Thursday, October 14, 2010

What is a great book? Or How I learned to deal with Twilight.

For me it’s a book I just can’t put down… Sleep, food, (hygiene as a whole)are all forgotten as I feel compelled to turn page after page just to see what happens next. It is so well penned that you can paint a picture of things as they happen. It gives you that funny feeling of giddiness in your stomach. You identify with characters. You cry when they cry, you laugh when they laugh (cliché but apt). I go into a bookstore with the intent of buying something new, but everytime I go there I make a pilgrimage to the 12 book series by Robert Jordan (Akash & Manan are willing to testify) sometimes to read a favorite part mostly just to bring a smile to my face. Essentially that’s what a good book does it brings a big grin on your face when you remember the great time you had reading it. I look at my copy of the Half-Blood Prince and still remember how white knuckled I was when Snape killed Dumbledore (well if you didn’t know that by now, you must live under a rock). Sometimes you even find a book that lets you take away a little nugget of wisdom forever after (The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, anyone?) which makes your life just a tad better. Mainly a great book is a window to happiness, a time to forget the world and get lost in a whole new one.
Good books just don’t pop out fully formed. There is a preliminary idea which must be slathered with well penned prose, a strong plotline and well sketched characters. (And this doesn’t happen over a summer in the
Hamptons like Castle wants to believe). Most authors, Tolkien, Rowling, Jordan, Brown take years thrashing out the details and penning their fantastic stories.
A great book innate in its goodness is similar to listening to a great symphony, or watching a canvas painted by a master, they are all things of beauty (thank you for that one, Mr. Keats).
But we have progressed a great deal since 19th century when Keats lived in. And phrases such as “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” have been invented and must be kept in mind. So, I guess, the last and most crucial component for making any book or song or movie great are us, the recipients. A lot depends on how we feel about a book in our hearts, minds and in our stomach (remember the giddiness I talked about?). It could just so happen that you pick that one dusty copy of a book which the critics have thrashed and people have ignored; and you go home, sit comfortably tucked in your bed and start reading it and soon find yourself under the author’s spell. And as you re-read the final line you find that the sun’s up and it’s a brand new day, the hours having passed by unnoticed as you read enraptured.
So what if that book’s sales were dismal and critics called the author a “nincompoop”? If you loved the book and if it gave you happiness then at least as far as you are concerned it was a thing of beauty and thus a great book; and there is no one who has any right to force you to see otherwise.
This I guess applies for my feud with Twilight. Twilight provides joy to millions of readers world wide (readers or should I just say females?). And if they like it and it brings them happiness, then for them it is a great book and who am I to say otherwise?

Makarand Mahajan
B.Com (H) 2nd year

1 comment:

AP said...

You are Makarand Mahajan to say so?