Sunday, July 31, 2011

Does a cow really say "Moo"?

Last night I found out that when German cats purr, they are actually "schnurr"-ing. That got me wondering what animals from the rest of the world say!

I can now say "woof woof" in ten languages. If I were in Japan (and if I were a dog), I'd say "wang wang". Actually, come to think about it, I'd rather not. Let's just see what the dogs say. In Spain and Greece, they say "guau guau" - it's rather fascinating to imagine a dog pronounce a "g". In India, dogs say "bhoo bhoo", which sounds kind of like those American dogs that go "bow wow". Korean dogs, apparently say "mung mung".

When I was a kid, I always wondered why on earth an English-speaking rooster says "Cockadoodledoo"! That too, when our Indian roosters get away with saying an easy: "kukoochukoo". It sounds so much more like a bird, anyway. The German rooster says "kikireki", and the French apparently says "cocorico". Either way, it is highly unlikely for a rooster to be able to pronounce "doodle".

Anyway. I have to go out. Bye! Or... in the words of an Australian bird (that only has us to thank for its crazy name), "Currawong"!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Reading Kafka

I had read Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka a long time ago. I have to say, call me stupid, but unless the book was meant to be funny, I didn't actually figure out what being "Kafkaesque" is all about! I happened to read two more short stories by him now, and I might just have gotten closer to solving the mystery.

Das Urteil (The Judgement) I read, very painstakingly, in German. I think I read the dictionary more than I read the book! Anyway. From what (little) I understood, it is a story about the relationship between a father and a son. It is the conflict between the worlds of the father and the son, their lives which Kafka ultimately links with society. The first half of the story is from the boy's point of view, about his life and the people he knows. When the elderly father appears, he begins immediately to criticize and blame the son. By the end of the utterly unreal interaction between the father and the son, the elderly man sentences his son to death. The conflict can only be reconciled by violence and pain, when, in a bland dream-like manner, the son commits suicide. (Or...I can always say I didn't understand much!)

The other story that I read was A Report to An Academy (Ein Bericht für eine Akademie). This one I read in English and actually understood/liked. The story is a report made by an ape to a meeting of a Scientific Academy, an ape who has integrated himself into human society. The ape talks of his former life. The reason the ape first decided to imitate humans was to be able to stay out of a zoo. Now, the ape can hardly remember his animal life - on the other hand you can still make out that his humanness is not natural. He belongs neither here nor there! When the ape finally managed to establish himself in human society completely, he also lost all his freedom. The story can be two things. First, changing oneself according to whatever challenges one faces, adapting to our surroundings - albeit without being fully successful. Second, it is about human nature and freedom (rather, lack of it) in society and existence.

So what do I think Kafkaesque means? Now that will require another post entirely! Let's just say; in his non-romanticized stories of life and struggle; he graphically describes the inner conflicts in all our minds, which is what makes his bizarre and eerie ideas so appealing!

Night Owl

Booking through Thursday is a weekly meme about books and reading. This week's question:

What’s the latest you’ve ever stayed up reading a book? Is staying up late reading a usual thing for you?

When I read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, I was up all night, and my sister and I read the one book in turns. I don't remember staying up the whole night reading books many times; though I did stay up till around 3 am quite a lot! And that is no wonder, because I used get up very late.

These days I try to sleep early, so I can wake up early. But I just can't get my nose out of the book. I keep telling myself that I'll just read two or three more pages and then sleep - as if that is going to work!

The only books I can't read at night are those by Stephen King. I read Salem's Lot in the middle of the night, and the entire time I felt like someone was scratching on the window! I couldn't sleep that night, even after I finished reading the book.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Why I Love Wednesdays!

Why I Love Wednesdays is a meme hosted on every Wednesday at Reflections of a Bookaholic.

"Wednesdays are often the time of the week where I have a sudden realization that the week is almost over. I'm always so thankful for this point. That's why I have created a weekly feature where I will highlight something I love that is book related. This feature is called Why I Love Wednesdays..."

I feel like I am stating the obvious by saying that Harry Potter was my most favourite childhood book! That would make my "Favourite Childhood Friends" Harry, Ron and Hermione; Ron a little more than the others!

Like I always say, in case of Harry Potter, it is not just the actual book that makes it special. All the memories that I have attached to it, wonderful times that I had because of the book, talking about it with friends, not to mention, the Harry Potter games which we played - all that makes it much more than just a book!

I read my first Harry Potter book ten years ago. At that time, and for a few years after that, it was my life. Harry's adventures, Ron's silliness, Fred & George's pranks, all of that in the most amazing magical school on the planet (and in literature!) - I can't think of another book that I actually experienced with the characters themselves!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

There were eyes painted on the church door, narrow red eyes, and ugly stone demons the height of a man stood on either side of the entrance, their teeth bared like savage dogs.

"Welcome to the devil's house!" said the bearded man with a mocking bow before opening the heavy door.
Inkheart (Original: Tintenherz) is a German fantasy novel by Cornelia Funke, translated into English by Anthea Bell. It is the first book in the Inkworld Trilogy. If you have ever read a book and wished that the characters would just come alive, this story is for you!

Rating: 3/5
Summary: Meggie is a little girl who loves reading books. She lives with her father, Mo, a book binder! One night, a mysterious stranger named Dustfinger shows up at their house. He calls her father Silvertongue and wants to warn him about some danger. It is the first time that Meggie notices her father lie to her and hide something from her. It is a battered, old book with a green cover; Inkheart. This is where and why the adventure begins.
Meggie learns soon, that the reason why her father won't aloud to her, is because he can bring characters out of a book alive. Nine years before, Mo read out the characters of the book Inkheart - a terrible villain Capricorn and his men and Dustfinger, the fire-eater. That same night, Meggie's mother disappeared into the book. Ever since then, Mo tried to keep his daughter safe from those very horrible characters, whom he himself gave life to. And now, he has to face them.
My thoughts: I thought it started out as a wonderful concept. The characters, though slightly pretentious about reading, are amazing and so is the setting.
My only problem is the plot - there isn't much of it. It seems like the introduction to a series, but not quite a book all by itself. There isn't much excitement till the last few chapters, and that is when we really get to know anything at all about the Inkworld.
I love the cover design and I love the way the author has quoted famous fantasy authors at the start of each chapter.
But it's a magical story and the rest of the stories may make up for this. I want to read it to, in Cornelia Funke's words, "taste the words, savour them on my tongue"!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

BTT #2 : Repeats

Booking through Thursday is a weekly meme about books and reading. This week's question:

What book have you read the most times? And - how many? What’s the first book that you ever read more than once? (I’m assuming there’s at least one.)

It's funny, but I can't think of a single book that I haven't re-read. There are very few books that I read just once, usually only those that I don't like.

I can't sit still without a book in my hand - even while I am having dinner or watching television; which is when I usually read books that I've already read before. That way I can read, and I won't snap at anyone for disturbing/distracting me!

Every time I re-read a book, I enjoy it more. For two reasons - one, I think of the fun I had reading it the first time and compare what I felt then, to what I feel now (now that I know what is going to happen next!) Another reason is that for fast paced books or those with a complicated plot, I can focus on the writing, in a way I would have never managed the first time!

I don't read the entire book again, though - I usually re-read it in parts - parts that I liked or parts where something important happened!

I can't remember the first book that I re-read, but the one that I read the most number of times has to be the entire Harry Potter series (The fifth book the most, though it's not my favourite!) I never kept count, and I couldn't have even if I tried - let's just say, I can recite the books if I wanted to, that's how many time I've read them!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Why I Love...Fantasy Fiction

Why I Love Wednesdays is a meme hosted at Reflections of a Bookaholic and I'm taking part for the first time :)

"Wednesdays are often the time of the week where I have a sudden realization that the week is almost over. I'm always so thankful for this point. That's why I have created a weekly feature where I will highlight something I love that is book related. This feature is called Why I Love Wednesdays..."

My love for fantasy books probably started when I was a little kid - starting with my then favourite-author-ever: Enid Blyton. I loved her books! And I loved reading them till I was too old to read them (and I gave up only because people looked at me disapprovingly when they saw me reading a 'children's book'.) Brownies and tooth fairies and trees that talk and beds that run away, I'll never forget the wonderful and magical stories!

Then of course, along came Harry Potter! I can't even begin to describe how much I love that book. I still can't believe the girl who asked me how I could read books about witches and broomsticks.

Now, most of my favourite books are from the genre and all of my favourite authors write fantasy fiction - Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, J. K. Rowling, Diana Wynne Jones!

I am currently reading Inkheart by Cornelia Funke and it is going to be another addition to my endless list of favourite fantasy novels :) What's your favourite genre?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Grab your current read, open to a random page and share two teaser sentences from that page!

  • "Reading a book, for me at least, is like traveling in someone else's world. If it's a good book, then you feel comfortable and yet anxious to see what's going to happen to you there, what'll be around the next corner."
The Land of Laughs is a fantasy novel by Jonathan Carroll. It is about an aspiring writer who wants to write the biography of one of the most famous children's writers ever. It's about books and writing and fantastical worlds.

  • Rating: 3/5

  • Summary: Marshall France was a legend in the world of books - children's fantasy stories to be exact, till one day he just stopped writing and disappeared. Thomas Abbey, an English teacher, is an aspiring writer and a Marshall France enthusiast. When Abbey happens to meet Saxony Gartener, a fellow Marshall France lover; they together decide to do something that Thomas has been dreaming of for ever - write France's biography. After much effort, the two end up in Galen, Marshall France's hometown - hoping to persuade his daughter, Anna, to let them write the book. Soon, they realize that the town has some dark secret. Meeting a talking dog is the final straw, before Abbey realizes that France's fantasy world isn't entirely fantastical.

    My thoughts: I liked three fourths of the book. It is a book-lover's dream: the way they obsess over France's books, his characters, his magical worlds. The characters are wonderfully written; Thomas Abbey, the English teacher who is the son of the most famous film-maker and has always lived under his shadow. Marshall France's books have had a great influence on him as a child, and even now. Then there is Saxony Gardner, the woman who shares an equal passion for France's books, so much that she encourages Abbey to go through with his plans of writing the biography, and decides to assist him herself. Along with Anna France, the town of Galen is like every small town you have ever read about, quiet and private but lovable. They are also the proud owners of Marshall France's memories. Together, the stage is set beautifully for a magical story to unfold. Only, it doesn't.

    Ever since Thomas discovers the town's dark secret, things become entirely chaotic. The story takes a sudden turn and starts running in that direction. Before you have time to digest what you've read, more information is thrown upon you, and just when you place it together, the book reaches an abrupt end. The story is great, but it is too rushed. And the writing is great, but it doesn't seem like one book. There is no continuity; it's as if it is written by too different writers; at one point, the author takes time to describe a stranger's nails, and at another point; he ends a life in five words.

    Like I said, I fell in love with three fourths of the book. The end ruined it for me. It is an eerily beautiful and unique story - but it could have been so much more.

    Top Ten Tuesday: Required Reading

    Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new Top Ten list and everyone is welcome to join. All you do is link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

    This week's topic: Top Ten Books Every Teen Should Read

    Just a note - I know very few "fellow teens" who read the books that I do, so I am not sure if this list fits them. In the end, everyone just has to find their own favourite reads. This is the books I'd recommend to anyone who asks, mostly because I read them as a teenager or I wish I had, anyway!

    10. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank - I was thirteen when I read this, and I didn't like it. But many of my friends loved it back then, and say it's "okay" now. It's a book that everyone should read at least once, sure, but you'd better read it early if you want to enjoy it!

    9. Malgudi Days by R. K. Narayan - I don't read much Indian fiction, but this one I'd recommend in a heartbeat. It's a collection of short stories in the fictional town of Malgudi in India. It's a wonderful book! Anyone who grew up in India in the 90s has seen the television series based on this book, and reading the stories when you're older makes you realize the depth behind the humour!

    8. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand - For the relatively older teens. It may not be the best book on the planet - trust me, I know - but I think everyone should read it at least once.

    7. Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger - So. I didn't like this book. I really didn't, but I know tonnes of people who would and whom I'd recommend it to. I am not sorry that I read it, that's for sure. According to my friend, it is a perfect read for an older-ish teenager and it probably is.

    6. Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkein - I still have one year to go before I am not a teenager anymore and I will have read this by the end of it. I'm sure of that. I am not going to mention the Harry Potter series here, because there is no need to wait till you're a teen to read it!

    5. Life of Pi by Yann Martel - I read Life of Pi in high school and it is still one of my favourite books! The excitement and adventure combined with a bit of serious talk about religion and stuff and lots of humour, makes it just right for teens.

    4 & 3. Neil Gaiman & Stephen King - So, I am not naming a book because it can be any one, really. It is just 'required' that every teen read at least one Neil Gaiman and one Stephen King book before they turn twenty!

    2. The Chronicles of Chrestomanci by Diana Wynne Jones - Or Howl's Moving Castle. Or any of her books, really. I wish I'd read them when I was thirteen and in high school and too obsessed with Harry Potter to read anything else!

    1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - Not that this is a book for a specific age group, but I think it'll be a good change for a thirteen year old who thinks it is finally time to stop reading murder mysteries and all that!

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

    “As a rule, Fat Charlie felt embarrassment in his teeth, and in the upper pit of his stomach. If something that even looked like it might be embarrassing was about to happen on his television screen Fat Charlie would leap up and turn it off. If that was not possible, say if other people were present, he would leave the room on some pretext and wait until the moment of embarrassment was sure to be over.”

    Anansi Boys is a novel by Neil Gaiman. This is the story of Charles Nancy, son of Anansi. Despite being perfectly normal sized, he is known to all as Fat Charlie. 
    Those of you, who have read American Gods know Mr. Nancy quite well; And, those of you, who haven’t read American Gods, should.

    Rating: 4/5

    "God is dead - meet the kids"

    Summary: Fat Charlie hasn’t met his father in ages. When he finally agrees to invite his Dad to his wedding, he learns that he has, in fact, recently passed away. Fat Charlie reluctantly goes home to his father’s funeral, not knowing the chaos about to ensue in his life. Accidentally crashing and ruining someone else’s funeral is the least of his worries, because soon Fat Charlie learns not only that he has a brother he never knew about, but also that his father was Anansi, the Spider-god.

    Soon, after getting kicked out of his own house and life by his brother Spider, Charlie realizes the full extent of his troubles. After some wonder, much magic and trickery and a load of family troubles, Fat Charlie finally begins to accept and understand his heritage and destiny.

    My thoughts: I enjoyed this book. First of all, it is fun and funny. You just can’t help but chuckle after every two sentences. I loved the combination of dark humour and wit.

    It is also very engaging. In a wonderfully mystical and slightly eccentric world, Gaiman has spun together a magical story, adding bits of mythology and folklore along the way. If you think about it, though, the plot is normal and the characters are like you and me, people you can actually relate to - they just happen to be gods too; that’s all. There is much more to the book than African legends and children's stories - you learn about family and courage, and most of all, you learn that everyone has the power to rewrite their story.

    This book is very different from American Gods. It is light hearted and much less complex. It may not be my favourite Neil Gaiman book, but it is definitely worth a read (and some re-reads!)

    Friday, July 15, 2011

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

    I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 2) this morning and I was very excited about it like everybody else! I wish I'd written a post about it beforehand like everyone else, because then I would have had many great things to say.

    I never liked the Harry Potter movies, because they were hardly ever like the books! Unlike most people I know, I find it very hard to judge a movie based on a book without comparing it to the book it is based on. It sounds crazy! Whenever I read a book, I play the scenes in my mind; well, I expect everyone does that. Why else would I watch the Harry Potter movies when I already know what's going to happen - certainly not for the absolutely amazing cast. It's as if they want to remove all the very essential parts of the book to replace them with unnecessary, cheesy and sometimes comical (the one where Harry and Hermione dance) scenes. Still. I loyally go watch the movies every time and they don't once fail to disappoint me.

    The first half of the movie really made me wonder if it was going to be different this time! The story line was almost maintained and there were no weird special effects (except for the Imperius Curse. Why- no, how- was that necessary?) It's shocking how much bad they can do in about the last half hour of the movie!! In the second half - the movie went from 'almost awesome' to 'ridiculous' - well, at least for me.
    Ralph Fiennes was an expected disaster, Alan Rickman, an unexpected one, and did I mention there was a bit too much action? And don't even tell me there were some really great scenes. It's Harry Potter, for god's sake. They aren't exactly doing us a favour by giving us "some" good scenes!

    I'll always hate that Harry Potter had to end. What I hate now is that it had to end this way.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland... (by Catherynne M. Valente) a Ship of Her Own Making.

    I am reviewing this book as a part of the Follow the Blurb Reading Challenge.

    "When souls queue up to be born, they all leap up at just the last moment, touching the lintel of the world for luck. Some jump high and can seize a great measure of luck, some jump only a bit and snatch a few loose strands. Everyone manages to catch some. If one did not have at least a little luck, one would never survive childhood."

    The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is a novel by Catherynne M. Valente. The book was first discussed in Valente's previous book Palimpsest (which I have yet to read!) and was officially published in May 2011. The novel, as the title very clearly says, is the story of a little girl's adventures in Fairyland

    Rating: 5/5

    Summary: September lives an ordinary life in Omaha. That is, until the Green Wind takes pity on her and she is whisked off by him to Fairyland. Her adventure begins atop a flying leopard, and as September enters Fairyland, she realizes how little the normal world knows about fairies and other magical beings. She meets three witches and learns about the evil Marquess who rules Fairyland. To help one of the witches, September grandly decides to confront the very irritable Marquess. Along her journey, September befriends the dragon-like Wyvern who believes his father was a library, along with Saturday, a unique boy who can grant wishes; she meets a soap golem and a herd of migrating bicycles; and comes across more whimsical and fantastical things than you can imagine!

    My thoughts: This might be the closest I'd get to reading Alice in Wonderland! I'd like to think of this book as a short, sweet fairy tale for adults. It is a beautifully written tale too; the usual message of courage and strength for the younger readers mixed with magic, excitement and a subtle but striking sense of humour. Along with the wonderful illustrations at the start of every chapter, the book is a pretty amazing read!

    The novel reminds me vaguely of a lot of fantasy books, and yet Valente's Fairyland is quite unlike most magical worlds. The characters are unique and lovable. The Wyvern-library cross breed, called A-Through-L, is definitely one of my favourite characters ever. September initially seems a bit heartless (like all children) but you grow into liking her. Even the comparatively minor characters, right from the cheeky Green Wind to the sly Panther are absolutely adorable.

    The descriptions are so vivid, that you feel like you are visiting the world yourself. Full of its twists and quirks, this novel is one of the most wonderfully weird books I have read in a long time.

    Follow the Blurb Challenge

    I came across the Follow the Blurb Reading Challenge over at Jennifer's Reading with Tequila. I haven't participated in any reading challenges till date (and it has nothing to do with my very busy schedule.)

    "The plan is simple. I'm going to choose a book to read. Once I finish that book, I'll choose a blurb from the front or back cover and read a book written by the quoted author. I'll read 10 books in this fashion, just to see where I end up. Will all the books have a common theme? Will they be in the same genre? Will all of the authors be the same gender or ethnicity? Will they all have the same publisher? Are they all equally well known? Or will the books appear to be nothing more than a completely random list?"

    The Challenge with run from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012 - and since ten books in a year doesn't exactly sound impossible, I'm in!

    My Blurb Journey: (click on the title for the review!)

    Blurb: "A glorious balancing act between modernism and the Victorian fairy tale, done with heart and wisdom" - Neil Gaiman

    Blurb: "Gaiman has managed to tell the tallest of tales in the most heartrending and believable fashion, despite the story's truly mythic scale. It is an important, essential book. As Pablo Neruda once said of another world-class novel, not to read it is the same as never having tasted an orange." - Jonathan Carroll

    Blurb: "I can't remember when I've been so blown away by a fantasy novel." - Stephen King

    4. Cujo - Stephen King

    (There was no blurb - so I am using the one by Lee Child on King's Under the Dome - which I'm adding to my TBR list!)
    Blurb: "Seven words: The best yet from the best ever."

    5. Lee Child

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    Authors I would DIE to meet!

    Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new Top Ten list complete with one bloggers’ answers.Everyone is welcome to join. All you have to do is link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own post! This week's topic:

    Top Ten Authors I Would DIE to meet:

    If I really think about it, I'd like to meet most of the authors that I read, whether I like the book or not. So it's tough to list ten.
    These are, as the question says, the authors I'd DIE (or... kill) to meet. The reason is either that I have fallen in love with their book/books, can re-read them hundred thousand times and would kill to talk about these books with their creators! Or... the authors affected me in a certain way or introduced me to a particular genre.
    Here are the top ten authors that I'd want to meet - in no particular order - and the one thing that put them on this list:

    1. Terry Pratchett (for the Discworld)

    2. J. K. Rowling (for a thousand amazing book memories)

    3. Diana Wynne Jones (for taking me back to my childhood)

    4. Stephen King (for making me love horror fiction)

    5. Yann Martel (for Life of Pi)

    6. Mark Twain (for ridding my fear of classics!)

    7. Neil Gaiman (for American Gods)

    8. Isaac Asimov (for making me love science fiction)

    9. Ayn Rand (well... I owe it to my "I-love-Ayn-Rand" high school self!)

    10. Enid Blyton (for making me love books!)

    (and... if screenwriters count - Walt Disney and Joss Whedon. Lol)

    Sunday, July 10, 2011

    A Creative Bit

    After getting what can only be described as one incredibly awesomely creative gift yesterday - well, two - I went into a bit of a creative mode myself!

    As a kid, I used to absolutely love making bookmarks, specially for my father. Well, these are for me. A few days ago, I came across this post on homemade bookmarks. They are so wonderful!!

    Which is why, when I was cleaning my closet for the umpteenth time, and I came across these pieces of cloth just sitting there waiting to be cut up - I knew just what I wanted to do with them!!

    After spending three days of my four-day-holiday doing absolutely nothing, I finally did something productive (and... entirely out of scrap!!)

    Aren't they adorable?

    As for the gifts, well - my (favourite... duh!) sister gave me this left-handers' mug that reads "I may be left handed, but I am always right", and has a teenie hole on the right side, so, as you see, it can only be used by left handers! I am sipping coffee from it, as we speak.

    And the left handers' pair of scissors was a real help (while making these cute bookmarks) because, for once, I managed to cut something up without almost crushing half of my hand!

    What a day...!

    Thursday, July 7, 2011

    BTT #1 : Dog Days

    This is my first time on Booking Through Thursdays, which is a weekly meme about books and reading. This week's question:

    What animal-related books have you read? Which do you love? Do you have a favorite literary dog? (Snoopy, anyone?)

    I love animals and animal related books (though I admit, I like cats more.) My favourite animal story has got to be Born Free by Joy Adamson. But since we're talking about dogs here, I can't help but make another list (I love lists!), this time of my five favourite literary dogs. Here it is:

    1. Marley (Marley and Me by John Grogan) - Well, he's not exactly "literary" is he? I bet that dog was as wonderful as the book makes him seem!! He made me laugh and cry and go "aww"! Marley and Me is one of my favourite books ever.

    2. Gaspode the Wonder Dog (Discworld by Terry Pratchett) - The small terrier-like mongrel who is the first thinking dog. He can speak and is also the smartest dog on the Disc. He was so funny - I loved this guy!!

    3. Dog - The Hellhound (Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett) - The ferocious beast who is sent to earth in the form of a small dog (called Dog), and who, despite himself, loves acting like one!

    4. Sirius/Leo (Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones) - The Dog Star, banished to the earth in the farm of a handsome golden puppy with green eyes! He's beautiful and smart and just the right amount of funny!

    5. The Three Headed Dog (Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling) - Okay, this one is hard to explain. But he has to be the most unique literary dog, right? He has three heads, he's also known as Fluffy and he likes soothing music. Creative, very.

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    How to Be a Pirate by Cressida Cowell

    Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Grab your current read, open to a random page and share two teaser sentences from that page!

    How to Be a Pirate is the sequel to Cressida Cowell's How to Train your Dragon. Here's my teaser this week:

    • "Imagine if you had spent the whole first part of your life trying to walk on your hands. The clumsiness of it, always falling over, always stumbling, always the last at everything. Imagine the joy of discovering that in fact you could walk on your feet after all."
    It is a simple, whimsical and crudely humourous book meant for children. Which, of course, is why I liked it.

    Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III is an unnoticeable, average looking Viking. He is not quite up to the standard expected from someone who happens to be the heir of the Hooligan tribe. Not to mention, Hiccup has a very lazy and inefficient dragon, Toothless, who is about three times smaller than most dragons! As the tribe hunts for a hundred year old treasure, Hiccup turns out to be the most unlikely Hero of the story.

    I liked How to Be a Pirate; a quick fun read, full of silly jokes and goofy cartoons! I find parts of it very original; like the dragons have their very own language. For instance, "Pishyou na munch-munch di miaow-miaow" means "Please do not eat the cats."

    I loved the movie How To Train Your Dragon - so I didn't bother reading the book. As it turns out, the two are quite different; though I might just be partial to the movie just this once, if only because Toothless happens to be exceptionally cute.

    Monday, July 4, 2011

    A 100 posts & yet another "Thanks"!

    I was at, what I love to call "work" the other day, doodling away (along the margins of an article about Roald Dahl, which I was supposed to be reading) waiting for some real work to come along.

    Unfortunately, and as I have already said before, I never did read much of Dahl. I was more of an Enid Blyton fan and progressed on to being a Harry Potter fanatic. So, if there's one author I regret not reading before, more than Roald Dahl - it is Dianna Wynne Jones. The woman is a genius! After meeting characters like Christopher Chant and Wizard Howl Pendragon and after um.. 'visiting' the Moving Castle and the Parallel Worlds, Hogwarts loses a bit of its charm. I'm just saying. It's a pity I never read her books before she passed away.

    I am currently reading "Dogsbody", written by Diana Wynne Jones in 1975. The god Sirius, the denizen of the Dog Star is punished for a murder he did not commit! He is banished to the earth, reborn as a puppy, to recover a mysterious Zoi (using which he is supposed to have attacked another "luminary"!) As Sirius struggles with his life as a dog, he also struggles with memories of a past as a luminary. Soon, this little dog sets out on an adventure, to hunt for the Zoi that will set him free!

    Like all of Diana Wynne Jones' books, this is a charming, wistful and magical tale, that keeps you involved throughout, with bits of humour here and there! I'm sure this will end up in my favourite fantasy books right alongside The Lives of Christopher Chant and Howl's Moving Castle!!

    The way I see it, I would not have read these books had I not started blogging. Or one of the much-too-discussed "Metro Reads" by Penguin India that I normally skeptically smirk at. Or YA authors like Holly Black and Suzanne Collins. Not that I particularly liked most, but hey, you can't say you don't like it till you try! I wouldn't have given any fantasy author a chance over J. K. Rowling and I would have missed reading some really amazing books.

    Phew! Did I mention this is my 100th post? Yay!! After spending a hundred hours thinking up a hundred different ways of making my hundredth post special - I realized that the more I think, the worse the post becomes! It's just a number, anyway. So I wrote this - a thanks to the blogging world for giving me a new favourite author! Did I mention I LOVE blogging?