Snippets from the fest Lit for Life

Beyond the word

l At first sight, we thought the serpentine queue at Lady Andal School was for the filter coffee being served at the far end of the venue. But a closer look revealed that people were holding books by author, columnist and politician Shashi Tharoor, and were looking eagerly at the booth ahead where he was signing books.

For many, it was the first time they were seeing Tharoor up close, and the book-signing session lasted a whopping two hours; even as the former Under Secretary-General of the United Nations and a former Minister of State for Human Resource Development flashed his trademark smile at fans.

l Pulitzer-winning author and novelist Geraldine Brooks is disarmingly accessible, despite her intimidating resume. At a Lit For Life dinner party with the authors and panellists at Amethyst on Saturday night, she was overheard discussing how citizens of Libya dealt with prohibition when she was a reporter stationed there. “They would inject vodka into oranges and walk around eating them,” she says. (We have to admit, that sounds as delicious as it is ingenious.)

l Just beside the crowded Starmark bookstore, the Book Swap Counter appears like its playful cousin. While for the former, you trade money for books, in the Book Swap Counter, you trade books for books. In the four rows of a shelf, a few of the Harry Potter series, Amish’s The Secret of the Nagas, According to The Rolling Stones by Mick Jagger and R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps lie scattered, all abandoned by their previous owners and awaiting new ones. I take a copy of To D or not to D: Working towards an amicable divorce, a book that finds little relevance in my life currently, and swap it for a Wilbur Smith thriller. Even as I stuff Those in Peril in, I feel a sense of amicable divorce with my previous book, and move on.

l Things turned interesting during the ‘Love in India’ session with Durjoy Datta, Ravinder Singh and Preeti Shenoy, when moderator Nandini Krishnan urged them to take turns on the Hotseat and let the other two authors throw embarrassing questions at them. Excerpts:

Shenoy in Hotseat

Datta: Name one author who is more successful than he or she should be.

Chetan Bhagat.

Singh: Have you ever been attracted to a handsome male reader?

All the time.

Datta: If your next book is not a bestseller, what will you do?

Move to the Himalayas and practise yoga.

Singh: Royalty or fame?

Royalty all the way. Show me the money.

Datta in Hotseat

Singh: What percentage of the sex in your books is autobiographical?

Mine is better. It is space travel.

Shenoy: What do you hate about being married?

Ummm. My wife is here; I’m not saying anything.

Singh: If you could undo any of your books, which one would it be?

The first six. I’m so embarrassed by them.

Shenoy: If you could have a one night stand with either Mila Kunis or Sunny Leone, who would it be?

Sunny Leone.

Singh in Hotseat

Datta: Why is there no sex in your books? Is it a reflection of the engineering days?

Unfortunately, yes.

Shenoy: Your advice to those on Tinder?

Use contraceptives.

Datta: One male author who makes more money than you.

Chetan Bhagat.

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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 12:49:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/lit-for-life/article17044654.ece

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