Daily Archives: April 5, 2012

Book Review: Mr. Bliss by J.R.R. Tolkien

Title: Mr. Bliss
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Publisher: Harper Collins UK
ISBN: 978-0-00-743619-4
Genre: Children, Fantasy
Pages: 83
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

J.R.R. Tolkien could have written a twenty-page story and we will still love that, no matter what. He could have scribbled anything after LOTR and we would have lapped it up, against our better sensibilities. Because, but after all, he is J.R.R. Tolkien.

While we have all read and loved LOTR, do try reading his eighty-three page story, “Mr. Bliss”. It is simply written and beautifully illustrated by the man himself. It is a very simple story of a man named Mr. Bliss and his unseemingly weird adventures as he heads out one fine sunny morning to buy a car. He is the owner of an exotic pet named Girabbit (of course the combination of a Rabbit and a Giraffe which is quite funny when seen illustrated) and is well-known for his collection of tall hats. He lives in a house built specifically to accommodate his hats. The book is about his first drive to visit his friends, The Dorkinses and how disastrous it gets. How he meets three bears on the way, is car breaks down, and how he has to also give lifts to Mr. Day and Mrs. Knight. The ending is quite sweet and all Tolkien fans will for sure relish this book.

The book also includes the originally written story in Tolkien’s handwriting, which is a treat. The illustrations are also included – the ones he began with for the book. Mr. Bliss came about as a story that Tolkien told his kids and for the longest time wasn’t in print. I am only too happy that it is now and people can read this short and fantastical story.

What I loved about the book is its simplicity. It is one of the understated, subtle and sweet books which are a rarity in today’s time. I would highly recommend this one to most Tolkien fans and also the ones who haven’t heard of him before (which is rather rare). Mr. Bliss will charm and warm your heart. A must read for both kids and adults.

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Book Review: Tea for Two and a Piece of Cake by Preeti Shenoy

Title: Tea for Two and a Piece of Cake
Author: Preeti Shenoy
Publisher: Random House India
ISBN: 978-81-8400-279-9
Genre: Indian Fiction
Pages: 265
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3/5

I think I have had my share of chick-lit reading for this year. I am glad that it ended with, “Tea for Two and a Piece of Cake” by Preeti Shenoy. Preeti Shenoy writes with urgency – almost like she has to catch the next bus and will miss it, but it is that urgency that gives the book its much needed tone and pace.

The plot is about starting again. Nisha’s life is not the perfect life one would want. She is plump (and well there is more than one reference to that in the book), plain-looking and but obviously single. She has had her heart broken once by being in an eight-year old relationship with the suave and charming Samir Sharma and being dumped at the altar. Enters a younger man Akash and the promise to start all over, knowing that it could or could not work out. Chances need to be taken and this time Nisha would have to take them all over again, though being guarded and apprehensive. The question is: Will she or won’t she?

The book has its secondary characters in the form of Nisha’s family, friends and colleagues, dispensing advice and sometimes just being there for her. For me, “Tea for Two and a Piece of Cake” worked in some places and some places it did not. The writing is very well executed. You can imagine the setting and it is more conversational, which worked for me.

What did not work for me was sometimes the entire premise – the end to be fulfilled only by having someone in your life and sadly it is true for the way we live now. The maddening need to find someone and for him or her to stay is the crux of the book, of course besides love, which is at the core.

Having said this, I enjoyed the writing. It isn’t in your face and at the same time it is not very guarded. I like how the concept of a live-in relationship was not made too much about in the book. It may not seem to be such an issue considering the times we live in, but it still is. Over all, I enjoyed the book barring certain parts which did not seem to work for me.

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