City Library – The Delhi Walla, Nizamuddin Basti
A vanishing world.
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
One day there will still be books, but they might not be in the printed form. In the series City Library, The Delhi Walla will make a record of the private libraries of Delhiwallas. In each library, I will try to understand the library owner through his or her collection of books. How many books are there? How many books does she buy every week? How did she acquire her library? Why this author? Why so many books on, say, Soviet Russia? Whose picture is on that bookshelf? Why does not she lend her books? Which bookshop she is addicted to? What will happen to the library after her?
I start with my library. I have more than 8,000 books, most of which I have yet to read. I began acquiring books as a child, when I was fond of Russian fairy tales. Like many people of my generation, I graduated from Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew to Erich Segal, Danielle Steele and Jeffrey Archer. I discovered sex on the pages of Sidney Sheldon’s The Other Side of Midnight. My first ‘serious’ book was Albert Camus’s The Fall. The next was Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things, which opened the door to more authors.
Now, I cannot pick any one favorite author. Nor can I declare a preference for a particular kind of genre. Beside novels, I have books on politics, history, music, food, travel, films and porn. I buy books almost every day. I never lend them.
The look of the book is very important. Don’t be surprised to find that my library has got several editions of a same book. If I like a volume, I go to any length to acquire it. I have flicked books from public and private libraries. If you love your books, don’t invite me to your home.
Memories of my two ex-es
It’s no dump yard
Edith Wharton, first edition
Must sort out
Larousse, first edition (English translation)
Let’s listen to Arundhati Roy
There’s always The New Yorker
A few more
Give me duster
What to read?
Guests in my library