December 21, 2013


Dear M,

Why do we call some books as trash? I know which are trash and which are works of genius. But as we come closer to the border between the two, the definitions overlap and one begins to wonder which is which.

So why am I speaking about this now? I got hold of a book (but haven't started reading it). I came across the name of the book while I was Googling something else. Apparently this book, written in the 70s, was some kind of groundbreaking stuff, which showed its characters in some bright new light. Or opened possibilities. Or something. I read bits and pieces of its review and also found a brief synopsis. (What these kinds of review do is, they invoke our curiosity and give us no peace until we prove them right or wrong.)

When I held the actual book in my hands, my first thought was (seeing its cover) This looks like trash. So we come to the definition of trash. It is something in the cover, for a start. And a few words about it by someone, also plastered on the cover, seemed to convey the same. Eeeek. Is this what I got? Is this the kind of stuff I want to read while I am travelling? Look at those folks over there smirking at the book I am holding. They're thinking: Aha. Caught you out. All that respectable attire and attitude don't fool us. You read this kind of book?

We all live in the opinion of others, apparently, even in that of strangers, so what choice do I have.

The content, its depth, the presentation, the characters and their development, the message it conveys (whether it says anything at all), everything contributes to what kind of book it is. I think at one point, even the definition of trash lies in the eyes of the reader!

I will let the book itself tell me whether it belongs in the trash-can or the book-shelf.


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