Agha Nasir, who has authored six books, is the former managing director of Pakistan Television. His latest book, This is PTV: Another Day, Another World, traces the history of Pakistan’s first television channel
What are you reading these days?
I am usually reading one Urdu and one English book simultaneously. Presently I am reading books written by friends: A Carrot is a Carrot: Memoires and Reflections by Zia Mohyeddin and Jagtay Lamhay by Haziqul Khairi, the grandson of eminent Urdu scholar, Allama Rashidul Khairi.
Which books are on your bedside table?
There are several but my reading priorities are Instant City: Life and Death in Karachi by Steve Inskeep; Justuju Kiya Hai by Intizar Husain, his life story; Manto Centenary a selection of writings of Saadat Hasan Manto with interesting comments and anecdotes compiled and edited by Ayesha Jalal and Nusrat Jalal; and The Last Mughal by William Dalrymple, a sequel to his earlier work, The While Mughal.
Which titles are on your bucket list of books?
There are lot of fiction and serious titles on my bucket list but they keep changing with time. Currently the books I intend to read include: Crossed Swords by Shuja Nawaz, Our Lady of Alice Bhatti by Mohammed Hanif, and Ali: The Fourth Caliph of Islam by Dr Taha Hussain.
What is the one book/author you feel everyone must read?
I strongly recommend the complete works of Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Nuskha Hai Wafa. Also, the play Our Town by Thornton Wilder, an amazing experience for readers, crossing the boundaries of time and space.
What are you planning to re-read?
I would love to re-read History of the Arabs by Philip K. Hiotti, my favourite historian.
What is one book you read because you thought it would make you appear smarter?
I believe that every good book makes the reader smarter. It would be hard to name just one.
What is one book you started reading but could not finish?
There are a number of unfinished books. Also there are different reasons for not finishing them so I cannot come up with specifics. However, in recent times, one such book is Talash, the Urdu translation of Uxi Mufti’s philosophical work originally written in English titled Allah.
What is your favorite childhood book or story?
I was very fond of reading Islamic history. Consequently, I enjoyed historical novels by Nasim Hijazi and Abdul Halim Sharar.