Currently Reading — A View from the Cheap Seats

I am sitting in court and reading The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman while waiting. God bless the day I decided to install the Kindle application on my phone

I came across a delightful idea in one of his essays which I wanted to share with you guys. In the days when I was at college, I would have run to a friend’s room and gone into ecstacies. Now that I’m an adult, I am forced to attempt coherence in my excitement

(It occurs to me that the worst thing about adulthood is not the waking up early or the responsibility but the loneliness. What do you think? But I digress.)

Neil Gaiman has a brilliantly put opinion on the differing roles of a creator and an academic. 

It is the job of the creator to explode. It is the task of the academic to walk around the bomb site, gathering up the shrapnel, to figure out what kind of an explosion it was , who was killed, how much damage it was meant to do and how close it came to actually achieving that.

I agree with him completely. What do you guys think? Do you think you’re better suited to being a creator or an academic? Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments! 


Monday Morning Commute Thoughts

I’m currently reading The Orchard of Lost Souls by Nadifa Mohamed. It’s the story of three Somali women who lived during the Somali civil war. It’s a beautifully written book and it prompted me to talk to you about the cathartic experience that is a good book. 

The weather is beautiful and even the fact that it’s Monday and I have a long day ahead of me does not take away from the joy that good prose gives me. 

As I grow older, I realise that being a writer isn’t just a childhood dream but a real, honest longing that I can’t overcome. As this longing increases in intensity, I notice the music that the written word produces more and more each day. 

Gone are the days when I sped through books, desperate to know what happens next. Now, after coming across a particularly delightful line, I set my book down and stare at the ceiling for a while, marvelling. I wonder what humans have done to deserve the delight that is language  And I thank my lucky stars for the family and the time I was born into. I hug the book to my chest. And I smile. As long as the words I’ve read dance on my tongue and in my mind, I stay smiling. 

I may take an extra day or an extra week to finish my book at this rate. And that’s okay. As long as there exist words that send me into ecstacies, everything will always be okay. 

“Kawsar closes her eyes in embarrassment, the kisses making her skin sing” That’s the latest line from the book that I’m delighting in. In case any one is wondering. But there are several brilliant lines in the book. Read it. 
Do you prefer plot-heavy stories or language-heavy stories? What kind of language are you more comfortable navigating; flowery or simple? Have you read this book or any of Nadifa Mohamed’s other books? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

How do you convince people of the value of fiction?

I’m going to quote what Salman Rushdie said about this topic in this interview because it really appealed to me as the right approach when people refuse to take your hand and enter the worlds that mean the most to you:

If you were stuck in an elevator with a person who refused to read fiction, how would you change his or her mind?

Oh, no. I’d just get out of the elevator as fast as possible. One of the things I’ve learned is that you don’t change people’s minds. There are people who love fiction and there are people who find it stupid. “What’s the use of stories that aren’t even true?” as Haroun asked his father… And unless they’re fortunate enough to stumble upon a book that opens some door in their head that hadn’t been opened before, you can’t change it by arguing. So my view is you know, thanks a lot, I’ll get off here.”

There it is. Short, truthful and effortless, if a little snarky! Clever, isn’t he?
He has another novel out. Go check out the original interview for more details.
In other news, I’m considering giving Midnight’s Children another chance. I didn’t like it the first time I tried reading it, even though the premise did appeal to me. So I’m thinking about picking it up again now because I think I’ve become a different person and a different reader.
What did you think of Rushdie’s opinion on people who don’t read fiction? Do you think he was rather too disdainful? Do you think the uphill battle to get someone to read fiction is worth it? I personally have fought that battle and lost every time.
Also, do you guys think Midnight’s Children is worth my time? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments.