Thursday, June 26, 2008

Books inedibly

When Bacon talked about books to be devoured, I am sure this was not what he meant.
This is going to be a bit corny but I am trying to follow a train of thought.
At the popular level, a book can be compared to a dish; anywhere between gourmet and badly burnt.
That brings us to what makes a good dish.
Effort, perseverance, balance, and the range of ingredients, spices and experience at the disposal of the chef.
I think a simile of how that ties with writing a book would be redundant: the parallel is pretty evident.
I will just stick to popular fiction here.
Harry Potter would be a rehash of an old favourite recipe people had forgotten.
Chetan Bhagat would be the 2-minute noodles that impatient kids would gulp down and just do away with the temporary stomach ache. Taste is not the issue here, just hunger.
Brick Lane would be a bland rice and daal (bhaat in this context) with very little of the salt.
Most of the chick lits are the heavily spiced chat that girls love to have –like Shobha De’s columns – all spice, no content.
English August is a seven course meal that grows on you with each serving.
Mitch Albom is the chicken flavoured soup – smells like a regular chicken soup, tastes like it too, but not the real stuff.
Above average is a cake well done mostly but, sadly, burnt at the edges. And no icing.
Angela’s Ashes series are the recipes that a master chef held within himself for years and years till he finally decided to step inside the kitchen and delight the world.
That bring us to Ishiguro. Always a chef who tried to make something joyfully heavenly in its simplicity by poring his heart and sweat out in it; and yet. Just a hint but something missing. But one day, he cooked Remains of the Day and was elevated to one of the grandest master-chefs of today.

McEwen, Rushdie, Marcquez are too grand to be called mere chefs – they are wizards.

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