Tag Archives: Book 1

You are Stardust by Elin Kelsey and Soyeon Kim

you-are-stardust-by-elin-kelsey-and-soyeon-kim Title: You Are Stardust
Author: Elin Kelsey
Artwork by: Soyeon Kim
Publisher: Owlkids Books
ISBN: 978-1926973357
Genre: Children’s Books, Picture Books
Pages: 32
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5 Stars

I read “You are Stardust” because it was the first book mentioned in “The Story Cure” by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin. This book, The Story Cure that is, is like their earlier book “The Novel Cure” but for children, their parents and everyone who has ever wondered what should I gift a child or a teenager. It is also for adults, if you ask me, to relive their childhood by reading or re-reading these gems mentioned in the book.

you-are-stardust-by-elin-kelsey-and-soyeon-kim-image-1

So now back to the first book “You are Stardust” – authored by Elin Kelsey and beautifully illustrated by Soyeon Kim. I am of the firm belief that children’s books are not only for kids or teens. They are most importantly for adults – who have lost their child-like innocence, their ability to question, to wonder or to know how the world works.

you-are-stardust-by-elin-kelsey-and-soyeon-kim-image-2

This is what the book is about – life, universe and maybe everything (or not). This is the book to cure children of what’s the world all about (that’s what the book says). The book is lovely – when I say this, I don’t mean it loosely. It really is lovely. The illustrations by Soyeon Kim are gorgeous – with every turn of the page, I was only too happy or perhaps more than the last page. This book is perfect to teach kids about the universe, the Earth and in turn about humans.

you-are-stardust-by-elin-kelsey-and-soyeon-kim-image-3

Elin Kelsey is an environmental writer (I got to know of it after I read the book) and now I can clearly see the connection that the book is trying to bring out between kids and the natural world. “You are Stardust” is grounded in science, philosophy (most parts really) and stunning dioramas by Kim.

you-are-stardust-by-elin-kelsey-and-soyeon-kim-image-4

There is also an app about the book and its creation. I for one cannot wait to download it. Being a picture book, it doesn’t restrict itself to kids. It is most certainly for adults as well. Go pick it up. Read it to your child or nephew or niece and then read it yourself. Be enthralled by it.

I read this book as a part of the reading project (one of the reading projects) I have started: To read all books mentioned in ‘The Story Cure’. It is an ambitious project and I hope to see this through at least. The next book in line for this is: The Boy with the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne.

Advertisements

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith Title: The Cuckoo’s Calling
Author: Robert Galbraith
Series: Cormoran Strike – Book 1
Publisher: Mullholland Books
ISBN: 978-0316206853
Genre: Suspense, Detective, Crime
Pages: 464
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

With great trepidation, I picked up “The Cuckoo’s Calling” by Robert Gailbraith. There was already so much written and said about it almost two years ago, that I did not even know if I wanted to read it or not. I am glad that I picked it up. Please do not even compare it to the Harry Potter series. You just cannot. May be that is why J.K. Rowling had to change her identity and write this series and once the identity was out, well then the critics had their field day- both good and bad.

“The Cuckoo’s Calling” is the first in the Cormoran Strike (the name of the detective) series and while the third one is just out, there are more lined up. I don’t know how many though. All I can tell you is that the book is something else for sure and I cannot wait to read the second and the third installments.

What is the first book about?

Of course, at the heart of the book is the Private Detective Cormoran Strike – the ex-army guy with his own complicated personal life and skeletons in the closet, his business which is drying up, and of course he had to have a messy break-up with his fiancée.
So everything is downhill till Robin a temp arrives from the Temp Agency and ends up becoming a permanent secretary/assistant of sorts and then a case lands up on his doorstep which he just cannot refuse. It is a high-profile case – that of a supermodel – falling to death from her third-floor Mayfair apartment and her brother suspects foul play and hires Cormoran to investigate further. This in short is the gist. It is like any other hard-boiled detective novel you might say. So what makes it any different?

I guess it is the writing for sure but it is also the noir element that runs through the book, given it is set in London and also given how the characters are all people with shades of grey as it should be in a book like this. I instantly took a shine to Cormoran and the wry humour that prevailed throughout. The working class of London is also very well depicted, without leaning to any social or political context. The lives of people – both the detectives and the suspects are so detailed that it is a joy to read the book and know more about them.

“The Cuckoo’s Calling” is the kind of book that cannot be read in one sitting. It needs to be cherished and savoured and not read in one go. At least I wasn’t able to. Cormoran Strike is a detective that will grow on you as he did on me and I cannot wait to read The Silkworm.

Affiliate Link:

The Cuckoo’s Calling (English)

Book Review: The Aryavarta Chronicles: Govinda (Book 1) by Krishna Udayasankar

Title: The Aryavarta Chronicles: Book 1: Govinda
Author: Krishna Udayasankar
Publisher: Hachette India
ISBN: 978-9350094464
Genre: Fiction, Mythology
Pages: 472
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3/5

The fact more or less of the Indian Literary world is this: Authors are getting back to their mythological roots and churning out the so-called, “bestseller of the year”. Everyone seems to be at it, and it does not end at one book. It has to but of course be a trilogy. The Gods would be pleased. Right from Shiva to Vishnu to Brahma to Rama are featured and much ground is covered. What then also tends to happen is that one or more writers often write on similar Gods and similar epics – ranging and sticking only to The Ramayana or The Mahabharata.

Coming to the book I am reviewing – “The Aryavarta Chronicles: Govinda (Book 1)” by Krishna Udayasankar. Going by the title, one can easily predict, the content of the book. The book is but obviously centered on Krishna – one of the many avatars of Lord Vishnu. The story though seems to be predictable, it actually isn’t so. May be that is what makes it different from the others in the running. Having said that, there are times when the interest did not manage to be sustained by the writing.

Now to the plot: We are introduced early on to the Firstborn dynasty of scholar-sages, descendants of Vasishta Varuni, who are also the protectors of the Divine Order on Earth. They are the ones who have been ruling the planet and controlling its working. On the other hand, you have the Agnirasa family of Firewrights, weapon-makers to the kings and master inventors, who have taken the step to defy the Firstborns. This rises to a conflict, leading to the united empire of Aryavarta falling apart. If this was not enough, then one of the Firewrights is dead, and that too a Secret Keeper, killed by a violent hand.

There is an evident bloody conflict. There is only one person who will save them all. That person but of course is Govinda Shauri, a cowherd-turned-prince and now Commander of the armies of Dwarka. The question that arises is that: How will he save Aryavarta? At this point in the book, the characters of the Mahabharata get introduced (they are known earlier on, but the part they will play gets clearer at this stage) and that is how the entire Book 1 gets looped in and reaches its logical end.

The plot did seem a little mundane when I started it, but the minute it picked pace and everything fell in place, it was something else. The characters are well developed and like I said, they make perfect sense at the end and the reasons why they are there in the book. The writing is crisp at times and at others, I thought it was a drag. Having said that, the book is quite charming and the mythology angle to it is superbly done. I for one will wait for the 2nd installment in the series.

Here is a book trailer for you:

Affiliate Link:

You can buy the book from HomeShop18 here

Book Review: The Gunslinger: The Dark Tower I by Stephen King

Title: The Gunslinger: The Dark Tower I
Author: Stephen King
Publisher: Signet
ISBN: 978-0451210845
Genre: Fantasy Fiction
Pages: 336
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

I had heard a lot of The Dark Tower series when I first start reading them a couple of years ago. I don’t know what made me get back to it after finishing the sixth installment in the series. It is the book I guess that chooses the reader – the first time and again, that is a belief I can live with. I reread the book for a reason – at some level I wanted to search myself, to seek answers and though I didn’t end up finding any, the reread was fantastic.

Stephen King is a master of what he chooses to write, horror being his forte. He can also write just about anything –be it the emotional churn in “The Green Mile” or short stories of a different kind in “Everything’s Eventual”, he does it with ease and exactness and maybe that’s why we love him for what he does.

“The Gunslinger” has been one of my favourite novels of all time. It was inspired by a poem, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came” by Robert Browning. The five parts of the novel were published in parts in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. I am surprised that no one lapped it initially.

The book tells the story of the Gunslinger, Roland of Gilead and his quest to catch the man in the black – first of his many quests to get to The Dark Tower. It is about his journey into the Old World, almost like a parallel universe, similar to the Old West. Roland exists in a place where time has moved on and he is continuing his journey to meet the man in black. Along the way, as he travels across the desert and then the snow-capped mountains he meets a variety of characters – Jake Chambers, the boy who died in his own universe (similar to ours) and sets out with him on the journey, Brown the farmer and Zoltan his crow, the oracle who tells him about the future to come and of course ultimately the man in black, who shares some more secrets of the universe.

The book is confusing in most places; however those get taken care of when you read more of the series, which you have to for the answers to unravel themselves. King has written a cracker of a series beginning with The Gunslinger, which he took twelve years to write. The Gunslinger is a must read for all fantasy lovers. He blends philosophy and the bigger questions of life with great ease into this one. A great read.

Affiliate Link:

Buy The Gunslinger from Flipkart.com