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INTERVIEW/QUIZ: talkingbooks

June 16, 2012

Amar Sindhu is a Sindhi language poet and teaches philosophy at Sindh University, Jamshoro

What are you reading these days?

After the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, I suddenly started reading non-fiction, especially works focusing on the rise of extremism and fundamentalism in Pakistan, to find out its relationship with imperialism and the army. These included Ahmed Rashid’s Descent into Chaos and Taliban, Zahid Hussain’s Frontline Pakistan and Scorpion Tail, Imtiaz Gul’s The Unholy Nexus, Ghost Wars by Steve Coll and Peter Marsden’s The Taliban. Such stuff showed me a very bleak picture of the future. But thank God I have succeeded in putting aside such works and have switched to fiction again. I am reading the work of Simone de Beauvoir and just finished her All Men Are Mortal and The Woman Destroyed.

Which books are on your bedside table?

There are many: A Dangerous Liaison by Carole Seymour-Jones. She tries to illustrate some untold and hidden aspects of the life and relationship of the leading literary couple of the 20th century, Simone de Beauvoir and Sartre. It’s a very controversial biography of de Beauvoir. Naguib Mahfouz’s novel Khan al-Khalili and yes, Hanif Kureishi’s Something to Tell You.

Which titles are on your bucket list of books?

Sin by Forugh Farrokhzad, Nizar Qabbani’s On Entering the Sea and our own Sheikh Ayaz and Bhittai.

What is the one book/author you feel everyone must read?

It is impossible to select one book and one author, but again there are a few:

Aag Ka Darya by Qurratulain Hyder, The Mandarins by Simone De Beauvoir and Ghulam Bagh by Mirza Ather Baig. All contain an intellectual discourse through the passage of history and time. I prefer Ghulam Bagh if forced to select.

What are you planning to reread?

Dasht-i-Soos by Jamila Hashmi.

What is the one book you read because you thought it would make you appear smarter?

One cannot read a book just to appear smarter. Whenever I tried to do so, my efforts went in vain because when a book fails to touch my mind/mood/heart or senses it is impossible to move ahead.

What is the one book you started reading but could not finish?

Ulysses by James Joyce, God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy and Cyber Space ka Munshi by Mirza Ather Baig.

What is your favourite childhood book or story?

Sindhi lok kahanyoon (Sindhi folk tales) compiled by Dr Nabi Bux Khan Baloch, especially the volume which is about the stories of kings, queens and clever wazir/kabeers.