Swarup spoke about his experience reading the Telugu anthology of poems Mahaprasthanam by the Mahakavi or the bard Srirangam Srinivasarao. This work took the Telugu literary world by storm. Unfortunately, there is not enough data out there about this book for non-Telugu readers who may want to know more about this epic work.
Another book of poems that Swarup opined about was Songs of Innocence and of Experience by William Blake. Blake’s unearthly poetry and illustrations examine the innocence of childhood and the sin of industrialization that swept over England at the time. He examines the mind-forged manacles that mankind has made his destiny. “Have you read Kafka’s short story A Hunger Artist?” Swarup asked. “I would advice you to read it.” He ended his book sojourn with a dramatic recital of a Telugu poem.
Abhaya spoke about Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler. This is a must-read political fiction, an elaboration of the Great Purge that claimed the lives of many Old Bolsheviks during the Stalin era. “The book is amazing,” Abhaya said, ” The most interesting thing is that you get to see impact of the Revolution from someone who believed in its core principles and was let down in the end.” Read the author’s afterword to get a sense of the motive behind writing this book and a deconstruction of Koestler here.
I spoke about the book Less by the Pulitzer Prize Winner, Andrew Greer. It’s a love story with a twist and a travelog all rolled in one. “It’s a beautiful book with beautiful sentences,” was as much as I was able to convey about the elegance of Greer’s prose. Less was more than I had expected…
More books in Part 6.