Tag Archives: Daniel Handler

Hurry up and Wait by Maira Kalman and Daniel Handler

Hurry up and Wait Title: Hurry Up and Wait
Authors: Maira Kalman and Daniel Handler in association with Museum of Modern Art
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
ISBN: 978-0870709593
Genre: Picture Books
Pages: 64
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

From the time I read “Why we broke up” by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman, I have been a fan of whatever they come about to do together. Their works together are something else – for children or for adults. The creative collaboration I am sure must be quite something for the two, but the end result for the readers is magnificent. The good thing about this book is that it is also done in association with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) – and is quite reflective of Handler’s and Kalman’s playful creativity.

This time for me that happened when I read “Hurry up and Wait” – another collaboration between the two (after reading this I immediately ordered a copy of Girls standing on lawns) – and as the title suggests, it is about hurrying up and also waiting to smell the roses.

Hurry up and Wait - Image 1

The book is not a long one. It can be read under fifteen to twenty minutes, however I would not recommend this book being read or seen that way. At first, it may seem nothing – this 64 page book. It might even seem a colossal waste of money (that is if you are one of those who gauge a book’s worth basis the number of pages) but trust me, it is a book that you will keep going back to once every month or so.

Hurry up and Wait - Image 2

Life’s pace is rushed. It is terribly hurried. We don’t know what to make of its pace sometimes, well at least I don’t know what to make of it. There are times then when all I want to do is stop – to look at everything closely – to perhaps give life another go.

Hurry up and Wait - Image 3

There are eleven vibrant illustrations by Kalman and each one comes with a note on hurrying up and waiting by Handler. It is whimsical, capturing people (as provided by MoMA) in motion or not, giving readers a sense of time lost or regained (if we try).
I now cannot wait for my copy of “Girls standing on lawns” to reach me.

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Book Review: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler Title: Why We Broke Up
Author: Daniel Handler
Art: Maira Kalman
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 978-0316127257
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 368
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4/5

I had bought this book last year and since then was struggling with it. I would read fifty pages or so and give it up for another read. It happens most of the time and that doesn’t mean that the book is bad, maybe the timing for sure is. It has happened to me in the past, so I do not think much of it. So when I picked up “Why We Broke Up” again this time, I was enthralled by the plot and more so by the art by Maira Kalman, which by the way is beautifully done throughout the book.

For every time a couple breaks up there are things that are returned. That is almost the unwritten law of breaking up, of ending it all, of finding the so-called state of “closure”. We return things because they are memories – of times of happiness and now evoke only sadness, which is the truth. Min and Ed, two teenagers whose relationship has ended are at the heart of this novel. They are an improbable couple, who had nothing in common and yet they fell in love. They split ways and the story is narrated from Min’s perspective who is now returning “stuff” that she collected (or stuff that was given by Ed to her) during the course of their relationship, explaining why they broke up and what happened between them.

Min is studying to be a filmmaker, so the entire process and atmosphere of the book is rather dramatic, but only fair, since it is about heartache. There are a lot of references to old films which is brilliant, because I now have to watch most of them. Love also needs so many mediums to speak through. In this case, it is movies.

Heartache at any age is counted for and should be. It is not easy, more so when you are young. I found the story a little too biased, as it was only from Min’s perspective, but that was compensated more so by the plot and writing. What will take you in the most about the book is also the illustrations, which are beautifully and masterfully done so by Maira Kalman. I loved the book so much in most parts and I also thought that maybe I would have loved to hear Ed’s point of view in all of this. After all it is only fair. The secondary characters – the best friends and ex-lovers make for some quirky characters in the book as well. Ed’s sister Joan is a vital character and it is not difficult to fall in love with her.

I do not like reading Young Adult fiction all that much, however as I have said again and again in this post, I loved this book. It is but the nature of love and heartbreak, its universality that would resonate and strike with anyone who reads about it. One more thing: You cannot read it in an electronic book format. The effect and sentiment will not be the same, given the illustrations and also the quality of paper. I recommend you read it, get your heart broken, mend it and then read it all over again.

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Book Review: Adverbs by Daniel Handler

Adverbs by Daniel Handler Title: Adverbs
Author: Daniel Handler
Publisher: Harper Collins UK
ISBN: 9780007181285
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 352
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

It is an old book, published in 2007 and yet it makes sense to me every time I read it. “Adverbs” by Daniel Handler (the real name of Lemony Snicket, oh yes, that’s trivia for you) is a treat for the reader. I guess not many people have heard of it, however it is time that they do and hence this review, hoping I can reach out to some of them. “Adverbs” is a book of short stories (some interconnected as well) about love and lost chances and basically back to love. Every chapter is titled on an adverb and the story is related to it (but obviously).

Adverbs is an unusual book. May be because it explores the state of love so beautifully and rather differently as well. Love keeps modifying in all stories, just like it does, every single time. Hence I guess the title of the book. Adverbs is all about love and its nature – from a passenger falling in love with his cab driver to love falling itself out in a relationship, the stories are charming, wistful, and seductive on most levels.

I have always loved Lemony Snicket’s books; however I guess I love Handler’s books a lot more than A Series of Unfortunate Events. I think that is because of the love plots intertwined in them, whether it is Adverbs or Why We Broke Up (a teenage love story and loads of heartache). “Adverbs”, in its writing is clear and precise, and it would definitely ring true for everyone who has ever been in love or has aspired to or has his or her heart broken.

I am glad I reread it this year as the book speaks to you emotionally at so many levels, sometimes interconnected and sometimes not. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone. A great read on a winter’s day.

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