A couple of days ago I went to the amagon home page and I had a ghastly surprise as the home page loaded, the author who is literally a well known “public figure” is selling his new shit and has a banner ad (seems like all asshole sellout authors are promoted on the demonic spawn of Bozos (read this piece on Amish). We are book sellers first and discerning readers second. Building walls to prevent people from reading is a faux pas bourgeois phenomenon which we are going to indulge in right now…
One must not complain about a book that one has not read, I usually give a book that I have picked up with an intention to read a good 69 pages before I want to dump it if it really is bad. I made an attempt with CB and really could not go past the third page, it really is atrocious and repugnant.
Some time back I was conducting a workshop on the importance of reading at a “learn english” class of about 35 people. The participants were from the age of 6 to about 45, I asked them how many of them have read a book besides acadamic requirements, about four and a half hands went up. I then asked how many have read CB, about 25 hands went up (first thought was do these readers consider reading CB as not really reading?) That is fucking awesome, people who have not really read much have read CB and it is a hoard of millions, first time readers, this excites us booksellers as much as the first christian missionaries, when they hit fresh flocks of new continents centuries ago.
Yesterday we had a visit from the head of Rupa publications Bangalore (publisher of all of CB’s shit) walk into the store to do a delivery of kids books personally, yes personally, I fucking love Rupa for this, they may not be the biggest distributor of books in Bangalore, they may not be a monopolistic representative of the penguin half of pengin/randomhouse India, but they offer efficent service and their head came and did a delivery of a (not so small box of books) We had a nice conversation about the problems that they face and our problems as well and then while leaving the man asks me if we wanted to order for CB’s new book? Knee jerk reaction was a little bit of twitching and a resounding NO. We are a republic and decisions in the true spirit of a republic are common, I ask my colleague – Should we get his new book at the store? The answer was no. The manager then says it is a work of non-fiction – HFS, not only has he shat over fiction – now he enters the realm of non-fucking-fiction. I smile and say that we are not the kind of store that stocks books just because they are bestsellers. The man smiles, nods his head, shakes my hand and takes leave – he totally gets what we are about and we consider him to be a member of our neurotic little bookstore republic.
So now on to the dystopia that CB has created. His beautiful beautiful coup is that fact that he has brought a huge flock of readers to the realm of reading for pleasure (hey, pleasure is subjective, e.g. you get lucky once with a girl that digs S&M does not mean that all of the other girls that follow dig that sick shit, pleasure is subjective.) Here comes the really important part, what happens after the CB bomb has hit the minds of his reading minions? They have the beginnings of a thirst which could potentially change their lives and what do they read? Other crappy love stories/real life experiences by IIT grads who instead of doing awesome shit start writing crappy shite, titles that come to mind are… I too had a love story, love me once more or some other crap, an exception to the case would be Karan Bajaj – Keep off the grass.
So where do we stand in the fallout of the CB nuclear bomb? Well we are idealists and believe that there is hope for humanity – we run a fucking book store in this day and age dammit, we take our position seriously, we are careful not to overwhelm new readers to some fucking awesome shit like say Proust or Dante, baby steps, awesome short stories, easily readable/relatable novellas, first book that comes to mind is the awesome Animal Farm, by George Orwell, second one would be say 1984, third might be Slaughter house Five by Vonnegut, fourth might be The the motorcycle diaries by Che or say Candida by Voltaire, get the picture?
There is hope in this zombieland post Chetan Bhagat apocalypse, and that hope is there are fresh new readers coming into the reading fold, so walk into your local indie store that loves books and ask a simple question, where do I go from here? We would love to show you a pathway to bliss (or at least our version of it)
Now that you have made it to the end of this post here is a little visual treat for you here (a little video we have made featuring the awesomely crappy CB and Zombies!)