Posts Tagged ‘Books’

The Storyteller’s Back!

Idea Smith told the story last year but this year, as Lord Jeffrey Archer returned for the Landmark Jeffrey Archer tour a second time, you’ll need to settle for my patchy version of it. As I am sure anyone but me can imagine, it is impossible to take in an event when you’re in the thick of organizing it. I tried very hard, I promise you, but between running around for stock, flowers, and signing pens, the two hours that he was in the store just passed me by.

Lord Archer entered about fifteen minutes past seven, by which time the book section at Landmark, Infiniti Mall was completely packed. There might have been a moment or two when I doubted if as many would turn up as last year. But I needn’t have worried. All of Archer’s fans were there – some new ones too.  They came to be charmed, to be  entertained… and no one went home disappointed.

The Landmark Jeffrey Archer Tour at Infiniti Mall, Mumbai

Jeffrey Archer at Landmark Infiniti Mall

While it’s been a while since I last read Archer (the last one I read was Twelve Red Herrings in 1994), I don’t doubt that the books are engaging – going by the stories he told at the store. He told stories of joining the Samajwadi Party and being Transport Minister, but my favourite was the one where his American publishers , Simon and Schuster, tried everything in the proverbial book to get him into the top 15 of the NYT bestseller list.

It was 15 minutes of a lovely, animated saga of how they flew him on the Concorde, put him up at the Waldorf Astoria, and got him two minutes on the Good Morning America show. Despite being instructed to mention the title as often as he could, he spent all of it describing the Concorde. After many botched attempts, success in the American mainstream came when Johnny Carson, while introducing Lord Archer, told his 53 million-wide audience,

Kane and Abel is one of the best books I have ever read. I stayed up all night turning page after page and I would recommend that each of you buy a copy.

A week later, Kane and Abel was #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, and stayed there for 6 weeks.

Jeffrey Archer tells the Kane and Abel story

Jeffrey Archer tells the Kane and Abel story

The thing about being backstage at these events is that you catch the authors/artists as they actually are, egoistic, eccentric, or not at all. But whatever Lord Archer’s personal faults be, there is no doubting that he’s truly happy that so many people show up to see him. He doesn’t leave till every last book is signed, no matter if it takes two hours and that he’s pushing seventy. He always has a smile for you and your camera, no matter how many flash bulbs have gone off in his face. And that makes everything okay as far as I am concerned.

You can still catch him at Landmark, Pune, Moledina Road on the 17th of May. The last event is at Landmark Bangalore, Forum Mall, Jaya Nagar on the 18th of May. Both events start at 7:00 p.m.

The Archer Aims For The Heart

Jeffrey Archer on Landmark tour!

..proclaims a hoarding on Andheri Link Road a few feet before Infiniti Mall which houses the Landmark store. The lower two floors look fairly sane, I think to myself as far as weekdays go. Even the second floor which looms into sight as the escalator rides up looks remarkably normal. Then I notice the mountain of bags lying at the entrance. And I’m stopped by the polite but firm female guard who shakes her head almost sorrowfully and tells me that I cannot carry my battered copy of As the Crow Flies in.

I push my way past the jewelery counter, the New Releases rack and past the music section. Voila!! What’s a celebrity without the crowd? Archer has succeeded in drawing the mob to the store on a weekday. It’s so crowded that people are stepping on each other’s toes even among the magazines racks that signal the start of that heaven that is Landmark’s book section.

I slither through the crowd in a manner perfected by years of Mumbai train travel and end up right at the back, smushed up against Movies while Jeffrey Archer regales a crowd from a stage in what is otherwise the aisle between Maps and Language.

archer-in-the-distance.jpg

(more…)

A Leaf Out Of Someone Else’s Book

I stopped by this pavement stall last evening. It has been…oh, so very long..since I visited this place. Getting to be a real book-snob, are we, patronizing only the big bookstores? Yet, the bookseller recognized me in trice and his eyes bore no rebuke.

bookstall.jpg

There’s one at every corner, if you know where to look and I’ve given away a few of my secrets before. This is (or used to be) one of my favorite haunts before convenience and credit cards took over.

From the evergreen Sidney Sheldons, John Grishams and Jeffrey Archers to the ubiquitous management books, this place still holds its charm. It’s hard to supress that innate sense of superiority in pulling out a book and placing it in the ‘right’ stack along with others in the genre. So pop fiction to the sides, classics in the middle, bestsellers on top. Then realisation strikes that the dynamics of cataloguing work differently in a street-stall.
(more…)

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.