Monday, May 26, 2014

Assay with Justbooks - rental library

Plenty of self introspection

Despite being avid reader (if I can be called one on basis of gobbling 30-40 books per year), somehow I have avoided becoming part of renting library. I preferred instead to buy new or second hand (mostly from Blossoms @ Church street in Bangalore) and for sometime made use of office library. College library is distant past. I've stopped buying cheap duplicate books sold on streets.

Guess I'll put that down to my twisted sense of comfort level. After accumulating one big carton and three bags full of books, I increasingly became concerned about storing options. I give away some books now and then to friends and office library but notion of selling them hasn't prevailed my sub-conscious mind yet. My fellow blogger Karthik looked incredulous at the suggestion. But deep down I know that I won't be re-reading most of the books I own, simply because there is too much to read yet. Worse, I don't own some of the best books I like to reread - again unable to reason out as to why I haven't bought them yet.

January this year rekindled idea of joining rental store after attending Author meet (The revenge of Kaivalya) at Easylib. What caught my attention was seeing some of the books in my to-read list (and not found at Blossoms and costly to buy new one). Karthik and I promised ourselves to visit this place again but that didn't happen until May 17. We risked going to the Koramangla store under rain threatening clouds only to find it closed without any explanation on door. It drizzled on way back and events somehow conspired to lead us to MTR restaurant on 100 feet road, near CMH road junction (again exposing my lack of grip on neighborhood specialty stores :( ). So anyway, among other things discussed, Karthik told me about another rental library - justbooks.


Turns out their Indiranagar store was about a kilometer from my house! Monthly reading rate is Rs 250 (2 books at a time, no limit, min 3 months), Rs 250 for registration fees and another 1000 as refundable deposit. Pretty much similar to Easylib. Not sure how many stores and books they have, but at a cursory glance on justbooks website was all I needed to satisfy my crave for well read sci-fi and fantasy novels from last millennium. The arrangement would also augur well in trying out books compared to purchasing and repenting later.

Picture from Pune store - but serves the purpose
So, last Tuesday I showed up at their store to have a look at what was available close at hand. I was disappointed to not find any from my list, but still the collection was good. Took two (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John le Carre and Nemesis by Jo Nesbo) and applied for 3 month membership. Receptionist was very helpful in answering all my queries, showed how to use RFID+touch screen based machine for issuing/returning books and other needs. I went ahead and placed my request for top of my list - Hyperion by Dan Simmons. Instantly I was shown its availability in other Justbooks Bangalore stores. They intimated me the availability within 3 days via e-mail and reserved 7 days for personal collection. (Door delivery option available too at extra cost). All in all, very pleased with service and availability of books - it's not even a week since I became member - that good!

Quick links

'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' Review

Well written espionage novel by John le Carre featuring famous character George Smiley. Except that it is difficult reading for a poor reader like me who prefers literal words than idioms. John le Carre rarely writes a sentence with literal words. I could make out the genius that the author is but the brilliance is dampened by my time pass expectations. I understood the book better only after reading wiki entry and reviews at goodreads. The film version is good in itself but with altercations.

A slow read for most part. Complex and intricate. I shudder to visualize cold war if secret service is anything like this 'fictional' story (Wiki informs that the author took inspiration from real events). But perhaps, on an abstract level, human involvement results in common characteristics regardless of the nature of work.

Smiley is very likable character. Deluge of characters introduced in early stages of book become more familiar by author's clever use of oddities. This book is part of Karla (the elusive villain) trilogy. Smiley however features as main characters in atleast seven books (My interest in Carre's books came after finding and gifting 'The spy who came in from the cold')

I found John's relatively recent novel 'The Constant Gardener' even more tedious to finish. Read a chapter or two, if you like and understand the writing, his books are a treasure not to be missed.


Karthik said...

Read The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by Carre. (Yeah, the one you gave me for my b'day). :) I finished it in one day. It's really incredible. Try it, try it, you may like it.

sundeep agarwal said...

His writing is so difficult for me to follow :( Now that I've got the rental freedom, why not, will read that one too :)

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