Last week I decided to do a little bookshelf clean-out, and while I was sorting through the books I wanted to keep, and the ones I wanted to pass on, I found myself in a dilemma of sorts. So I thought why not ask for the public opinion on this one, as I am sure many of you bookworms must have gone through this as well.
But first I want to clarify a couple of things, because last week, when I put up a picture of the books I had decided to un-haul on social media, I got some interesting questions/responses via Facebook messenger.
So, as you can see in the picture, all the books that I am un-hauling are by Indian authors. But it’s not like what it seems. I have nothing against Indian authors, and no, I am not doing a country-specific clean out either. It’s a combination of couple of things actually.
From the last few years, I have been actively pursuing minimalism. Which is why, I am a very active library user, and am very picky about the books I actually buy. And even then, I am more likely to buy the kindle version over the physical one. Mostly because I know how difficult it is for me to de-clutter books, and I just don’t want to put myself in that situation in the first place.
Having said that, when it comes to Indian authors, it would take a miracle to actually find them in American libraries, so that’s not an option at all, and then the Kindle version is either non-existent or overly pricey, so I end up getting the physical books when I (or my family) visit India. Which is why those happen to be the only books I need to un-haul, if and when I do de-clutter books (which is a rare thing in itself).
Anyway, last week when I sorted through the books, and picked out the ones I no longer needed in my collection, clearly I also had to decide on what to do with them. And normally, this is a no-brainer, as for me, an un-haul always means donating to the library.
But in this particular case, I was a little hesitant to donate a couple of these books, and add to their circulation.
Of-course this could just be me overthinking this situation, but I would really like to know what you guys think as well.
Now, like I said, the concern is only regarding a couple of books in here, the others are fine. For instance, there is a contemporary romance companion series in there, and a book by Preeti Shenoy. These books were fine. I wasn’t in love with them, but I could happily give them to the library, as I am sure many others will like them far more than I did, as it’s just a matter of personal taste.
Then there is I Too Had a Love Story. This is a slightly more complicated case, because this has some real bad writing, and even worse editing. So, in this this particular case, the concern is, when there are only very few Indian authors available in American libraries, do I want to add Ravinder Singh to the mix? As that would be a terribly inaccurate representation of Indian literature.
And no, I am not saying that the readers here do not have access to world literature, outside of the libraries. Of-course they do. Especially the ones in my circle, they actively seek out authors from different countries and cultures. But then my circle also has a lot of book bloggers in it, so you see…they don’t exactly fit the average reader profile. Nonetheless, I am okay with giving away this one to the library as well, albeit with a heavy heart.
I’ll start with Ajaya.
Ajaya is the Indian epic Mahabharata from Duryodhan’s POV, or so it claimed to be. But it’s essentially Mahabharata re-imagined, solely to make Duryodhan look like a hero.
And in doing that, the author killed the essence of this epic tale, and the thing that I loved the most about it, which is the fact that every character in this epic saga had shades of grey – good folks did bad things, bad folks had redeeming qualities, and you could never really slot anyone as completely good or bad.
But Mr. Neelakantan took 2 boxes of paint – one black, one white, and painted everyone that was in support of his argument (which was flawed anyway) white, everyone against – black, and made a mockery of the multi-faceted, complex narrative, which encompassed a wide spectrum of human emotions and behavior.
In-fact his bias was so strong, and so one sided, that he couldn’t even keep the introduction to the cast of characters objective (example in my review).
Which is why, though I did want to un-haul it originally, I don’t want to add to the circulation of this book in any way, so I will hoard it for the rest of my life, if I have to, but not give it away, as I have a personal grudge against this one, for making a mockery of one of the most amazing Indian epics. What would you guys do with a book like this?
Then there is Half Girlfriend. I don’t know where to even begin with what’s wrong with this book. Of-course I have a detailed rant in the review (along with examples), but my biggest issue is how casually the author has chosen to perpetuate dangerous stereotypes in this one.
It annoys and aggravates me that in-spite of being aware of how big of an influencer he is, the author decides to write and promote dangerous crap like Half Girlfriend, where the dominant theme seems to be that consent (for physical intimacy) is not that important, so long as the actions are the result of “true love”(which itself is debatable in this case).
Of-course since I am no longer an impressionable teen, this kind of nonsense doesn’t really affect me (well outside of aggravating me), but I am definitely not comfortable with giving this book to young adults, who are basically the author’s target audience.
So as much as I want to get rid of this book, I don’t want to give it to the library, where some unsuspecting teen might come upon this book, and read this dangerous narrative on consent.
Which is why I am conflicted on what to do with these books. I don’t want to keep them, I don’t want to give them away. And nope, I don’t trash (or burn) books, even if they deserve it.
Which brings me to the question of the day. What do I do with books like these? If you have any thoughts or suggestions for me, do leave them in the comments.
The #ChattyBlogs Linky: A monthly linky which goes up on the first Sunday of every month, and is open for 2 weeks.
Here’s how it works:
- Write a chatty/rambly post – it could be a deep, thought-provoking one or even a random ramble. No judgement here.
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