Current reading:

1) Temples of Himachal - (ed.) Swati Mitra 
2) James Ellroy - The Cold Six Thousand - very irritating style of writing. But then he wrote L.A.Confidential (which I haven't read but love the movie), so will stick with the book.

Just finished:
Jim Butcher - The Dresden Files (14 Books) - pretty decent formulaic hardboiled modern fantasy. See, that sounds like a trope, and it is, and the author admits it. So if you like the idea, then go for it. The series is not over, and and while there is no continuing plot arc through the series, I think he will need 3 more books to finish it. Read on a torrent downloaded ebook, but willing to buy an omnibus, if available here in India. 

Steven Erikson - Forge of Darkness (Kharkanas Trilogy) -

Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson - A Memory of Light - Wheel of time book 14 - Just on merits, this book is probably only passable. But as the final book of a series which has lasted me for these last 10 years, which have caused me to repeat exams because I was too busy finishing off the book, the effect that this book brings to my life is one of a very loved closure of a long term relationship. Time to move on. 

Ed Hawkins - Bookie Gambler Fixer Spy - Forgettable non-fiction book, as can be gauged from the Le Carre inspired title. Its bad because, the entire book is based on 3-4 interviews and 2 short trips to India; there are long form investigative articles which do the same amount of research. 

Nick Drake - Egypt - The Book of Chaos - random, readable, but honestly I am tired of historical fantasy which is not tightly written - the conversations between characters,  the descriptions -they are like those made after a trip through Egypt; and that is some shit, because where is the imagination of the writer. 
Ajay Jain - Kunzum Travel LIst 26-50 (not recommended, very superficial list, not really useful for holiday planning. The Outlook getaway series are far better).
Reinhold Messner - My Quest of the Yeti (recommended for Messner fans)
Nick Hornby - Fever Pitch (recommended - for any sports fans)
David Drake - Servant of the Dragon (not recommended)
David Drake - Mistress of the Catacombs (not recommended)
David Drake - Master of the Cauldron (not recommended - maybe slightly better than the last two)
Ed Greenwood  - The Kingless Land (will have to read more of the series to decide if its any good)

All time high fantasy recommendations:
1) Ursula Le Guin - Earthsea Quartet

Especially recommend Book 1 - Wizard of Earthsea and Book 3 - The Farthest Shore - probably because they are all about Ged - a male wizard, while the other two, Book 2 -Tombs of Atuan and Book 3 - Tenahu, are more focussed about the female characters. But they are all good, and Le Giun's ability to draw you into her created world, in small novella sized books is unsurpassed in the fantasy world. 

2) Robert Jordan - Wheel of Time series

I started this record keeping exercise in March 2013 so as to keep track of what I read. This was prompted by situations in used book stores where I have come close to buying the books that I already own and have read. An immediate reaction to that is that probably I do not read seriously enough to remember. I will agree to an extent, but in my defense, I read a lot of fantasy books, and it is a very hard task to find worthwhile fantasy stuff. One ends up buying bags full of books and out of them only one will be good enough to be re-read. So the first screening read that I do of each book is very fast (I don't skip lines or pages, but I don't try to dig deep into what the author is saying or the usage of the language); if it is good, I will re-read it anyways. I don't follow the same policy for non-fiction, or for other literature, or for fantasy authors who I have been waiting to read. 

Top fantasy book stores in India - (I have lived in Delhi, Bombay, Bangalore and In Orissa (in Dhenkanal, Bhubaneswar, and Cuttack)).

1) Blossoms, Church Street, Bangalore
It helps that they have a section called sci-fi and fantasy. Alphabetically arranged, but randomly procured collection ensures that you always get something new, and yet can also get some of the stuff which you want. The retail rates are slightly pricier than other used book stores, but no one's complaining - with computerised look up facilities, and neatly arranged shelves etc. But yeah, Blossoms is slowly becoming very mainstream, which will be a worry in due course, a couple of years down the line.

This is the kind of dilemma you have to deal with in Blossoms.

Another similar option in Bangalore is Bookworm.

2)  Midlands, Aurobindo Market, New Delhi
For latest launches, this is the best place. The manager is helpful, the fantasy rack is in a very awkward place on a narrow staircase, and there are nice 20% discounts without even asking for them. Good store also to get books, one or two days before their release date.

My book purchases on the last Bangalore trip.

3) Nehru Place, New Delhi

In the middle of the plaza at Nehru Place, in the centre of pirated software in India, are two three footpath bookstalls who have proven to be a surprisingly good supplier of used fantasy books. They have standard barter rates - good condition books at Rs. 200, Average at Rs. 100, and thin books at Rs. 50. They probably buy it from the Daryaganj Sunday Market and sell here, but I got what I want. One can bargain hard easily add 5-6 more books, when you are looking to purchase Rs.2000 worth of books. The chaps are very eager to make a sale, and unaware of the books' worth.  Lots of these books are advance copies of the printers, or reviewer's copies. 

This is very similar to the scene that used to be there near Churchgate station in Bombay (and which is no longer the case now).

4) Daryaganj Sunday Market, New Delhi 
This is the motherlode of used book buying in Delhi - but it is a huge exercise, as you will have to walk kilometres, from any car parking (better take the metro to Ajmeri Gate). Books will be in all conditions - torn, falling apart. Your chances of getting pickpocketed will keep you on your toes (and your hand in your pocket). You will want to cap of the experience with some meat in the Jama Masjid area, but will  feel like a retard for that, when you carry 10 kilos of books through those congested areas for a meal. Your returns from Daryaganj can be very mixed. If you are a Delhite then its better to go to Daryaganj when out of town friends also want to go there.   

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