American Books Being Read During the Pandemic: Essay
I have been let down in many ways and by many people, but today I was cheated by the great father of American Literature, Mark Twain himself. Indeed, I have been, because you see, I was supposed to type a short-story analysis on his most memorable medieval story titled ‘A Medieval Romance’. I researched the short story from one of the classic omnibus’ that line the shelves of my modest library of 31,000 books. I researched the book, dead drunk on coffee and in haste. After looking at my notes today, I realized that the story I was referring to was an abridgment of the real story. This book’s small niche Indian printer and publisher did not realize what he was printing; he presumed the four or five parts that the story is divided into were separate short stories altogether. They are certainly not, and I have made great efforts into setting my notes right. Thus, in a way, I have been cheated by one of my books. It happens once in a blue moon, and the moon in Mumbai, India, is mostly always orange or red, so we are safe!
So, as I sit here in my little bookish cave corner, I have no American short story nor American novel, biography, or non-fiction work to analyze for you today. But I still want to reassure you that more American books and short-story analyses are coming your way. I am excited to be able to do this service. It has been a real pleasure studying the works of American writers, both fiction and non-fiction. I will keep on posting American bookish content till January. Just be patient with me because I have a hectic teaching and writing schedule. I may be the reclusive writer and reader of Mumbai, but I am never exactly ‘free’. If I am ever ‘free’ from my work, then that time is solely devoted to reading. So, just bear with me a bit, and I’ll get some of that American bookish content coming your way on an almost regular basis.
Right now, I’m sitting typing this essay here in my bookish corner. It is in a dark corner of the shared bedroom surrounded by a modest sample of my collection. This room could contain probably around 9,000 or so books. Most of them have been pulled out and studied regularly for my blog and reading pleasure. There is a nightstand next to me, and it has most of the books I use for my blog work. Most have American bookish content. They are around 103 books. Yes, there are 103 books on my nightstand – okay, we can say it is a table, and they are all gems. Want to know more about my life in books and with books? You can check out my memoir Scenes of a Reclusive Writer & Reader of Mumbai here. The book was a finalist in the 2020 DBW Awards. You can check out my blog post here. So, yes, I’m in this bookish corner because it is too late for me to be sitting and typing in my office-cum-writing hut. I’ll be heading there, most probably tomorrow. Sundays are usually ‘booked’ where I am concerned, but with so much work going on in publishing my books, the marketing, distribution, etc., I am always busy working even on Sundays.
I’m also working on a new book, which is a fiction book. The book was supposed to be a novella, but my characters did not listen to me. Now I fear it’s going to be as big as Gone with the Wind. My editors and proofreaders are going to have one hell of a time editing that one. However, I have written shorter fiction. Two of my multiple award-winning novellas are Nirmala: The Mud Blossom and Amina: The Silent One. You can check them out on my blog’s products page. Apart from teaching students from grades seven to twelve and writing books, I handle insaneowl.com and am presently reading American Bookish content. It’s been an incredible journey so far. I can now say I love America more because of the intensive study I’m doing of their literature.
I have blogged a lot of American bookish content recently. I’ve so far blogged on O. Henry, Thomas Wolfe, Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, Ambrose Bierce, Barack Obama, Ernest Hemingway, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Paul Bowles, Toni Morrison, and so many other writers. It is just the beginning. I hope to read, review, and analyze more books, fiction, and non-fiction for the next two months. I pour over these books reclining on my recliner. If I had to pick my favorite American Books Review so far in this particular season, then it will be To Obama: With Love, Joy, Hate and Despair by Jeanne Marie Laskas, which is a book you just have to read. It talks about how President Barack Obama used to read and reply to ten letters sent to him by the American people every night or evening. What took me by surprise was that President Obama also got letters from little children asking him to help them with their homework, and he would do so. But he always asked the student to try and do their homework on their own, and if possible, he would correct their other homework. Now, this is something that just doesn’t happen here in my back of the woods. This fact about President Barack Obama touched the core of my being, and I said I better read something penned by this president.
I then picked up The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama from the Victoria Secondhand Bookshop and Lending Library. I read in a matter of days and was ready with my review. The Audacity of Hope is something you should read and see how prophetic President Barack Obama was in prophesizing about even this global pandemic we are struggling with every day. It has changed our lives so dramatically that it has left us trying to just take it one day at a time, living moment by moment. In President Barack Obama’s political manifesto Change We Can Believe In which I am reading right now (watch this site for the review of this book) President Obama kept on warning America about climate change and a looming pandemic if we do not change our ways. Hopefully, there will be brighter days for America soon. I hope by the time I finish this season of American Bookish Content, there will be a little silver lining in the dark cloud that has so far covered us.
From the short-story analysis, I’ll have to say my favorite is still Mark Twain, even though he cheated me, for which I’m never going to forgive him. But I indeed love Mark Twain as a writer. I read his classic books when I was seven years old, borrowing books from my school library. He has always been my favorite American writer. After him comes Edgar Allan Poe. I love the older American writers a lot. Mark Twain is my true favorite American writer. He is brash, brave, blunt, and unashamed of it all, and that just attracted him to me when I read him as a little girl. I saw Twain as everything adventurous, and I used to lap up everything I could get on him back then, even at such a tender age. I am now trying to get his autobiography volume one, published on November 15, 2010, by the University of California Press. I want to read the three-volume autobiography of the greatest American humorist Mark Twain and to get deeper into the person who, according to William Faulkner, was the father of American Literature. I can quickly get the Kindle versions of all three volumes right now, but, as you may guess, I’m such an ardent book lover that I want to feel the massiveness of those tomes on my heavy stomach as I read them and take them wherever I go. And let’s not forget that Kindle books don’t smell divine. So, I am waiting for a call from the American Library to see if they have the series. Then accordingly, I’ll go about the little details.
I’ve always been a British baby while growing up at school. Still, I turned dramatically American after entering college and started visiting the Dosti Library at the American Embassy premises in BKC, Mumbai. I have never traveled abroad, and I don’t think I will ever do so, thanks to this pandemic. So, the only America I will ever see is in its many beautiful books. Books that tell me about American Presidents, American values, the American Dream, the Republicans, the Democrats, the Independents, American Congress, American law, the American Civil War, the American Civil Rights Movement, Immigrants in America, American literature, American culture, and so much else all contained in the books surrounding me right now, and which are on my Kindle just waiting to be read, studied, and then reviewed or analyzed for you, dear reader.
I hope you keep visiting my site, and I can provide you with some good bookish content for your work or studies. If you are interested in book reviews, book analysis, short-story analysis, poems, essays, essay analysis, and other bookish content, you can check out my blog insaneowl.com. If you are interested in purchasing my books, you can check out the products page on my blog or my author’s page on Amazon. There is a lot of good stuff to buy! Happy reading to you always!
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