The big problem with being a bibliophile is that one needs regular shots of books to keep sane. The bigger problem of being a bibliophile is that the only way to get these regular shots is to buy the dratted books. Nice, neat solution you say? Not if you are almost permanently broke and especially not if you live in a house where it is almost impossible to walk for five minutes without tripping over books (I really don’t know why though. I think the books have little baby books in the nights. We can’t possibly have brought so many).
So what does one do? One trawls the area and joins the only library which seems to exist in the city. And so have I.
Now this library (and I use the term euphemistically) has been started by one fellow K. It is about the size of a large walk-in-closet and is bursting at the seams with M&B’s, Archies, Joan Collins and not much else. So I have been wading through this not-much-else’s of his (I had taken a diksha that I shalt not read MB’s when I was 14have stuck to it so far).
K unfortunately labours under the illusion that he understands his clients. Thus, every unsuspecting borrower is ambushed with what he thinks are great recommendations and he gets quite offended if one doesn’t borrow the said book. I tried his suggestions a couple of times – fairly innocuous sounding titles and synopsis. And then I found books rampant with “six foot of virile masculinity and rippling abs with ( or without) tight Armani T-shirts” and “women who had sweat drenched shirts tucked in and open to show delectable mounds of bronzed flesh” which has endangered a severe mistrust of his must-reads. (Yes K, there ARE females in the universe who don’t like books of lovin’ particularly. Interesting sidebar, noticed how male porn is always visual and femme porn is always verbal?).
Now having gone through most of the readable books, and quite a few unreadable ones, I find myself having to confront variations of these soft-porn and romantic thingummies.
M&B of course I have vowed not to read. Other books in the genre which I have picked up over the years in book-drought times have been along the following lines.
Danielle Steeles – read some of her stuff in my teens and came to the conclusion that all her books followed the following construct
1.A misunderstood and difficult childhood wali heroine
2.With a name which was usually Alexandra ( Alex for short) ( sometimes for variation the hero was called Alex)
3.The heroine lost her virginity at age 19
4.She went through 3 men – 2 of them who died in tragic and heartrending fashion and left the poor heroine destitute and/or pregnant and/or completely alone
5.Tears and crying in approximately 76.31% of the pages
Nicholas Sparks’s appears to the male equivalent of DS. Only with more muscular hero who dies in the end – the hero can either be a fireman or a cop or a recluse living on an island. The tough masculinity belied by the tender-easily-broken heart just aching to love and be loved.
Then there was one female called Judith McNought – who apparently tried to write historical stuff. But then her heroes had names like ‘Wolf’ and ‘Fox ‘or ‘Raven’ (NEVER ‘Crow’) who ravish women and then fall in love with the “innocence shining out of their eyes” (and also the voluptuousness shining out of their bodies), but they tie themselves into guilt-ridden knots since they have raped the said women.
The woman of course, has this rather conflicted view of wolf. On the one hand, she is horny as hell and wants to be er...taken again. On the other hand, the woman is passionately in love with the misunderstood poor-little-rich-boy-ignored-by-his-parents-in-childhood-and-hence-turned-into-ravager and wants to reform him. But then she also mistrusts him because he has the power to “shatter her heart into a million splinters”. And then all ends happily ever after.
Frankly, I think most females would have a strong distaste for anyone who rapes them – even assuming the said rapist is an Adonis look-alike. But maybe, that’s just my point of view.
The BEST plot however goes as follows (I had read this a dozen years ago and I still remember it.) I cannot for the life of me recall the name of the book or the author though. The story went something like this.
Starts with a suicide of a rich, successful, handsome (blah, blah) man. No one knows why this fellow should commit suicide since he is on the verge of a marriage with a girl of his dreams who happens to be also twenty years younger than him. So she (or someone else) starts investigating into the death.
1.Rich farmer A rapes next door neighbour’s fifteen or sixteen year old daughter B
2.B gets pregnant.
3.B’s parents coerce A to get hitched to B.
4.A and B get hitched, have a baby son C
5.Three four years of misery for B pass, while A continues to plant his seeds in the neighbouring lands.
6.B decides enough is enough and takes off into the sunset leaving A and C behind. End of B
7.Fifteen years later, C is hotness personified.
8.C goes to the Riviera or somewhere, and has a steamy affair with a Mrs. Robinson – let’s call her D. D is also married to rich fellow E.
9.Affair ends, D and E fade into the background
10.Twenty years further on, C falls in REAL love with F. They romance, they slow dance and they prance.
11.And then C commits suicide.
13.Because he finds out that a) Mrs Robinson (aka D) was actually B- his mother.
14.And he also finds out that from that torrid affair of his, this D/B/Mother had conceived a child – who, hold your breath turns out to be F the same person he has been having a romance with which of course involves sharing the conjugal bed.
15.F is essentially C’s child, conceived with C’s mother.
Do you feel like throwing up now? I did.
After that I have a mortal fear of picking up any such books.
Sigh. I need a new library.