Happy places.

We all have our happy places, you know where you go to just because they make you happy in some inexplicable way. In our case these places usually have a lot of books. Its not that we are obsessive when it comes to books, ok we are uber obsessive. Its not that they have to be there so we can grab them and start masticating immediately. Its just that they are there, reassuringly they are there.

A couple of days ago I was at the Humming tree, I went for a piss and a familiar face walked into the loo took the urinal next to me and said “this is my happy place”.

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The Republic has Shifted!

Dear fellow Goobes,

We are happy sad to announce that the Republic has had a change in location due to unavoidable circumstances (read depression, followed by the recession, a lot of lazyness, followed by a great flood kind of like the one in the movie 2012)

We have shifted right next door beneath the only Darshini on Church Street (Sheesh Mahal) to a more spacious warm and fully stocked store. Look for our very visible peacock green Goobes sign board.

Do swing by and give us a Hoot!

Chief Goobe Officer
Goobes Book Republic
Buy/Sell/Rent used and new books!


The potrait of the artist as a young man by James Joyce

A good place to start with Joyce. His works are about as challenging as they come in the literary world. Keep “Ulysses” or “Finnegan’s Wake” once you are done with the potrait. Not that it is easy to get along with though it will be very rewarding to the persistent ones. “Portrait” is certainly not a light read. Joyce’s meandering narrative and curvatious prose can be confusing. One could quite possibly find one self reading a sentence about five times in order to figure out what one has has just read.

All its wordy content aside, “Portrait” is an essential read because the story of Stephen Dedalus carries so much resonance. One can relate pretty easily to his search for answers. Stephen faces existential questions that should ring true for any young person coming from any culture at any time.

He tries to find satisfaction by giving in to his lust, and when that doesn’t suffice he jumps to another dimension in seeking fulfillment through religious devotion. In the end, however, neither of these extremes provides answers he’s looking for. Stephen’s story demonstrates one unfortunate fact of life: when you’re on the quest for the meaning of it all – there are no easy answers.

Ultimately, as Stephen tells his friend Cranly, he decides that his solution is to “express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can,” even if it means making mistakes or being spurned by society. In “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,” Joyce sketches some important brain fodder that have since become prominent in literature, notably noncomformity, self-expression, coming of age, and the nature of religious belief.

“Portrait” was written with plenty of intelligence and tonnes of soul, no surprises as to why it’s still read after all these years.

The potrait of the artist as a young man by James Joyce

Siddhartha – Hermann Hesse

A truly poetic and timeless beauty.

Siddhartha, a young man, leaves his affluent family for a silent contemplative life and soon get restless and leaves the asthetic life for one of the flesh. He conceives a son and soon gets bored and disgusted by lust and greed, moves away from society again. At rock bottom, Siddhartha comes to a river where he hears a sole sound. This sound signals the true beginning of his life – the beginning of suffering, rejection, peace, and, finally, wisdom.

Siddhartha’s skepticism of dogma and doctrine (Buddha), of the world of business (Govinda) drives him to find his own way, only after he has experienced both the spiritual and the material world. Followed by the indifference of his offspring that he returns to the river and the boatman to find way and true peace – of the self and the Atman are united.

Siddhartha - Hermann Hesse

Hotel Savoy – Joseph Roth

This novella is packed with details and characters, mirroring the chaos of the post war Europe period of its setting. It covers a string of events in the life of his Gabriel Dan, A war veteran returns home after several years in a Siberian prison camp, to what seems like a Polish town to reside at the Savoy

The ‘hotel’ symbolic of the whole of European civilization at that point of time. It is a world of newly drawn boundaries and misplaced people. The hotel, containing a variety of people from all ethnic and social backgrounds, eagerly awaits the return of Bloomberg, a rich Jew, from America, to save the town with investment.

But he has come just to mourn his dead father, and when he leaves for the States a mob of solders turned revolutionaries burn down the hotel thereby destroying the old order.

Especially likable is the character of the lift operator who magically hides the guests luggage till they sort out their tabs (which never happens)

Considering this was written during Roth’s socialist period, it seems remarkably nostalgic and unsympathetic to the revolutionaries.

Disturbing as Roth’s vision is, this novella is ferociously funny, an orgy of despair, a cathartic bonfire of the vanities.

Hotel Savoy, Joseph Roth

Joseph Roth a novelist, best known for his family saga Radetzky March (1932), and for his novel of Jewish life, Job (1930).