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A Study in Bibliophilic Journey – Part 3

A Study in Bibliophilic Journey – Part 3

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After the initial period, Saptarshi finds himself in the world of biographies. In the 3rd part of the series Saptarshi Chowdhury narrates again, how authors with their writings play a significant part in our growth

In the 3rd decade of the 21st century, as I am writing this article,the number of paperback/hardcover readers have reduced significantly than the 1st two decades, and this is appalling. No! I am not at all pointing at the fact that people surfing the internet have overpowered the people reading books, metaphorically speaking, because I have no issues with that. My problem lies with people going for Kindle or reading books as mere PDF files on their devices. Such a tragedy! How can you read a book without feeling its pages? How can you read a book without smelling the pages? Anyways, let’s not discuss about the outliers here. In the previous part, I talked intensively about Enid Blyton, Amish Tripathi and Satyajit Ray. Here, I am going to talk about that phase of my life when I deviated myself from fiction and moved towards the brother-from-different-mother counterpart of it, that is, NON-FICTION!

In the later years of teenage, I found solace in Sports Autobiographies, and the first one that I read was of Andre Agassi. “Open”, as the title rightfully suggests, not only made me dive into the life of Andre as a Tennis Player, but also Andre as a vulnerable human being, like any of us. The entire book, from the first page to the last page, is a great summary of how being one of the greats of the game does not necessarily make you comfortable or happy. Why “Open”? That is a very good question. Well, out of the dozens and dozens of Sports Biographies and Autobiographies present, it somehow is different and ends up striking a very good chord with the reader. It makes you realize that no matter what the circumstance, what the environment around you- you can always stand up and do something. Andre did that, and made the whole world awe in wonder.

If you are an Indian, there is literally no chance that you have never heard of Abraham Benjamin de Villiers, aka, ABD, aka, Mr. 360. Being a fan of his since forever, it was just a matter of time before I read his book: AB-The Autobiography. What a delight! ABD talks about literally everything in the book, be it his young days in South Africa as a kid bullied by his elder brother’s friends, be it his first International Match for the Proteas, be it him busting few myths about his life, be it his time in India. It was overwhelming to be in the shoes of him while reading the book, and I was not disappointed one bit. ABD may not have a    decorated career like other greats of the game, but he had the most entertaining, emotional, and lovable one. When he retired few months back, I gave the book another reading, and it was all the same!

Football is a beautiful game because of how rhythmic it is. Being a Red Devil, aka, a Manchester United fan, Sir Alex Ferguson’s Autobiography titled: Alex Ferguson- My Autobiography, was a dream book for me. And when I say these words, I can represent the entire community of Red Devils. SAF’s life had been a roller coaster one, and to read about him from his point of view, was nothing short of a privilege. To read about his early days in Manchester United, the dressing room atmosphere after the 1998-99 glorious season, his early conversations with the young Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo: it was heavenly. SAF has been a blessing to the world of football, and his book is equally good, and a must read for anyone and not just a Red Devil.

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I have read many Sports Autobiographies but these three stand out, not because they have been written by my favorites, but also because the depth that these have, is just outstanding. I would like to again thank Andre Agassi, ABD, and Sir Alex Ferguson for sharing their experiences so precisely. For now, I rest my case, and let’s meet again in the next part.

To be continued.

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