Tag Archives: Illustrations

Fox 8 by George Saunders. Illustrated by Chelsea Cardinal

Fox 8 by George Saunders Title: Fox 8
Author: George Saunders
Illustrated by Chelsea Cardinal
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 978-1526606488
Genre: Satire, Fiction, Fable for Adults
Pages: 64
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 stars

There are some books that just nestle into your heart and stay there. For me, those have been the likes of An Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett, Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami, The Collected Works of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Capote, and The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. You get the drift, don’t you? These are the kind of books that can be read to soothe me, when I am feeling down. I am certain we all have these kind of books – the ones that make everything alright, just by opening them and reading – over and over again. Fox 8 by George Saunders is the latest addition to my ever-growing list of “heartwarming” books. (I hate the use of the word heartwarming, my apologies).

I love Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo though is my least favourite book written by him, though it won the Man Booker Prize and all that). His short fiction is par excellence, his essays even better in my opinion, and basically whatever he writes is pure gold. Fox 8 is no less of a book because of its size. If anything, after you are done reading it, you tend to agree that it had to end, where it did, even if you wanted more of it.

Fox 8 - Image 1

Read more: In Appreciation of George Saunders

This 64-page novella/novelette is about a fox – the name is Fox 8 who is curious about humans (poor sad fox. I for one can’t stand most humans) and also learns some of the English language, by watching parents read to their children (I love how the fox also debunks fairy tales for us with reference to the role of the fox in them). Saunders is in his full form with inventiveness of language – writing (phonetically) the way a fox would – yooman and not human, bare and not bear, and the list goes on. At first, you wonder about the writing style and when you give in, you are in love with this fantastical tale of two foxes visiting a mall (that has been built razing most of their forest) and what happens next.

Fox 8 - Image 2Read more: George Saunders’s 10 Favourite Books

Before I forget, kudos and more to Chelsea Cardinal for the illustrations that go so well with the story. The illustrations are all black and white, except the foxes – they are in orange and stunning would perhaps be a lesser adjective to use. Saunders’ story is telling of our times – of the way we inhabit spaces and make of them to how endangered our wild life really is – and all of this is said with the eccentric and almost witty (in this one at least), true blue Saunders style.

Fox 8 is heartwarming, also heart-wrenching, makes you look at the world we have made and why and question almost every decision – which I think we must. At the same time, it makes a spot in your heart and will not go away. I am very happy that it was the first read of the year for me. Read it. It is truly beautifully done.

You can buy Fox 8 by George Saunders here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

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.

Affiliate Link:

Hurry Up and Wait: 2

Beloved Dog by Maira Kalman

Beloved Dog by Maira Kalman Title: Beloved Dog
Author: Maira Kalman
Publisher: Penguin Press
ISBN: 9781594205941
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 160
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

Dogs have always been very integral to my existence. From being scared of them to loving them unconditionally, life has come a long way. They are there, always, playing a role in some way or the other, dispensing wisdom in their own way and ensuring that they never let you know. Kalman picks on these qualities of dogs and talks about them through illustrations, her life, the dogs she has encountered and how they have featured in almost every book of hers.

Image 1

“Beloved Dog” is a dedication to our canine friends all over the world. The book is of course as usual beautiful illustrated and that is what makes it so special are her personal thoughts on dogs and how she got about getting one even though she had grown up getting scared of them.

Image 2

It all started when her husband passed away and a dog came into their lives (her children and hers) and changed everything for them. The book is a mirror of who we really are and who we become when we love our dogs unconditionally. There are so many lessons in here for all of us.

Image 3

The book is essentially New York and how we think and feel with them even more than people. If you have ever had a pet or have one, then you know this book, you know it inside out. There are poignant layers of philosophy in the book that are almost cautiously hidden by the beautiful illustrations.

Image 4

“Beloved Dog” is all about the love you have for your pet, and when the pet becomes a lot more than just a four-legged creature. Dogs do not go anywhere, even after they have gone in the physical sense, they linger, forever reminding you that it is so important to have them in your life.

The Night Life of Trees by Durga Bai, Bhajju Shyam and Ram Singh Urveti

The Night Life of Trees by Bhajju Shyam Title: The Night Life of Trees
Author: Durga Bai, Bhajju Shyam and Ram Singh Urveti
Publisher: Tara Books
ISBN: 978-8186211922
Genre: Picture Book, Non-Fiction, Mythology
Pages: 48
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

Trees are strange. Trees are comforting. Trees have histories and tales spun around them. Trees also have a life of their own which cannot be gauged by humans. Keeping this in mind and all the tradition and myths behind trees of India, tribal artists in conjunction with Tara Books have published a beautiful limited edition hand-made book called “The Night Life of Trees” and I cannot begin to praise and admire it.

The Night Life of Trees by Bhajju Shyam - Image 1

I am not the one for trees and their stories and what they are all about, but after reading this book and soaking in all the illustrations, I want to know more about them, in fact, everything about them. This book is testimony to the living masters of the Gond art form.

Snakes and Earth

Snakes and Earth

There are a total of 19 trees featured in this book and each one is with a story from mythology or seems to be a fairy tale or just is, which is what you will love and cherish as a reader.

All of them

All of them

The images are alongside the description and make for some beautiful viewing. Moreover, the handmade paper is to die for – quite literally. You will fall in love with it.

The Tree of Intoxication

The Tree of Intoxication

The trees in our country are exotically named like the Khirsali, Nagphani, Sembar and so many more after Gods, Goddesses, Serpents and also Birds and Humans.

The Silkworm's Home

The Silkworm’s Home

“The Night Life of Trees” is a treat for everyone to own and keep going back to it. The art will for sure make you.

Affiliate Link:

Buy The Night Life of Trees

The Pilot and the Little Prince : The Life of Antoine De Saint-Exupery by Peter Sis

The Pilot and the Little Prince by Peter Sis Title: The Pilot and the Little Prince : The Life of Antoine De Saint-Exupery
Author: Peter Sis
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
ISBN: 9780374380694
Genre: Non-Fiction, Biography
Pages: 48
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

“The Little Prince” somehow makes it to some list or the other. It is also almost every reader’s most beloved classic. It is fondly remembered by both – the young and the old. What makes it so special? Why does the world recommend it to be read? The magic lies not only in its plot but also in the way it was written and illustrated by Antoine De Saint-Exupery. I did not know much about Saint-Exupery while reading “The Little Prince” or even after that, till I bumped into “The Pilot and the Little Prince” by Peter Sis online and knew that I had to own this book.

“The Pilot and the Little Prince” is about Antoine De Saint-Exupery, who was born in 1900, at the turn of the century when everything was new and progressing. Everything was developing. The world was in constant change mode and full of new inventions and technology, not to forget the most important invention of them all – airplanes.

The Pilot and the Little Prince - Image 1

Saint-Exupery always dreamed of flying, far and wide and beyond everything else. So much so that he learned how to fly against his mother’s wishes and decided that all he wanted to do was fly. So much so that he would even tie cloth to his bicycle in the hope of it flying someday.

The Pilot and the Little Prince - Image 2

The book is about a man’s discovery of who he wanted to be and what it sometimes takes to be who you want to be. “The Pilot and the Little Prince” juxtaposes the lives of both, Antoine and the little prince and how he got to writing this book.

What is also most surprising is that this was not his first book (contrary to popular belief) and also the fact that his other works are equally good if not more. What struck me most about the book is the way Peter Sis has encapsulated his life in forty-eight pages. Page after page, the reader is treated to the blue of the ocean, to the glow of the sky and also to the blood of the German’s assault on France in WWII, where Antoine was enlisted as a war pilot.

The Pilot and the Little Prince - Image 3

From his plane, he reflected on life and what lay before him. He thought of things magical and life that went beyond the ordinary. Antoine also read books on his plane. He just wanted to fly and write about his experiences and in 1943 of course his masterpiece, which we all know as “The Little Prince” was published.

On July 31, 1944 he took off for a flight to photograph enemy positions east of Lyon and never returned. That was the end of a writer, an aviator and a human being who only wanted to talk about what he saw and observed.

The Pilot and the Little Prince - Image 4

“The Pilot and the Little Prince” is a delightful book. It is brief, beautifully illustrated and yet takes a lot of time to read through and sink in the marvelous illustrations. This is a book meant for both children and adults. It is the kind of book that will warm your heart and yet leave you melancholic.

Here is a trailer of the musical produced by Andrew Lloyd Weber of “The Little Prince”:

Affiliate Link:

Buy The Pilot and the Little Prince : The Life of Antoine de Saint