Been on a Ruskin Bond reading spree today, and it’s been great! I enjoy his books because of the simple narrative, his keen eye for detail, and the lovely perspective he sheds on life in the small towns of India.
The Hidden Pool is a short, breezy read about a friendship between three boys from very different backgrounds, and like all of Bond’s tales, it is refreshing in its originality and sincerity. Unconsciously, I was reminiscing about my own childhood friends, and that’s what Ruskin Bond does so well- he writes stories that remind us of our own, which is what makes his works seem so comforting and familiar.
Picked up this book of short stories because it’s been a long time since I read Ruskin Bond’s work. As always, he didn’t disappoint.
The narrator is a young Bond, retelling the stories of his cook’s jungle adventures. The cook had previously worked for the famous hunter Jim Corbett, who he refers to as “Carpet-sahib.”
Like R.K. Narayan, Ruskin Bond has a real flair for invoking long forgotten memories and emotions. Their stories are simple and appear rather superficial, but they skilfully draw the reader into a beguiling, beautiful parallel world.
A quick, easy read that I’d recommend for adults and children alike.
This short novel showcases Dahl at his saucy, imaginative best!
I laughed out loud several times while reading this story, mainly because I share Dahl’s dislike of beards on men. The book comes alive with detailed prose, an engaging plot, and vivid characters. And in the end, of course, the bad guys get their just desserts, while the good guys win, which is why I love reading Dahl’s incredible fiction :)
I especially enjoyed Dahl’s famous quote about inner beauty: “A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”
A feel good novel that will entertain and enlighten adults and children alike.
This book is the sequel to Dahl’s famous Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.
To be honest, the book tried too hard to aspire to its predecessor’s success, and failed miserably. The story is full of silly banter, and the plot gets rather tedious after the first quarter of the novel.
This children’s book is a cult classic for a good reason- it showcases Dahl’s storytelling at its most dynamic, quirky, and innovative.
Granted, the plot wasn’t as compelling as those of his other books- after a while, the novel was quite predictable- but the reader keeps racing through the pages thanks to the fresh, eccentric, and lovably human characters. The depth of character development and detail in this story is really superb, and while I regret having watched the movie before reading this book, the latter is infinitely better thanks to Dahl’s indefatigable imagination.
A fitting sequel to Boy, Going Solo chronicles Dahl’s exploits as a salesman in Africa and a fighter pilot in the Royal Air Force during World War II.
I love Roald Dahl’s reliably keen eye for people and detail; I could see East Africa, Egypt, Crete, and many other places come alive as I raced through this engrossing book. Without a doubt, it’s one of the best autobiographies I’ve ever read, and it’s certainly the best book I’ve read in 2014 thus far :)
A highly recommended coming of age novel for everyone. It’s hard to believe that this book is non-fiction!
I vaguely remember reading and enjoying this book as a child, and rereading it as an adult was a really fun experience :)
This is a colourful, convoluted tale about REAL witches, who lack toes and wear gloves and go out of their way to get rid of little children. The narrator is a young boy who gets turned into a mouse by a witch; along with his spirited, spunky grandmother, he gets his revenge on witches everywhere.
“The strength of the novel is that it gets read at a deeper level; it gets read over a long stretch of time by generations with a future. There is something about the form of a novel that makes it appropriate to political debate at a more fundamental, deeper, more universal level.”—
A short, breezy read, Esio Trot is a refreshing Dahl novel.
It revolves around the introverted bachelor, Mr. Hoppy, who is in love with his neighour Mrs. Silver. The latter has a pet tortoise that she’s very attached to, and when Mr. Hoppy gives her a “secret” backwards chant to help her pet grow, she reciprocates his feelings.
The only reason this delightful book got only 3 stars from me is that I didn’t like the part where the gullible Mrs. Silver claims she’ll be Mr. Hoppy’s “slave for life,” and the latter gets all excited by the proposition. I know a lot of people didn’t approve of Mr. Hoppy shrewdly switching the pet tortoise, but I think I can condone his deception- after all, all’s fair in love and war- but I disapproved of Mrs. Silver offering to be his “slave.” Too many misogynistic overtones, and certainly inappropriate in a children’s book.
I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to read Dahl’s classic tale about a bright bookworm with telekinetic powers.
Caustic, brilliant, and uproariously funny, Roald Dahl’s novel centers around the precocious toddler Matilda, whose parents and headmistress go to great lengths to torment her. The little girl finds refuge in her world of books and in the acceptance of her teacher, Miss Honey.
The only thing that makes me sad about Dahl’s books is the realization that he probably didn’t meet many nice adults, growing up. That said, he is the master of his craft, empathizing with the impotent anger and tiny heartbreaks of children in a way very few adults can.
I only wish I’d chanced upon this novel as a young girl, but no matter. Even now, the stark parallels between me and the bookish Matilda are comforting, and I found myself rooting for this spunky heroine right from the very first page. A must read for children and adults alike :)
What I liked best about his version of this well known Hindu epic was his characterization of Draupadi- most other texts show her as docile and submissive, only expressing her rage and dissolving into tears. But this book gave her a lot more significance by examining her moods and dialogues minutely, and left me with a more complete picture of how things worked within her polyandrous marriage.
A must read for those interested in Indian mythology.
The Ramayana is one of my favourite stories, and R.K. Narayan is one of my favourite authors. With such a combination, you can’t really go wrong :)
I especially enjoyed Narayan’s candid grappling with the more problematic scenes of the Ramayana- such as Rama’s dubious actions during the Vali-Sugreeva battle, and his disowning of Sita until she proves her “purity” and loyalty to him. Narayan gives voice to his dilemmas during this retelling, but he proves true to Kamban’s version and absolves Rama in the end.
Narayan also effortlessly weaves in the various side stories without getting sidetracked by minor characters and incidents, which is commendable considering the size and scope of this Hindi epic.
Enjoyable, detailed, and a highly engaging read, this particular version of the Ramayana is one I’ll be recommending to other readers.
Emotionally draining and monotonously repetitive, this was a memoir I forced myself to get through.
Perhaps because I’ve already read- and relished- both Not Without My Daughter and the Princess trilogy, this book was a disappointment to the genre of women who’ve triumphed over oppression under Islamic regimes.
Tehmina Durrani comes off as whiny, self-absorbed (I could not bear to read the parts where she kept rejecting her hapless oldest daughter), and utterly insincere, and she fails to give the reader any convincing reason for staying with her abusive, influential husband. For a woman who threw caution to the winds and divorced her first husband, sacrificing her daughter just so she could marry her infamous lover, all her bleating about staying “for family honour” and “the welfare of the kids” seems utterly hypocritical.
The last straw came when I was reading about Durrani’s visit to Ajmer. She visited a Muslim shrine, and of course her controlling husband made sure she was accompanied by two bodyguards. I can understand that Durrani craved privacy while praying, but instead she complained (and I’m quoting her verbatim), that the guards’ “Hindu presence disturbed [her] Islamic prayers.” WELL.
Not a book I’d recommend to anyone. I’m an ardent fan of the memoir genre, and have a keen curiosity about the lives who women who experience extreme religious and/or patriarchal intolerance, but this disappointing book fell far short of my expectations.
True to form, this short novel is mired in mythology, memory, and the blinding clarity of childhood. His protagonists are intriguing and cleverly sketched, and the plot is a murky entry into the innocence and ambivalence of early memories.
I thoroughly enjoyed this and I can’t wait to read my next Gaiman book. It’s a testament to how good this novel is that I finished it and immediately began rereading it.
Gaiman cleverly guides you through a haunting, magical world, accompanied by flashes of intelligent insight and quotable quotes when you least expect it. This is a book that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys reading.
An excellent book for people like me, who’re new members of the SGI (Soka Gakkai International). Employing simple, concise prose, the current SGI president details his early experiences with travelling the world and spreading the philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism.
I especially enjoyed Ikeda’s insights and clever use of metaphor, detailed brilliantly in this book. An easy read that clears up many basic questions about the SGI and its history, while outlining important tenets and beliefs of Nichiren Buddhism.
Charming, compelling, and extremely whimsical, this classic is a quick read that stays with you for a long time.
As an elementary school teacher, I loved the very believable characters and their meandering thoughts. It’s a pretty accurate, dreamy account of how my kids view life- dominated by busy, complicated, confusing grown ups who do incomprehensible things for unknown reasons.
The simple story is wrought with profound parables and metaphors. As a child reading an abridged version of the book, I had no idea why it was so famous. And now that I’ve reread it as an adult, I’m overwhelmed by the wealth of truth and wisdom in this short children’s book.
Definitely highly recommended for all age groups. I plan to repeatedly reread this tale to savor its quiet intelligence and insight :)
What I liked most about this novel was that, rather than being told by an omnipresent narrator, the book includes the point of view of all the major characters. Another saving grace that stops Picoult’s books from becoming repetitive is the diversity of her well sketched characters.
This is one of those rare books that’s a real game changer for how you view life, death, and everything in-between.
Dr. Weiss is a respected Ivy League trained psychiatrist, and he’s stepped outside the bounds of his professional skepticism to relay his findings about the success of past-life therapy. He details his initial rationalizations and disbelief, his turmoil while he tried to reconcile his patient’s experiences and insights with his academic training, and his final conclusions and improved quality of life.
I enjoyed this book because it meshed well with my Hindu and Buddhist beliefs- I’m a big believer in both karma and reincarnation, and it reinforced these two concepts consistently. However, I know that more skeptical readers will have a hard time accepting the events detailed in this book. I urge them to heed Dr. Weiss’ advice to keep an open mind. There is much about the brain, mind, and death that modern science does not know, and as Aristotle said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
We make a lot of young adult book lists at STACKED, and I know how useful they are for collection development and reader’s advisory purposes. They’re useful enough for me when I write them or read the ones Kimberly’s written. So I thought I’d make a list of some of our book lists,…
This collection of longish stories turned out to be surprisingly hard to get through.
Ann Beattie, who I’ve never read before, has a raw, piercing writing style. Her stories chronicle daily life and its mundane events, without ever slipping into banality or repetition. Some of her stories really spoke deeply to me; but most of them seemed anti-climactic, the characters could have used more literary development, and they failed to make much impact on me.
Highly recommended for those who enjoy non-fiction and elegant, minimalistic writing. It wasn’t exactly my kind of book, because I prefer writing with more tone, emotion, and description. However, to each his own, and Beattie is a master of her art. Her stories left me thinking, even when I didn’t wholly enjoy them.