A few days back,i somehow found myself in Landmark on a special mission.More on the mission later.. and ended up attending a book launch…Now,i have attended a few book launches in the past and have found that a lot of authors who are brilliant when it comes to the written word, turn wallflowers and subdued at launches. Nervous laughter and comments follow. Well,this one was so different.So super confident and articulate that Ian Rankin came across that i found myself warming up to the prospect of buying his books :-O!
A little bit about Rankin.. Ian Rankin is touted at one of the top crime fiction writers in the UK.His inspector Remus series is hugely popular and accounts for almost 10% crime novels sold in the UK.His novels are based in Edinburgh and graphically describe the criminal underbelly of the city.With more than 20 novels to his credit,Rankin was in the city for the launch of this new book,The complaints.I read his interview in the Hindu (open ed page)this morning and realized what a huge phenomenon he is !!.
I have never seen a better-handled question and answer session before.. Rankin was brimming with wit and his every answer had a clarity and earnestness that endeared him to the audiences.He also shared snippets about his life,work,opinion on crime,writing and sundry..His anecdotes were funny and there were several i liked a lot..
Rankin was talking about how his first 7 novels were huge failures and he needed a bestseller to just survive.He decided to write under a pseudonym and took the name -Jack Harvey.Rankin elaborated on why he chose this name.Apparently in the UK,books are arranged in such a way that the authors with an “A” surname found themselves on top of the shelf and the ones with a “z” surname at the bottom.Now,our smart author picks a surname that is not only partially the name of his son(first and middle name),but also ensured that he got his books placed at eye level,making sure that people picked his books up,leastwise to browse them!…Rankin also spoke about how there is a certain amount of intellectual snobbism critics and readers in general indulged in.Crime fiction is never perceived as Literature and is always considered populist. I think what he said makes a lot of sense .. I have often caught myself practicing this snobbery when i read chicklits/light reads.Put in his words.. There should be only 2 classes of books – Good ones and bad ones!.
I ended up giggling like a teenager at the end of the launch and bought one of his book(Black and Blue) just to get an autograph from him!.My first author-autographed book!.yay!!.Black and Blue apparently was the book that changed Rankin’s fate and made him a bestselling author .The author himself mentioned during the launch that it was his favorite work till date,so i promptly bought it as i was intrigued about his writing. I am all set to discover another author..
I have to tell you about this mission which the hubby and I have set for ourselves.. A library with 1000 books in the next 1 year..We have just around 200 books now.So a long way to go !!.When i was younger,i was fortunate to discover many authors like PG Wodehouse & RK Narayan thanks to the books my father had collected.We’ll hopefully be able to introduce our kids to such great authors someday!.