool moon winks and sinks all too soon
And its time to change the grumpy pen for a bedtime swoon, in your cosy, snuggly den... -

Rhyme by Susan Abraham

I have been tagged by my friend, the writer,
Bhaswati Ghosh who will soon have her debut book published. It is titled, Making Out in America.

It is very hard to whittle down my oceanic love for books and titles remembered; to just a few especially those that made an impact in my life and on my writing. Anyway, I shall try.

One Book That Changed My Life?

When I was 13, it had to be Land of Green Ginger by Winifred Holby.

My father taught me to love books from when I was a baby. At the time, my ambitions had to stay content with picture, cloth and colouring books until I grew respectable milk teeth and spoke fluently without sucking my thumb.

One day, Daddy went to a jumble sale and picked up this novel for a steal. He thought of me at the time and brought it back as a little gift.

The dog-eared and fast yellowing book was a lovely surprise and I cherished it.

It was Holby who taught me to see the world with grown-up eyes.

Land of Green Ginger defied parallels. It spoke of Woodstock being carried out on a more serious note. A wife is saddled with a sickly husband she does not love. How does she escape? She toils the farmland until a handsome passer-by comes to town. They have an affair and she learns to dream again. She longs for adventure and a new start and finally when her husband dies, packs up her bags to the consternation of neighbours and takes her 2 daughters to Africa. She did not stop loving her husband or nursing him but she wanted more. The appeasement of the self.

A land of adventure and safaris. What waits? Who knows? Then I too, learnt to dream and when I grew up, clung to Africa in the same subsconscious way the character had clung to hers. While on safari, I was never disappointed. Adventure has no closed doors.

Land of Green Ginger helped me define my norms as an unconventional artist and to cherish this dream when I was at the time, bound by a conservative Asian society. I fought that convention and won.

That is why you may see my writing with its use of characterisation and settings, so very different from the average South East Asian writer today. I have always remained the traveller and never since, fitted into a parochial community. I cannot even if I wanted to.

One Book I Have Read More Then Once

How about Dickens? I love his work to a subtle madness. Perhaps for now, A Christmas Carol will do.

One Book You Would Want On A Desert Island?

The collected stories in one fat chunky volume that spans several hundreds of pages, on the works of the wonderful and daring Irish novelist, Edna O' Brien, who now lives in exile in London. Think her mockery of rigid Convent rules or the wounded love story that formed part of the trilogy in Country Girls and that was later made into a film. The intensity of passion protrayed in her prose stays overwhelming and powerful to the senses.

One Book That Made You Cry

The Bell Jar, a heart-wrenching autobiographical novel by Slyvia Plath, who also stays my favourite poet to the present day. Plath who was married to the the late British poet laureate Ted Hughes, formed part of the famous poet culture in the early '60s in Britian that was called the Movement and included other established names like Vernon Jarrell and the late Kingsley Amis.

It was the gifted Plath's tragic beauty (she committed suicide on learning of Hughes's affair) in looks and words, that stayed a true masterpiece for her life.

One Book That Made You Laugh

Without a doubt, Rubbish, written by the British novelist, by Susan Barrett. It was sophisticated comic fiction to be sure. The life of a comfortable civil servant is turned upside down when he deliberately chooses to be a garbage collector. The joy in my laugh on reading this novel some years ago, still commands magic and enriching hope for my destiny today.

One Book You Wish You Had Writen

The woodland classic called The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. And then, I would have stayed a child forever.

One Book You Wish Had Never Been Written

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown that proved completely uneventful to me, personally.

One Book You Are Currently Reading

The Catherine Wheel by the famed Australian novelist, Elizabeth Harrower.

One Book You Have Been Meaning To Read

Alejento Blue by Monica Ali. I found her first British bestseller, Brick Lane to have been

wonderfully excecuted with highly-intoxicating emotions at the end. One of the friendliest authors I've met so far, in London.

I think many on my blogroll have already been tagged.

I would love to read memes from my new blogger friends, the clever poetess, Anna Hood, my tribute hero, The Wandering Author, the newly-published romance writer, Kelley Vitollo the talented short story writer Saaleha and my favourite chicken heroine, Atyllah's Author.

However, I know what it is like to feel pressured, obligated or busy. So please, don't take this request as compulsory. Only if your time, heart's desires and personality of your respective blogs permit such a meme. But how wonderful if they do.

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