Monday, 26 September 2016

Books and Travel

Travelling broadens the perspective and books take us a million places. This is a quite-heard-of phrase. 
My recent road trip has inspired me to make a list of my favourite books which contain trips, travel or just beautiful places that I have or want to visit. Here is my list of six books in no particular order.

All the bright places

I know a lot of people who take 'Fault in our stars' as the gateway to young adult fiction, but for me 'All the bright places' did the trick. It is a beautiful book about a boy in depression and a girl who has no will to live. Things happen and they decide to roam around their beloved town to explore the lesser known places. They come across a beautiful lake, a church and a field of flowers. Ah, also the visit to the tank top to view beautiful constellation. 
The travel brings both the protagonists close. As they say, you make best of friends on a road trip! 
Though the book has a sad ending, the exploration is beautiful. Getting to know one's own place from up close fills you with awe. It is often said that chasing the moon makes you oversee the sixpence under your nose. Finch here will definitely not let that happen. 

Paper towns

Often debated as the best work of John Green, this book contains all the excitement of a road trip with a time constraint. Friends bond and walls are broken. There is a search for someone who does not want to be sought. This book also gives us an unforgettable female character. Margo Roth Spiegelman is definitely worth the chase! 'Paper towns' will definitely make you pack your bags and go on a road trip. 

God of small things

Kerala often called as 'God's own country', has been on the list of all the travel buffs. But this book has inspired me to move the place to my priority list. Lent to me by one of the few people who has influenced my reading, this book opened the doors of literary fiction to me. 
The first few pages contain an abundance of beautiful descriptions about the place. The entire book inspires you to visit the lakes, sit under the stars across the river and just fall in love with the place. This Booker prize-winning book should be on every traveler's list to read. God of Small Things makes you fall in love with Kerela. 

The Tudor wife

Tudor history is probably the most read history in the world. This book makes you understand that the head which wears the crown often lies uneasy. Apart from giving my interest in Tudor history a kickstart, this book also describes the castles beautifully. 'The Tudor wife' is not the best book on Tudor history but it definitely explains the grandeur well.
England has a beautiful legacy when it comes to architecture. Every monarch inspires a different style of architecture. This rich architecture puts England on the map for every architecture lover. And mine too, of course!

Safe haven

The King of romance, 'Nicholas Sparks' has romanticised 'North Carolina' to the extent that it has permanently pricked a pin on every traveller's map. Being the hometown of the author, he describes the city most intimately which will make anyone fall in love with the place. 
Definitely, a place to visit at least once in a lifetime. 

Naughty men

This book is a proof that if your life isn't going well, take a road trip. Primarily a story of a middle-aged man who has a sexless life, and a permanent interference of his in-laws in his household activities is not helping. 
He and his friend decide to take a road trip together and then the book goes from being funny to hilarious. A definite read for all bachelors or anyone who enjoys good humour!

Saturday, 24 September 2016

The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side by Agatha Christie

On September 15, 1890 the queen of Crime was born. A lot of us have her to thank for, for having made us fall in love with crime fiction. This year also marks 100 years since the introduction of Poirot to the literary world. He is a loved detective in the field of crime fiction. Ms.Marple is another quirky woman who has been a protagonist in a lot of Christie’s work. I for one have a woman crush on Ms.Marple. The Mirror Crack’d from side to side features the very witty and smart lady who solves another crime once again.Here is a book that I am reviewing since it's Agatha's birthday month!

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Cover

Published by Harper Collins, the cover is  a grey one with the author’s name written across the top half – in a font that is signature to a lot of books published by Harper. The lower half has a cracked mirror and the title over-layed on it in a bold purple. I don't really have much to say about the cover, as it is not elaborately done (maybe an Author of her stature needs no cover to entice a reader!), however it reflects the title as precisely as can be. It does not give away anything about the plot, but on reading the book you will realize the presence and significance of the phrase time and again.

Characters

Miss Marple is our lead protagonist and is now old ,and confined to her home except the few times she misleads her overseer and takes a walk into the town and the newer development abutting the town. Celebrity Marina Gregg moves into this quaint little town with her director husband Jason Rudd, after buying the house of Mrs. Arthur Bantry. One one of her secret escapades Miss Marple meets Heather Badcock who is a Ambulance helper and helps Miss Marple when she falls down. The same Heather attends the party at her idol Marina’s house and dies after drinking a poisoned daiquiri. These are the most significant characters, other than the investigating officers, the husband of the deceased,  the wagon of support staff of Marina like her manager, chef etc and her adopted estranged children and her own mentally unstable child.

Content

As mentioned in the characters, Marina moves into Gossington hall, which happens to be Miss Marple’s dear friends old abode. Marina holds a charity lunch where more than half the town is welcomed, and a few others are invited for the closed door cocktail event. Among others, is Heather Badcock, who is a fan of the actress and goes on to elaborate to her, how a few years back, she inspite of being sick made it to an event just to see Marina and get her autograph. As the event progresses, Heather drinks a cocktail originally meant for Marina, and dies of poisoning. What follows inshysterical breakdown of the paranoid actress as it looks like an attempt is made on her life.
Each person around her seems to have  a motive to kill her, but due to a mishap, an innocent woman is killed. The police is baffled as they are quite clueless except the fact that Mrs. Arthur insists, that Marina had a horrified expression momentarily after and before which the event went on smoothly until the time of death of Heather. Mrs. Arthur relates to her friend Miss Marple, how Marina looked like Lady Shallot, as though doom has come upon her (and hence the title of the book).

Language

Written in signature Christie style, one will quickly get attuned to the books. The plot at a few times might seem like a little confusing,  but the simple writing helps. There is no life altering line or stanzas, which is quite natural considering that it is a no-nonsense mystery. What really irked me was how the same person is sometimes addressed by their first name, and sometimes by their second name, and as  it is the mystery and the number of people  have you a little muddled –this does not help!
Not to forget, the character portrayal of the fine old Miss Marple is adorable. It is so easy to fall in love with the frail old woman, who is in reality quite badass!!

Good Points

Miss Marple is so lovable. The way her character has been written is such that you will instantly want an accomplice like her. The book completely satisfies a mystery lover as to the very end you have no clue who it is! One keeps guessing, and is almost convinced with their choice of pinning the culprit, but alas – Christie beats you with the most unexpected climax!

Bad Points

I mostly love the covers of all Agatha Christie books, but this just average. Also, as mentioned above, the different ways in which the person is addressed is a tad confusing.

Overall

Another book that makes me fall in love with this legend some more. Do not even bother to pin the murderer, for YOU KNOW NOTHING!

Who do I recommend this to?

Christie fans, and book lovers in general who enjoy this genre will enjoy this book.

Quotable Quotes

Heather Badcock meant no harm. She never did mean harm, but there is no doubt that people like Heather Badcock (and like my old friend Alison Wilde), are capable of doing a lot of harm because they lack - not kindness, they have kindness - but any real consideration for the way their actions may affect other people. She though always of what an action meant to her, never sparing a thought to what it might mean to somebody else.
Why shouldn't I hate her? She did the worst thing to me that anyone can do to anyone else. Let them believe that they're loved and wanted and then show them that it's all a sham.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

The Trouble with Women by Jacky Fleming

'The trouble with women' is one of those books which lightens feminism as a concept and helps understand the significance and need of it even today. I requested the book after watching a couple of videos on YouTube, all of them heartily praising the book. This is one of the most fun books I have read on feminism yet (not too many, but still!). 

Cover page 

The cover page contains an illustration of a woman in a bubble looking out frantically. This is a reference to the text inside, which can only be understood once the book is read. The cover page is simple and cute. It also segregates the book by its genre. It is a picture book and thus depicted on the cover. It is a very thoughtful yet simple cover. 

Characters 

The chief character featuring in the book is woman. Women from different time periods adorn this book. They come in different forms, brain sizes and clothing. Some are lazily doing crochet while the others are making fools of themselves on bicycles. The author has done a brilliant work in describing women in the book both using wit and sarcasm. 

Content 

There was one time in the world where there were no women. There were only men. And few of them were geniuses. Therefore we only hear of men. The book is filled with such quirky lines and equally funny illustrations that go with the text. It also talks about the function of bloomers, hobbies of the ladies and their brain size in general. Women were just dainty living things  who never could take any stress. There are also a few mentions of some doing great things like shooting and running a county. But sadly they were not good enough to go to Olympics. These comments raise questions and laugh at the stupidity of the society. They are funny enough to make you laugh and give out great message on feminism too. 

Language 

The book is full of quirky, funny, witty comments and observations. They are simple and fun to read.A light and hearty read. 

Good points 

The cover page is beautiful. Women are described well using myths and sarcasm. They are lovely to read about. The content is funny. It will keep the smile on your face always. 

Bad points 

The length. I wish the book was longer. But I am going to read and reread it. 

Overall 

Overall, it is a funny light read on feminism. Definitely worth checking out. 

Whole do I recommend this to 

This book is for all those who like feminism as a concept but hate reading lengthy prose about the same. Those who look for funny reads on serious topics are going to enjoy it too. 

Quotable quotes

In olden days there were no women which is why you don't come across them in history lessons at school. There were men and quite a few of them were geniuses. 
Very occasionally a woman would go and learn a foreign language, go abroad to study, and come back qualified as a doctor, but that didn't prove anything except that women cause trouble as soon as you allow them out.
There were many ways of becoming fallen, including having a side part, having your own mind, speaking out loud instead of just thinking it, and not remaining a virgin after giving birth. Only women could fall.
Once girls had learned sixty different embroidery stitches there was no more room to learn anything else.
I received this book from the publishers for review. The opinions are entirely my own, completely uninfluenced.  

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Incursion (Catalyst Moon #1) by Lauren L. Garcia

Freedom is worth everything. Everything. 
It is a world of fantasy where some rule over the significant others. Some live freely while others in cuffs, all for their inherent characters. Lauren Garcia tells a beautiful tale of the worth of freedom. Her beautiful story is made even more interesting with the presence of mages and sentinels. And of, course other beastly creatures. 

Cover page 

The cover page reflects the genre. Black dominates the cover with lead characters from the story and a crow. Which has a part to play in the story. The cover page is good to look at. I wish the spine and the back cover was paid similar attention. The spine looks dull and the back cover looks incomplete. 
The designers have followed the rules and delivered a good product. The pages and font inside are easy to read. I am glad I was sent a physical copy for my collection! 

Characters 

Mage halcyon is a magician living in the world of ordinary people and hence assumed dangerous. She is kept in watch bound by cuffs which is locked by hematite. But kali is hardly evil. She is a woman with kind heart who wishes good for the ordinary and others too. 
Stonewall is a sworn sentinel appointed among many others to maintain a balance in the world. He has no one he can call his own and that has toughened him up. Stonewall is an epitome of masculinity in the book. He is strong, courageous and respects women. 
There are other characters too in the book. Canderis for example are 'built like Oakes and strong as oxen. These blue eyed warriors are paced about like wild creatures.' 
All the characters are distinct which makes them interesting to read. 

Content 

The book contains parallel scenarios happening in the same realm. These connect with each other in fragments. 
The world is full of magic and ordinary people. Those who possess magic are considered to be dangerous since they have powers yet to be known to normal being. Therefore to maintain a balance in the world they are kept bound in handcuffs which is very closed to being jailed. 
The situation is unacceptable to some of the mages and hence they plan an upheaval. 
Mage halcyon, completely unaware of the upheaval is happy to be sent off to whitewater where she hopes for a cure to her knee.
The story is of the journey of Kali and stonewall. The story is thrilling. The detailing such as the sound of battle etc paints a vivid picture. The slowly developing intimacy in the book is definitely a major highlight of the story. It resurrects your faith in the emotion. The writing keeps you on your toes. The unexpected occurrences wow you. It is 312 pages of shear magic and thrill. 

Language

The language is very simple. The narration is fast paced. The story is a mix of fantasy and regency. 

Good points 

The cover page is beautiful. The characters are powerful. Each one possesses different endearing qualities. The content keeps you on your toes. The narration invites you into another world and makes you stay. 

Bad points 

312 pages seem too less. You are left with wanting to know what happens next. But that is what sequels are for, right? 

Overall 

Overall this is a fast over fantasy novel which will keep you on your toes throughout. 

Who do I recommend this to 

This book is for all those who are new to the genre. This is also for those who like quick thrillers.

Quotable quotes 

Nox bring your spirits safely over the river. Tor guide your steps into the next life. The one keep you in all your days. 
How bleak it must be, to live without such a faith that made his own life vibrant. 
"Freedom," he repeated. "It's worth all the danger, Eris. It's worth everything."

Saturday, 10 September 2016

O'S LITTLE BOOK OF LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP

While most of us make a tentative “To Read” list on an annual or a monthly basis, a lot of us cannot navigate through it with much success (if you do, do tell me how!). While my annual TBR is silently judging me for conveniently forgetting it, I continue to randomly pick books based on my mood right at that moment, and O’s little book of love and friendship was read during one of those times. Embarking on a day trip and reading two emotionally heavy books, I picked this as it is a compilation of essays published in the Oprah Magazine.

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Cover

Provided by Pan Macmillan India, the cover had me in love the moment I set my eyes on it. A vibrantly colored water color illustration, it has a big O placed in the center, with the title and other details demarked with a white background. The cover does justice to the content of the book, as the description and the title tell one that it’s about different parts of our life- love and friendship, which are the most vibrant colors on the canvas of life. Also, to me these various colors represent how love in all it’s forms paints our lives into a rainbow of colors!

Characters

This book is a compilation of essays (and anecdotes)  published in the Oprah Magazine over the years. It also has an interview of Oprah herself, and has real life stories of various authors. Though there is no particular character per-se, it wouldn't be wrong to say that Love is the protagonist, around whom these stories revolve.

Content

Each writer, shows a slice of their lives- a small or big event and how it has impacted them. Each of these stories show us how these people found love, dealt with the loss of loved ones and battled their way through difficult times. From talking about a date that did not lead to anything, to a shout in the void – only to have it answered, the book takes one on the journey of these people who found their own miracles.

Language

Simple, modern English has been used to appeal to the wide array of readers who would have been reading the magazine. No two writer’s can be told apart as there is a subtle similarity in the writing style. It’s probably the simplicity of the language and ease with which they convey what they have to that holds it all together.

Good Points

It is a feel good book, showing us  how life gives us what it does, and it still turns out to be a beautiful just the same. It leaves you with a small ray of  hope in your heart that maybe at this moment things seem chaotic, and stressful, but it’s neither unusual nor a permanent part of life, but a mere phase. Lastly, it shows us how we may be flawed and we may be afraid, but letting go, and risking it all is really worth it – for your miracle might just be around the corner, and all you have to do is take a step.

Bad Points

I really cannot think of any, because the premise of the book itself is something close to our hearts.

Overall

This is one of those books that I’d definitely re-read many more times, as it is not about a story, a plot or a thrilling climax, but about faith in life and learning from whatever life throws at us. It is surely going to speak to me in a much different way in a few years from now, for I may be in a different place then, with a different perspective.

Who do I recommend this to ?

This non-fiction feel good book would surely make you feel a little happy and positive about life. So if you are at an uncertain place, and overwhelmed by the intensity of life itself – maybe  you should pick this book up and read an essay or two. Mind you , it’s not one of those books with an opening, a body, a revitting climax and an end, but more like an evening spent with complete strangers, who  are from different walks of life, sharing their experiences over a cup of tea and warm cookies, while it gently rains outside.

Quotable Quotes

Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life? ….For how long will you continue to listen to those dark shouters, caution and prudence? Fall in, fall in…
Fooled again. It never stops. First comes love, then comes knowledge. The problem is that it’s new knowledge each time, and it doesn't accumulate into lasting wisdom. It seems to, but it doesn't. Indeed, in my experience, applying the lessons from the past romance to a present romance is the surest way to ruin it. I know this because I’ve tried. And always will.
The date was like an island you stumble on with a stranger, and you spend a few pleasant hours together there, but you can never find the island again. I ached a little.
If we were not soul mates, we were kindred spirits. We shared the religion of language, a belief in words and the strength of their composition.
But in this friendship there isn't a label, there isn't a definition of what it’s supposed to be.

Monday, 5 September 2016

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

'Sometimes I think these scarves aren't sent to the Angels at all, but unraveled and turned back into balls of yarn, to be knitted again in their turn. Maybe it's just something to keep the wives busy, to give them a sense of purpose. But I envy the commander's wife her knitting. It's good to have small goals that can be easily attained.' 
Such are the thoughts of Offred. Her days are comprised of demeaning activities, and nights. Of course, nights which are sometimes less eventful than the others, but still, eventful. Margaret Atwood scored a nomination for Booker prize for this book in 1987 and since then it has become probably the most read book of her. A modern classic, as often bracketed in, this book is a great amalgamation of theories such as feminism, war fiction and science fiction. 

Cover page 

Vintage's future edition is the copy I posses. These editions have a common cover designs. There is an image on the cover which is maligned by the continuous lines through in one direction as seen through a futuristic scope. This image looks like a peek into the future which is continuously haunting. The back cover is swirl into the darkness. The spine is clean. It is where the information is, such as the title, publisher's name and bar-code. There are, seemingly, nine books in the editions. I intend to acquire some more of these soon, not just for their cover but clean typography. 

Characters 

The book is story of Offred during wartime. It is time where each citizen is required to be useful and it is what is expected of Offred too. Offred is expected to make use of her breeding ability to grant her commander and his wife a child. Male preferably, but child more so. Offred is a calm woman who has a tornado swirling inside of her. She wants to be loved, to be teased and hopes for a future other than what she is bestowed upon. She is trying to understand the difference between 'freedom to and freedom from' and finding the silver lining where she could be happy in her state. She has also lost her own identity. She wants all of it back. 
There is Commander in whose household Offred works. Commander is a sly male who secretly hates the current regime where women are either boring or sacrificial. He is looking for a tinge of tease in life. Just a spark enough to light a fire but not burn his house down.
Selena Joy is the wife of the commander. Selena is jealous of the handmaids who come to her house and get to lie naked in front of the commander once a month. This is when she is not busy with pointless activities such as tending the plants in her garden and knitting. These activities must have been meant for bored housewives who wanted to distract themselves from their preoccupied cheating husbands and a houseful of maids who talk behind their backs. And so they found a perfect fit in each other. 

Content 

There was a time where the birth rate was in huge decline. These maybe due to the recorded increase in the birth control measures, the nuclear plants accidents, leakages from different biological sites and extensive use of insecticides and other sprays. Several states began reacting to these by shutting down abortion clinics and use of birth controls. The fertility and births were proportional to the wages one received. Several resorted to polygamy but certain sects disobeyed it completely citing religious reasons. 
History changes. Government topples. Women lose their jobs. Second marriages, live-in relationships de-recognized, same sex marriages were scorned upon. Women were used by the upper class to breed. 
All this, was a slow jolt to Offred who used to be an independent woman who made choices for her own life. She was in denial for a long time but when she planned her escape is when she got caught. Now she finds herself in the house of her Commander and his wife, dressed in red and sent for, once a month, to conceive a child. 
This is Offred's story. And many others like her. This is a story of women whose worth were measured by their fertility. 

Language 

Offred is not meant to say much. Or anything. So she thinks. She thinks a lot in her head. Her thoughts wander. And so does Atwood's writing. The writing is spilled all over like how thoughts are. There are too many descriptions. Too many feelings. Too many inferences. There are also alternate scenarios which the character imagine in her head and then the line of reality and imagination blurs till she doesn't quite know which version of it in her head is the real one. 
Overall the language is dreamy. It is coming directly from someone's head, therefore its viscous. 

Good points 

Everything. The cover page is thoughtful. Vintage segregates the genre with its covers beautifully. The characters are multidimensional. They all possess a need for something else and this drives them into action. The concept is as close to reality as it could be. The narration is hauntingly beautiful. 

Bad points

The end could appear a little abrupt but the historical significance towards the end explains the sudden end. But there is definitely an eagerness to know more. 

Overall 

The book is a classic, true to the word. 

Who do I recommend this to 

This book is for classic lovers. Those who like unusual narration are going to enjoy this. Those who like dystopian novels but are tired of young adult fiction are going to enjoy this one. Feminists are going to find this book appealing. 

Quotable quotes 

There is more than one kind of freedom, said aunt Lydia. Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don't underrate it. 
It gave us more freedom. When we lived in the gaps between the stories. 
Even his singing worries me. We've been warned not to look too happy. 
But remember that forgiveness too is power. To beg for it is a power, and to withhold or bestow it is a power, perhaps the greatest. 
We are two-legged wombs, that's all: sacred vessels, ambulatory chalices. 
For him, I must remember, I am only a whim. 
It's over, in seconds, and the traffic on the street resumes as if nothing had happened.
What I feel is relief. It wasn't me. 
I'm sorry there is so much pain in this story. I'm sorry it's in fragments, like a body caught in crossfire or pulled apart by force. But there is nothing I can do to change it.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

August additions to my bookshelf

As fellow Meraki post members say, I go a little crazy when it comes to buying books, but as I always correct them – it is crazy and broke! But buying books is so wonderful, I’d happily be broke. Thanks to The Biblio Box, I now try to buy books around the theme so that my book buying is a little more organised and not too random.
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At the start of the month, I stumbled upon some beautiful hard bound classics from Crossword bookstore , made for them by Penguin Publishers. I own a tattered copy of Black Beauty, and was looking for a nicer one as I love the book, and I just seem to have found one. Hence I bought this one and bought The secret Garden, because I have heard wonderful things about the book, and had to have it on my shelf!
Coming to my upgraded box! The theme for August was Crime fiction, and I chose to upgrade it with a bunch of used books by varied authors. The box itself had The Trap by Melanie Raabe, and The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie. Apart from which they had a hoard of crime themed bookmarks, a hand cuff bracelet, a key-chain with a quote from Sherlock and a BIBLIO scarf, which is again inspired by Sherlock Holmes! I got Three act tragedy, Mrs.Mcginty's dead, Problem at Pollensa Bay, Murder is easy- all by Agatha Christie, and Prophecy by Peter James. I picked  Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde from a local bookstore as it was another book that was listed by them and I wanted for myself.
Apart from these, I got some lovely books by Pan Macmillan India.  I got The Muse, The thing about Jellyfish and What lies between us from them. I just love how wonderful these books sound, and I have been very very excited about The Muse and look forward to reading it soon.
Overall, I love how diverse my bookish purchases have been this month, and to make myself feel it wasn't a very expensive affair, as most books are used (but in very good condition), and the hardbacks came at a great price, and I got some to review. The only flip-side is – I DO NOT HAVE SHELF SPACE!

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

The day I became a bird by Ingrid Chabbert, Illustrated by Guridi

I have not read many picture books as such but my recent stumbling upon an illustrated fairy tale has piqued my interest in picture books. These books are not only read for their story but also for the pictures/illustrations they contain inside. I decided to review the book just for its beautiful cover but what it contains inside is even more promising.
It was his first day at school and he fell in love. 'The day I became a bird' had me since the beginning.

Cover page

The cover page consists of a sketch of a bird with large eyes and slender feet. The title 'the day I became a bird' holds a place on top right corner of the book making the bird on the cover the focus. The back cover too has a tiny bird sitting on the football which is meaningful to the story. The book itself is a well thought out product. The story begins with the boy wanting to turn into a bird and ends with the two characters uniting. The illustrations are suggestive and not smothering. The colors are kept visually subtle. The typography compliments the illustrations. 
One of he best covers I have come across this year. 

Characters 

It is a story of a boy who falls in love with a girl on the first day of his school. He is very simple and creative. The innocence in the character makes him even more appealing. His thoughts, as put across by the author, are lyrical. He also possesses the goodness of appreciating a person for her kindness which is a sweet trait. 
Coming to her lovely lady, Sylvia is a girl obsessed with birds. 
'There are birds on her pants and dresses.
She wears bird barrettes in her hair. 
She draws birds in her notebooks and folders. 
And when she speaks her voice sounds like a birdsong.' 

Content 

The story is of a schoolboy who falls in love on his first day of school and craves for attention of his girl. During the course of time he understands her interest in birds and starts seeing them differently. All for the love he possesses for her. 
It is a story of recognizing the love you posses for a person and putting efforts in understanding her likes and dislikes. The book also gives a message of kindness and internal beauty. It is a beautiful, innocent story told with some great messages.The story and the illustrations compliment each other. The story is as much in the words as it is in the sketches.

Language 

The language is quite simple. Author possesses an innocence in the narration. It is also lyrical at times when the boy describes the girl. The entire narrative is lingering sweet.

Good points 

The cover page is beautiful. One of the best I have seen this year. The characters are quite innovative and the portrayal, simplistic. The content is short and sweet, flavor added by the author with narration. 

Bad points 

The story ended quick. A sweet story like this leaves you wishing there was more. 

Overall 

This book is a good product. The story can be read over and over again.

Who do I recommend this to? 

This book is for those who like to read beautiful books. Those who appreciate short and sweet stories are also going to love this one.

Quotable quotes

I don't want to take my costume off - I am a bird.
The worst is when it rains. I smell like wet dog. 
My toy cars, soccer and all the rest don't seem important.
And i don't look at birds the same way I did before.
I received an ARC of this book from the publishers via Netgalley. The review is my own, entirely uninfluenced. 

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Happy birthday to…

Starting this month, we will be listing out birthdays of some of the Author’s we have read, want to read and have loved. The literary world is a mighty world with names known and unknown, and there might be many writer’s who’s work we may not encounter in an entire lifetime! But hey, lets get wishing already.

Charles Bukowski

One of those Authors born this month , and with whom most of us are acquainted with, mostly due to the memorable quotes brought to us, courtesy THE INTERNET. He happens to be on my TBR for this year. I have heard so much about his unique writing style that I cannot help but love his quotes and look forward to books by him.
We're all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn't. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.
                                           ― Charles Bukowski

John Green


An author loved for this contribution to Young-Adult fiction. Green also born in August, is absolutely adorned by the younger bibliophiles in particular. Right from leaving us teary eyed with The fault in our stars to showing us a strange girl, and unusual relationships  in a new light in Finding Alaska, he has given plenty to contemplate on. We sure look forward to all the other books that this young Author will be penning in the course of time.
There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There's .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I'm likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn't trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I'm grateful.
                                             ― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Ray Bradbury


Remembered for his books like Farenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles, he left memorable pieces of writing for book lovers for a long time to come. Yet another book that I have on my shelves waiting to be read is Farenheit 451. Apart from this, many quotes by this Author born in August continue to be food for thought, and will be so for many more years.
You must write every single day of your life... You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads... may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.
                                                           ― Ray Bradbury
Photo courtesy : Gazala and Veena 

Monday, 22 August 2016

Cinderella by Charles Perrault, illustrated by Arthur Rackham

What can I say that is not already said about fairy tales. We all have grown up with them. Their tellings and retellings have been etched in our minds. My latest new obsession with fairy tales has taken me back to the good old days of fairy tales. As I visit the land once again I hereby bring the refreshed memories of Cinderella. I read an edition available on Amazon. This is a beautiful book authored by Charles Perrault, of course, and illustrated by Arthur Rackham. 

Cover

The cover contains a silhouette illustration by Arthur Rackham. It is a beautiful scene from the story where the fairy god mother is turning the pumpkin into a carriage for the wonderful night at the palace. There are lizards and rats all over. These tiny pretty illustrations depict the characters in the story. This makes a good cover for the fairy tale collections.😍 

Characters

Cinderella is a story of an orphan girl who lives with her stepmother and two step sisters. The girl is very kind and gentle. Her stepmother and stepsisters are hardly family since they often mistreat her and make her do all the chores in the house. The author has refrained from ghastly portraying any character evil. There are also other characters such as the prince, the mice, the lizards etc who help to build the story splendidly.

Content 

Cinderella lives with her stepmother and stepsisters. She is constantly being mistreated in her own house. Quoting one of my friends: 'Cinderella is a horrific story about a rich girl whose evil stepmother forced her to live as though she were a member of the working class.'
There is a twist in the sob worthy life of Cinderella when she hears of this ball that is taking place at the king's palace. The prince has invited all the maidens in the kingdom but Cinderella is not allowed to go. As the night approached Cinderella feels terrible and cries. 
The fairy godmother sees her and magically turns her night into an unforgettable experience.
The story ends with the prince coming to find her and marry her. And of course, they live happily ever after.
The story is magical. It has everything positive about it. It makes you believe in everything nice. 

Language 

The language is very simple. It refrains from too much negativity. The focus is on the magical element of the story which is bewitching. Picking up of small elements like mice and lizards and blending them into the story is exceptional. 

Good points

The illustrations are just beautiful. It makes me want to do another post featuring all the illustrations in the book. The story is a classic by itself. The more you read the story the more you want to read it. The characters want to make you believe in magic and they succeed too. Language is simple yet beautiful. 

Bad points 

Cinderella as a character is often debated to be shallow even when towards the end the author calls her 'as good as she was beautiful'.  

Overall 

It is a classic fairy tale. It is beautiful story. A definite must read. 

Who do I recommend this to 

This is for everyone. Boys, girls, feminists, realists, fantasy fanatics.. Everyone.. Just everyone..

Quotable quotes 

Once upone a time there was a gentleman whose second wife was the proudest and most haughty woman that was ever seen. 
She told Cinderella to lift the sort of the mouse trap a little, and as each mouse came out, she gave a tap with her wand, whereupon it was transformed into a fine horse. And so the six mice made a fine set of six horses of a beautiful mouse-colored dapple grey.
Cinderella, who was as good as she was beautiful, gave her two sisters a home in the palace and that very same day married them off to two great lords of the Court.