Next time on the Metro/local train, when you spot a reader, peer discreetly at the cover; chances are you will find them thumbing through one of these literary gems:1. Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James:
A mainstay in the ladies’ compartment. It also holds the dubious distinction of being the book most often wrapped in newspaper because Fifty Shades ladies are very wary of judgy-budgie moral police giving them the stink eye.
. I Too Had A Love Story by Ravinder Singh:
Chetan Bhagat may stake claim to be India’s most popular novelist, but this guy is the uncrowned king of the tube (and tosh). Every time I see a young man reading the book, I worry that he is slogging to crack the IITs and IIMs not for the degrees, but to usurp Singh from his throne by writing the next metro bestseller: I Too Had A Very Similar Love Story and Can The Same Plot Happen Twice.
A lot of different people recommend this as the ‘most life-changing’ book they have ever read. As it turns out, it is not a murder mystery as the title suggests but a self-help book – and an oxymoron at that because can it still be a secret if everybody knows it?
4. Scion of Ikshvaku by Amish:
For a long time, you could not move two steps without bumping into a copy of Amish Tripathi’s Shiva Trilogy. Readers have carried on some of that love for Tripathi’s latest based on Rama’s life, with perhaps a little (okay, a lot) of help from the massive publicity campaign.
5. The Alchemist
(and other Paulo Coelho books):
Other writers may come and go, but Coelho is forever. No, seriously. Ask a random person about the book they last read, you’ll hear The Alchemist mentioned till your ears bleed. It does not matter that the book came out in 1988.
Now that he has declared that he loves SRK, I think it’s time we offered Coelho Indian citizenship. If he declines, we can all stand in line and start chanting “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” at the top of our voices till he accepts. (This chant – a line from the book, by the way – is also the secret of The Secret).
From HT Brunch, September 20
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