Tag Archives: book review

The First Time And The Last Time || BookishInktober2020

#BookishInktober2020 prompt 13: DUNE

“If you please – draw me a sheep!”

“What!”

“Draw me a sheep!”

We first meet the little Prince in the Desert of Sahara,  asking for the drawing of a sheep. We meet him last in the same place, falling as gently as a tree, without a sound.

‘It is here that the little prince appeared on Earth, and disappeared.’

The Little Prince is a classic novella by French aristocrat, writer, and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It starts with the narrator crashing into the desert, and then meeting the young prince. The prince is childlike, but not childish. He talks about mundane things – about his life on his asteroid B 612, about his lovely Rose, his tamed Fox and the others that he meet while on his way to Earth.


The book gives us an insight into how deeply are we bounded by ‘matters of consequences’, how we as grown-ups slowly start forgetting the little things that made us happy and inspired us, as a child.


When Vaishnavi from vcreative learnt that I was reading this book in September, she made sure that I saw its movie too. The movie has a different POV, that of a young girl’s. It even explores the story after the book is finished. It’s a really beautiful movie. Embedding its trailer below:


— Suri

As Quiet As A Mouse || BookishInktober2020

#BookishInktober2020 prompt 6: RODENT

I’ve read a good number of books related to the Holocaust, and yet Maus by Art Spiegelman stands out. It stands out for its approach on the subject, it’s raw and honest delivery and its comical style, which is rare for a subject as serious as the Holocaust and WWII.

Maus is a graphic novel by American cartoonist Art Spiegelman, serialized from 1980 to 1991. It depicts Spiegelman interviewing his father about his experiences as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor. The work employs postmodernist techniques and represents Jews as mice, Germans as cats, and Poles as pigs. In 1992, it became the first (and is still the only) graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize.

Wikipedia

Part one of this book deals with the father’s experiences before and during the World War. Whereas part two shows us the story of the survivor’s son, who was born after the war and yet had to face scores of difficulties due to a troubled relationship with his father, and the suicide of his mother. I’m currently reading the second part.


— Suri

The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel || Blog Tour

Book Title: The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel

Author: Sheela Chari

Publisher: Walker Books US

Release Date: October 6, 2020

Genres: Middle grade, mystery

Book Purchase links:

Amazon || Barnes and Noble || Bookshop

Based on the Peabody Award–winning podcast, this tech-filled adventure series pits intrepid Mars Patel and his outcast friends against a brilliant, enigmatic billionaire as they race to figure out why kids are disappearing from their school.

Mars Patel’s friend Aurora has disappeared! His teachers are clueless. His mom is stressed out about her jobs. But Mars refuses to give up—after all, his own dad disappeared when Mars was a toddler, before he and Ma moved to Puget Sound from India. Luckily, Mars has a group of loyal friends eager to help—smart Toothpick, strong and stylish JP, and maybe-telepathic Caddie. The clues seem to point toward eccentric tech genius (and Mars’s hero) Oliver Pruitt, whose popular podcast now seems to be commenting on their quest! But when the friends investigate Pruitt’s mysterious, elite school, nothing is as it seems—and anyone could be deceiving them. Slick science, corporate conspiracies, and an endearingly nerdy protagonist make this a fresh, exciting sci-fi adventure.

Praise:

Interweaving podcast transcripts, instant message threads, emails and newspaper stories, Chari deftly constructs a mystery that is strong in both plot and character. Mars’s friend group is as diverse as their unique abilities, and their teamwork and loyalty are unshakable. Based on the Peabody Award–winning podcast, fans of James Dashner’s The Maze Runner and Stranger Things will clamor for more of Mars Patel. —School Library Journal (starred review).

Author Bio:

Sheela Chari is the author of THE UNEXPLAINABLE DISAPPEARANCE OF MARS PATEL, based on the Peabody Award-winning mystery podcast. Her other novels include FINDING MIGHTY, a Junior Library Guild Selection and Children’s Choice Award Finalist; and VANISHED, an APALA Children’s Literature Honor Book, Edgar finalist for best juvenile mystery, and Al’s Book Club Pick on the Today Show. Sheela has degrees from Stanford University, Boston University, and New York University, where she received an MFA in Fiction. She teaches fiction writing at Mercy College and lives with her family in New York.

Author Links:

https://sheelachari.com/

My Review:

This book is based on a podcast, sounds fun already? Well, I don’t remember reading a Middle Grade book with an Indian or an Indian-American rep before, so the fact that one of the protagonist- Mars Patel is of Indian ethnicity was so relatable. The use of pronouns and also bullying someone with the wrong pronouns was subtly inserted into the story, but has made a mark. The book is like a fast paced thriller, the kind of which MG kids are sure to enjoy! I really wanted to see more of Mars’ mom, to get to know her. I loved the family dynamic and also the friendships portrayed in the book. Plus, it’s a sci-fi adventure, involving many little drones. I loved the book, can’t wait for the next book in the series!!

Ratings: 4/5

About the Show

The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel is a scripted podcast for middle-grade kids performed by middle-grade kids. It is a fun, high-quality serial mystery that can be described as Goonies meets Spy Kids meets Stranger Things for eight- to twelve-year-olds. It was selected as one of the top fifty podcasts of 2016 by the Guardian, was honored with a Peabody Award, and was nominated for two Webby Awards (Best Audio Drama and Best Sound Design/Original Music Score). The show is enjoyed around the world by kids and adults alike. Check out more about the podcast on www.marspatel.com.

Make sure to drop by the other tour stops:


— Suri

The Sassy Sweetie Project || BookishInktober2020

#BookishInktober2020 prompt 3: BULKY

I liked the book ‘When Dimple Met Rishi’ , but I loved its companion novel ‘There’s Something About Sweetie’; which is kind of surprising considering the fact that I tend to stay away from romance books.

There’s Something About Sweetie deals majorly with Fatphobia. But even if you’ve never been body shamed personally, there’s still so much you can relate to while reading this book. The desi rep is so accurate, especially the parents of both the protagonists.

In this sketch I’ve tried to depict the scene when Sweetie and Ashish meet for the very first time, and she ends up winning the duel- err, a running race. Oh yes, they start running the moment they meet. 

I loved Sweetie’s zeal of proving herself, her strength and confidence through her secret Sassy Sweetie Project (although she couldn’t keep that secret from Ashish for long ).

The details about her athletic events and Ashish’s basketball matches were interesting too – which would be fun to watch on a screen. Which reminds me, there’s an upcoming Netflix series based on these books called Mismatched; so keep an eye for that, you guys!

Thank you Faguni for introducing me to Sandhya Menon’s books! Check Faguni’s blog for more South Asian recommendations.


— Suri

Dark Tales by Shirley Jackson

I read Dark Tales as part of a book club. It’s one of the first book clubs that I have participated in – ‘Women In Literature’ club, where we read one book per month by strong women authors. The club is hosted by two lovely women- Aritri and Mridula (@theliquidsunset and @ecstatic_yet_chaotic respectively, on Instagram). Dark Tales was the ‘Book Of The Month’ for July. Had it not been for this club, I don’t think I would ever have read it, looking at its title and the genre. But I’m glad that I did read it.

I have stayed away from watching horror for a very long time now. The last horror or paranormal movie that I remember watching is ‘ When a Stranger Calls’, when I was about 12. My entire teen was a story of ups and downs- except it was mostly downs. I had a really bad spell of low self-esteem, less-confidence, etc. for more than a decade. I only realized that I was suffering from it after I came out of this spell, feeling better than ever. I’ve never before touched a proper horror book in my life- except for some children-horror books. I found myself too weak for this genre. I hated it when horror and psychological thrillers in some way, triggered my worst fears and made me even more self-conscious. But currently, I am in a much peaceful mental space than I have been in the past many years, so i thought about giving this book a try.

Dark Tales is a collection of 17 short stories. Each story brings forth a different element. I won’t say that I really liked all these stories, in fact, I liked very few of these stories for their plot. But the fact that I was able to read this genre, after all, made all the difference for me. The book isn’t a regular spooky kind of horror, to be upfront, except a couple of stories. It’s a very subtle kind of horror- the kind which we see and observe in our everyday life, albeit a bit exaggerated with certain kinds of emotions and plot twists. My review could be biased based on three grounds: I’ve read very few classics, and liked even fewer; this is my first proper horror book; and also I don’t remember reading a collection of short stories like this before.

The author’s portrayal of emotions like fear, anger, etc. is so real that it haunts us even when the story isn’t spooky. It is said that Shirley Jackson, in reality, had lived a very sad and terrible marital life and these feelings did come spilling out very evidently through her stories. It’s as though she wrote a small part of her life in each of her small stories.

In some of the stories like ‘The Good Wife’ and ‘What a Thought’, the author plays with the mind of the reader till the very end and then drops a sudden plot twist. Making us believe in the flow of the plot initially, but ending in quite unexpected manner, like deceiving the reader itself!

Her style of writing changes twice or thrice by the time we reach the final story in the book. There was a case of Unreliable Narrator in the story ‘Paranoia’ wherein the protagonist was being stalked the entire time and we as readers, felt like walking in his shoes. The entire story was on uneven grounds, there was no firm narration to it – making us paranoid about which character to actually trust.

The foreword by Ottessa Moshfegh gives away some spoilers in the very beginning but it also perfectly summarizes and comments upon the stories and the writing style of the writer. This is one of those books where the foreword shouldn’t be missed at any cost. It was very necessary to set up the background, before the readers dive into the book.

My ratings: 4/5 ⭐

If you do decide to pick this book up sometime, it isn’t at all necessary to complete it in one shot. You can read the stories separately as they are completely independent of each other. If you are someone like me who has never ventured into this genre before, but would like to someday – this book is a good one to start with. It has just the right amount of darkness and spookiness for a beginner.

— Suri


Is there a genre that you always seem to run away from? What do you think about horror stories?

Love & Misadventure by Lang Leav

Book Title: Love & Misadventure

Written and Illustrated by: Lang Leav

Published: 26th April, 2013

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Pages: 163

Genre: Poetry

My Ratings: 3/5 🌟

Backstory: I was first introduced to Lang Leav’s poetry about 5 years ago when I came across her Facebook posts. They were so lovely to read. I would read those snippets and could easily relate to them. But then I stopped logging onto Facebook every so often- and after a while, I stopped entirely. Slowly I forgot all about her writings. Years later, one fine day while exploring some books at a local second-hand book stall, I came across her book! It’s an original copy, printed in the US but I got it for such a cheaper deal that it made my day!

Review:

This book is divided in three sections; Misadventure, The Circus of Sorrows and Love. The three sections of the book, flows beautifully and perfectly one into the other, forming a story. The writer speaks about beginnings, endings, love, hurt, confusion, trust, betrayal, past, sadness; basically every element within a relationship. She tries to bring positivity even within the hurt. Some of the poems – or should I say, ‘snippets’ – are very raw; instead of relying on false hopes, she states the facts in a very practical manner.

I’ll accept that haven’t read much of poetry, so I do not have a firm ground to compare this book with.

One of the poems in this book that I really loved: It is titled – ‘Some Time Out’

“The time may not be prime for us, though you are a special person. We may be just two different clocks, that do not tock, in unison.”

— Suri


What is your definition of love? What does love mean to you? Do suggest me some poetry books.

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

Book title: Flipped
Author: Wendelin Van Draanen
Published: 9th October 2001
Publisher: Penguin Random House LLC
Genre: Romance novel, Young Adult Fiction

My Ratings: 3/5 🌟

Flipped is like your regular dose of YA books. It’s a cute teenage lovestory about a boy and a girl who are complete opposites of each other. The thing that I loved the most about this book is that it has two protagonists. So you get to learn about the exact same story but from two different POVs. It is really interesting because I feel that it tells us how unique we as humans are! We might be given the same kind of story, the same struggles and hardships and the same love and affection but at the end it’s totally upto us as to how do we interpret it. I’ve liked the concept of multiple protagonists since George R. R. Martin’s popular series: A Song of Ice and Fire.

Interesting part: The part where Bryce (the male protagonist) looks for a rooster in Juli’s (the female protagonist) backyard got me into thinking. It made me so confused about hens, roosters and chickens! I was literally asking my mom and Google what is the difference between these three and which is a male or a female, although I had already studied this before. We also have a farm at our village with hens and roosters!!

I loved Juli’s obsession and love for the sycamore tree. It is beautiful and emotional at the same time. I would like to paint the scene someday, the way I imagined it while I was reading: Juli sitting on the top-most branch of the tree, enjoying the beauty and serenity of life.

Film Adaptation: Flipped has also been adapted into a movie by the same name. I haven’t watched it yet, but one of my friends did and he says it’s good. .

Quote that I like: “‘A painting is more than the sum of its parts,’ he would tell me, and then go on to explain how the cow by itself is just a cow, and the meadow by itself is just grass and flowers, and the sun peeking through the trees is just a beam of light, but put them all together and you’ve got magic.”

To conclude I would say, if you’re looking for a light, fun and an innocent YA lovestory, you should totally go for this.

Note: Book Review on my blog after soooo long. Do tell me how you guys like it! Have you read this book before? Is it on your TBR? Or have you watched the movie? I’ve heard it’s cute and even better than the book (though I doubt it).

– Suri

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Featured image

*Spoiler alert*

  • “He’s a wallflower. You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand.”
  • “So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.”
  • “Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody.”
  • “It’s just that I don’t want to be somebody’s crush. If somebody likes me, I want them to like the real me, not what they think I am. And I don’t want them to carry it around inside. I want them to show me, so I can feel it too.”
  • “I don’t know if you’ve ever felt like that. That you wanted to sleep for a thousand years. Or just not exist. Or just not be aware that you do exist. Or something like that. I think wanting that is very morbid, but I want it when I get like this. That’s why I’m trying not to think. I just want it all to stop spinning.”

These were just five quotes from the book. But I’ll tell you what, you’ll be hooked on to this book right from the first sentence. I did. Okay, maybe you won’t. Different people, different opinion. But in my case, I felt the book, completely (and by ‘completely’, I actually mean COMPLETELY!) defines me. If you have read The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, then I’m quite sure that you are aware about Hazel’s obsession with the book AIA (An Imperial Affliction). So well, I have kind of the same attachment to this book. I’ve read it thrice already, and also read in between the chapters whenever I feel a need for a push. A push to ‘participate’ in life. And yes, this book never fails to motivate and inspire me! It’s one of my most favorite books.

Charlie, a young, handsome and introvert guy, who was sexually abused by his own aunt, finds it difficult to interact with people. He’s usually depressed. Being shy, he had a very few friends initially. But then, to vent out his feelings and also because he found someone whom he believes is different, that is, the kind of person other people look to for strength and friendship. That’s what Charlie said. And he began writing letters to him, about him, anonymously. Without revealing his own identity, Charlie wrote to this guy, all that he felt. About himself. About friendship, love, life, crush, etc.

Charlie’s life took a turn for good when he met Sam and Patrick. Charlie had a crush on Sam but she already had a boyfriend. By the end, these two – Sam and Patrick – proved to be the most wonderful people in Charlie’s life. They had their good days and their bad days. Ups and Downs. But after all that, they made Charlie feel ALIVE. And, I guess, that’s what really matters in the end. They made him feel that he wasn’t alone. He had them. Their trust. Their friendship. Their true and innocent love. And this is what actually matters!

The best thing that I felt about this book is that, Stephen Chbosky didn’t make it all sound like a typical, fairytale lovestory. Charlie didn’t get Sam as his girlfriend anyways. But he had learnt a hell of a lot of things from her as well as from Patrick. His last letter to his letter-pal is my most favorite one. Wherein he clearly states that, now he’s trying to ‘participate’ in life. I mean, whoa! This-is-Charlie-being-so-optimistic!! All in all, it’s a good read. You won’t regret buying the book. *wink*

  • “It’s strange because sometimes, I read a book, and I think I am the people in the book.”

The above quote is what Charlie says during one scene… Gimme a high-five Charlie! ‘coz this is EXACTLY what I’m feeling right now! I’m you! I’m Charlie! ^_^

I FEEL INFINITE

– Suri

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

*Spoiler alert*

A lovestory. Yet another lovestory I would want to say. But NO!! THIS ISN’T YET ANOTHER LOVESTORY! It’s something else.. It’s one piece of beauty. It’s more than just a book. It’s different.

Personally, I don’t like reading lovestories. Because, honestly, it’s kind of the same story over and over again… It feels very much stereotypical. There’s a good looking handsome guy who likes a sweet but shy girl, or there’s a very charming young girl with such a charisma that there’s a long list of guys dying to just know her name, but she falls for a boy who initially isn’t interested in her, but later falls in love all the same.. What I’m trying to say here is that, it’s the same age-old drama that follows with a bit of a spice for better effect. But the main plot remains the same. This bores me.

But I’m pretty damn sure that whether or not you love lovestories, you-are-going-to-LOVE-The Fault In Our Stars. Yes! No kidding. John Green sure does know how to make his readers happy (and heart-broken at the same time.) Anyways, he is one heck of an author. He’s just brilliant! Those uses of metaphors and whoa, the quotes! Those beautiful philosophical quotes! Mesmerizing! This book is the first ever lovestory, (though it comes under the Young Adult genre) that I haven’t just liked, but LOVED!
The book is very well crafted and well scripted heart touching story about two Cancer patients viz. Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters. I loved the over all contents and the way of writing is just awesome!  It’s as if like, the book won’t allow the readers to get away from it before completing “only one more chapter” (I hope you understand what I mean by it, fellow readers!)

And just as John Green says, I fell in love with the book and it’s characters, just like the way I fall asleep. Slowly at first, and then suddenly and completely. But the ending was truly very heart-breaking because of the death of the charming young man, Gus. But I guess, we shouldn’t worry much about it, (Worrying is a side-effect of dying.) because in a recent “Q & A” conducted by John Green via Twitter, he had said that, “Characters in novels live as long as they are read about or remembered.” So according to it, Augustus still lives in my heart. Lovely. Isn’t it?

Okay? Okay.

– Suri

Life Of Pi by Yann Martel

*Spoiler alert*

A Magical Journey! A magical journey of Pi Patel!! It seemed as though I were travelling with him and Richard Parker throughout the journey. Yann Martel totally makes us experience and feel all the emotions in the book. It is indeed very beautifully written. Kudos to Yann Martel!!

But yeah.. Towards the end, I seriously wished that Richard Parker should have at least glanced back at his fellow castaway,Pi. It was so heart-breaking to gulp down the fact that he doesn’t even turn back.

Moreover, the mystery of the blind man whom Pi met while Pi himself turned blind, still stays in my mind. I mean, like, wow! He met a person in the middle of the PACIFIC!! Good thing! But, what for? Only to be eaten up by a tiger later on? Well, all the events that took place throughout the journey had some sort of spiritual significance. But, well, I’ve failed to see any such importance in this incident. *No offence* I’ll just have to think it over more! *wink*

– Suri