Tag Archives: humour

Baking with Kafka: Comics by Tom Gauld

Baking with Kafka by Tom Gauld Title: Baking with Kafka
Author: Tom Gauld
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd.
ISBN: 978-1786891501
Genre: Comics, Graphic, Humour
Pages: 160
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 Stars

Till now, I have just read one book by Tom Gauld and that is “Mooncop”, which I absolutely loved and couldn’t stop raving about for a long time. And now, the same is the case with “Baking with Kafka”. This one is a series of comics, some of which have been previously published in various publications and most of which focus on books and reading. There are some here and about on pop culture references, but essentially, this one is a treat for all booklovers.

Baking With Kafka - Image 1

Gauld has this minimal sense of drawing which works wonders for me (it isn’t for all, let me also tell you that). The words may not have that kind of impact (mostly, they do) but the drawings most certainly do and sometimes I thought to myself that maybe the words weren’t even needed. I found myself smiling a lot at the literary cartoons. It reminded me of the times when I was growing up and would wait eagerly for the newspaper, only to read the comics page.

Baking with Kafka - Image 2

For instance, there is this cartoon on Jonathan Franzen and how he is averse to any kind of marketing to how a romance novel should be written to when the book is adapted to a movie and the book’s reaction to my most favourite one of how books are classified on bookshelves. As a reader, I could connect to most of what is there in this book. I had never read any of these strips before, so the experience was new and refreshing and did not seem jaded at all.

Baking With Kafka - Image 3

“Baking with Kafka” is a funny, wry book that will leave you with a lot of laughs. If you are having a bad day or in general a grim time, this is the book to go to. Will cheer you like no other.


The Robber Hotzenplotz by Otfried Preussler

The Robber Hotzenplotz by Otfried Preussler Title: The Robber Hotzenplotz
Author: Otfried Preussler
Translated by: Anthea Bell from German
Publisher: NYRB Children’s Collection
ISBN: 978-1590179611
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Pages: 128
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 Stars

I steer clear from most children’s fiction. I don’t know why but that has always been the case – more or less. There are some books though that catches my fancy and I happened to literally bump into “The Robber Hotzenplotz” by Otfried Preussler online and couldn’t resist getting my own copy (on request from publisher) and I was more than pleasantly surprised by the book.

The story is simply told. The plot is of two boys – around eight or nine year olds – who are best friends – Kasperl and Seppel and of the robber Hotzenplotz who works very hard to hide in the woods and wait for his next victim. His next victim happens to be Kasperl’s grandmother, who he attacks and steals her coffee mill. The boys then head out to rescue the mill from Hotzenplotz and find themselves in the midst of one adventure after another.

Preussler’s writing is funny – in the sense not only for children but also for adults. The translation by Anthea Bell is simple and works with every single turn of the page. The illustrations are magnificent and won’t let go of you that easily. I loved the simple and yet so human like illustrations.

To me the book was a breeze of a read and will be the same for you. I was just wondering also of the numerous tales that we do not pay attention to, either because we aren’t familiar with them or because our culture doesn’t expose us to them. NYRB Children’s Classics plans to change that I hope with the publication of such classics that more children will read from different countries and know more. I know, I for one will lap them all.

“The Robber Hotzenplotz” is a funny read for both children and adults and I highly recommend this one.

How it Works: The Wife by Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris

How it Works - The Wife Title: How it Works: The Wife
Authors: Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris
Publisher: Ladybird Books
ISBN: 978-0718183547
Genre: Picture Books
Pages: 56
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5 Stars

Who is a wife? What are her responsibilities? What is she supposed to do and not supposed to do? Is there a manual at all to all of this so wives can lead easier lives? The spoof on The Wife is here – from Ladybird again in the series of Ladybird Books for Grownups and once again it hits right on the spot and makes me a happy man.

How it Works - The Wife - Image 1

This time as you must have guessed, it is about the wife – who is she and what is she all about. It is highly tongue-in-cheek and works very well given the entire patriarchal centricity of our society. Ladybird books for grownups is about our learning (mockingly) or more unlearning the age old stereotypes created for us and how we can actually break free.

How it Works - The Wife - Image 2

“The Wife” is what the typical wife should be and it makes fun of all of those models. I loved this book the most. I thought it was the book on dating, but this one beats it hands down.

Adulthood is a Myth: A “Sarah Scribbles” Collection by Sarah Andersen

Adulthood is a Myth - A Sarah Scribbes Collection by Sarah Andersen Title: Adulthood is a Myth: A “Sarah Scribbles” Collection
Author: Sarah Andersen
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Genre: Comic Strips
Pages: 112
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5 Stars

I am old. Not that old. But I am old enough. I am in my early 30s and I am still waiting for the day when I become an adult. Mostly because I believe, mostly because I know that the decisions I make are not “adult-like”. I have been told that several times and I am aware. I don’t need to be told. I don’t need to be nagged by almost everyone around me. It isn’t fair. And yet life is not that bad either. Life is passing by and everything else with it. These are the times when you need someone like Sarah Andersen to tell you that life is okay, you are okay the way you are, and even if it isn’t okay, then it is alright.

Adulthood is a Myth - A Sarah Scribbes Collection by Sarah Andersen Image 1

“Adulthood is a Myth” is a collection of Sarah Andersen’s rad comic strips – which are funny mostly, depicts the times we live in – the dating scene, the lonely ones, technology and everything else rolled in between. Above all, it speaks of how okay it is to not grow-up in a world where everyone just wants to prove something or the other.

Adulthood is a Myth - A Sarah Scribbes Collection by Sarah Andersen Image 2

This book is perfect for everyone and hence makes a great gift! It will resonate with almost everyone who has had a tough patch or the other or for who even waking up on a Monday morning to get to work is tough. The situations are from life, the embarrassments are real, and the annoyances of life are just too vivid and we have all been there, done that.

Adulthood is a Myth - A Sarah Scribbes Collection by Sarah Andersen Image 3

The book makes you feel that you aren’t the only one who feels and thinks that way. There are perhaps millions of people who feel the same but never communicate it, till Sarah has. Read her comics online and most certainly pick up this book!

The Ladybird Book of the Hangover by Jason Hazeley

The Ladybird Book of the Hangover by Jason Hazeley Title: The Ladybird Book of the Hangover
Author: Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris
Publisher: Michael Joseph
ISBN: 978-0718183516
Genre: Picture Book
Pages: 56
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5 Stars

Ladybird books have done it again! I remember talking about their book on dating and this time I finished the book on the hangover. Once again it is in your face, cheeky and downright hilarious. It is also about the Hangover – your very own fifty-six page guide on what causes a hangover and how to get rid of it.

Hangover 1

“The Ladybird Book of the Hangover” is in the same vein of the other Ladybird books for Grown-Ups. I know the books are short and may not even count as books in the proper sense of the word, but they are and they are a riot. Each of them that I have read till now.

Hangover 3

The book on the hangover is about coping in the real world and more so with alcohol. My favourite page is of the cat – it made me snigger and laugh out loud so very much. It is a quick read and will not take too much of your time.

Hangover 2

“The Ladybird book of the Hangover” is a contemporary farce of a read for our times – that cannot do without alcohol and there isn’t anything known as enough alcohol. Take a tip or two about hangovers from this one.