Category Archives: Book Reviews (FaB 3)

‘The Jungle Book’ by Rudyard Kipling

‘The Jungle Book’ is one of the most famous children’s fiction by Joseph Rudyard Kipling. The characters of this book include Mowgli, Sher Khan , bhageera, baloo etc. Its the story of an orphaned boy, who was been chased by a fierce tiger. The boy was raised  by a pack of wolfs and was named as Mowgli. At last he kills the tiger with the help the pack.

This book also tells the stories of a white seal , Rikki tikki ta-vi a mongoose, little toomai and a servant of the queen. They are all interesting stories of Kipling collection, which has moral values .
I enjoyed this novel well. If i am asked rate this book I will give 9/10.
Reviewed by  Christeena Jacob

 

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Beyond words: Looking for meaning

A piece of literature traces its root to varied elements. Culture, customs, class, creed, colour, society, institution of family, individual lives and perspectives all find a place in a piece of writing as literature is nothing than expression of inherent human emotions.

No other writer in history has left a more profound picture of personal life on his writings than Franz Kafka. No writings of Kafka can be read without reading his life and journeys he undertook in the due course of those books. If read without Kafka, his writings are no more than just words on a paper. When read together with his life, they leave an impression that is hard to erase from consciousness. The Metamorphosis, being the only finished novel of Kafka is no different.

Written at the time of turmoil of industrialisation, it represents the true beatings of a shattered society. The grand narratives of naturalism and impressionism fell short to express the ground reality of alienation, where people where being alienated from oneself and where a whole society was on the quest to know the ultimate reality. The question before literature was no longer about magnificent meadows in the land of unknown but about the struggles of a concrete individual. All his writings were a forerunner for the absurdist and existentialist movements that fought to answer these questions and went on to change the whole course of literature.

The plot of metamorphosis is delicately woven with surrealism and expressionism. The major character Gregor Samsa is a travelling salesman. The novel opens with Gregor opening his eyes from a stressful night. The whole narrative is through the eyes of the major character. This aspect of individual perspective over the third person narrative is a distinctive feature of existentialism where the emphasis is on individuals. He wakes up to find himself transformed to a huge vermin. The author never gives a clue of how this had possibly happened. The element of irrationality and dreamy dreary experiences are a mark of his writings. There is barely a boundary between reality and dream. His parents Mrs and Mr Samsa and Sister Grete Samsa were solely depended on him as he was the only bread winner of the family.

The smooth course of the family gets shattered due to his transformation. As the family lost its bread winner it had no other option than to start working. Mr Samsa and Grete starts working for a wage. To his amusement Gregor finds that his father have transformed from a sick old man to a strong fierce man. The book reflects on a lot of universal realities. It shows that it is the responsibilities that define the person not the age. The example of Mr Samsa and Grete is a notable one.

His sister though sympathetic at the beginning, ends up calling him a monster. His mother remains lovable to him but her love is overshadowed under the dominating father. In the due course of his vermin life Gregor comes to know a lot of bitter truths of life. Tormented, ill treated and humiliated, the story ends with the death of Gregor. The family celebrates his death with a picnic. At this time the relationships were increasingly getting based on economic transactions rather than the bonds of love and respect. Metamorphosis echoes this throughout the plot.

As I mentioned earlier The Metamorphosis is a statement of Kafka’s life. The characters of book are replicas from his life. All through his life he was troubled by his dominating, abusive father. In his ‘Letters to Father’, he says, “My writing was about you, indeed, I poured out my complaints there only because I couldn’t pour them out on your breast.” The presence of an abusive father is found throughout his stories. True to the famous sophist notion, for him father was the measure of all things.

Metamorphosis is not just a book for pleasure, its book for heart, for consciousness. There is a hidden meaning beneath each word and each letter echoes a reality. The essence of author is something that is in-erasable in the book. To erase that is the same as erasing fingerprints off a hand. The words won’t belong anywhere. They will just be words and not meanings. I strongly urge that all piece of literature should be read with the author behind. If did so, we start to embark on a fruitful journey of reading.

Reviewed by
Akshaya S.Kumar
1st year Integrated MA
IIT Madras

‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the fifth novel in the Harry potter series. It is written by the famous fantasy writer J.K. Rowling. It has 38 wonderful chapters .The novel was published on 21 June 2003 by Bloomsbury in the United Kingdom, Scholastic in the United States, and Raincoats Canada. Five million copies were sold in the first 24 hours of publication.It is the longest book of the series .The main characters are Harry Potter, voldemort, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley and Albus Dumbledore. Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of witchcraft and Wizardry.  His best friends Ron and Hermione have been secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school. But before he even gets to school Harry survives a terrifying encounter with two Dementors, attends a court hearing at the ministry of magic and then he came to know about the secret headquarters of a mysterious group called the Order of the Phoenix formed by Dumbledore against the Dark Lord then there comes the twist in the story .To know more you have to read this book and it is full of suspends, secret and thrilling actions. And my favorite character is Hermione Granger. If am asked to rate this book out of 10then I will rate 9.5/10and I suggest this book to all those people who love reading book.
Reviewed by Arathi  S. S.

‘The castle in the Pyrenees’ by Jostein Gaarder

‘The castle in the Pyrenees’ is yet another love story from the author of Sophie’s world-Jostien Gaarder. It is a novel of exploring the place of human consciousness in the universe.
The story travels through  five instance years in the 1970’s,in which Steinn and Solrun had a happy life together,then suddenly parted their waysfor reasons that are unclear to both.In summer 2007,they meet again in a place they both have fond memories from. Their meeting turns to be fateful.But it was purely coincidental that they meet at the particular spot at that particular time. The book takes the format of e-mail exchanges between Solrunn and Steinn. Not much actually happens in this book.The aforementioned debates over ghosts and the scientific method run into dozens of pages. The castle in the Pyrenees is comparatively smaller   in scale, but the ideas it present are equally absorbing.
Reviewed by  Aryananda B. S.

‘The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ by Douglas Adams

The “ULTIMATE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY” “TRILOGY could possibly be one of the most funny books of all time, and is the best sci-fi-comedy ever written. Douglas Adams’s wit is unmatched in this genre. I read this book expecting a lot I had heard numerous references that were supposedly to this book, so I decided to finally read it to find out what all the hype was about.

I’m glad to say I wasn’t disappointed. Quite to the contrary, the book exceeded my expectations. It’s beautifully crafted, and the humor is so whimsical and Pythonesque, that it’s both clever and absurd at the same time. Thanks to Adams’s insight, I too am on a continual search for the reason why 42 is the answer to life, universe and everything.

The plot is quite simple. In this classic story, Arthur Dent, a lovable and easily-confused Earthling gets dragged on the journey of a lifetime as Earth is destroyed by a group of Vogons to make way for a hyperspace by-pass. He is joined by a host of unforgettable characters: the easy-going researcher for the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Ford Prefect; the hyper Two-Headed, Three-Armed President of the Galaxy Zaphod Beeblebrox; and his girlfriend former-Earth-reporter Trillian; and Marvin, the hopelessly depressed android robot. Together, they are off to explore the galaxy, battle with pesky mice-geniuses, eat dinner at the end of the universe, travel through time, meet the man who designed Norway, redefine “improbability,” patronize and annoy countless alien races, search for a decent cup of tea in an unforgiving universe, and continue the eternal quest to find out why 42 is so darn important.

Adams is a visionary. This is unlike any series I have ever read. Although “Mostly Harmless” was a slightly disappointing conclusion to such an entertaining series, I will always consider the Hitchhiker’s’ “Trilogy” to be among the greats. If you do not own or have never read these books, then this compilation is a necessity for you. I think this book deserves 42 stars (just because of its cryptic number).

Reviewed by G. Aditya Sankar

‘The Brilliant world of Tom Gates’ by Liz Pichon

During the summer vacation I read the book “The Brilliant world of Tom Gates”. It is a funny book full of funny characters. This fully illustrated junior fiction book contains 237 pages with lots of fun and creativity. This book is full of cartoons along with a mind-pumping documentary. The Brilliant World of Tom Gates won several prestigious awards, including the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the Water stone’s Children’s Book Prize, and the Blue Peter Book Award. L. Pichon lives in Brighton, England.

The book tells about the story of a young boy named Tom Gates who is an irreverent yet ‘normal’ school kid who takes much delight in torturing his older sister Delia. He’s also a master homework escapologist and likes to spend his time doodling in his homework book and planning his next rehearsal with his band the “Dog Zombies. It’s because of this habit that Mr.Fullerman, his class teacher always glares at him with his “Beady Eyes”. His sister Delia is the main focus of his pranks, but I could see so much of me and my brother in their relationship that it just made me laugh.

Tom loves Dude 3 – which is his favorite band. One day Tom goes to the corner shop to buy milk and his Granny slips some extra money in his pocket for him to buy something he wants. He spends ages choosing but then Rock Weekly, his favorite magazine, catches his eye. On the front it says “Dude 3 is coming to town”. He buys it and in the end he forgets the milk. Obviously he has an excuse – he says they had run out of milk! Tom is good at thinking up excuses. Amazingly Tom’s dad has got tickets to see Dude 3 but the dog of his friend Derek eats them. At this point Tom was desperate, he starting begging for tickets. He found someone he didn’t expect to be there, his class teacher Mr.Fullerman. Tom hated this teacher especially seeing him outside of school. But his teacher ended up being the one to get Tom front row seat to watch his favorite band Dude-3. He also got a chance to high five the Dude3 members. It was Tom’s luckiest and happiest day ever.

In diary format, complete with kooky illustrations, this books feature fabulous kid speak dialogue, adorable line drawings and wonderful type setting that bring out loud giggles. Great book filled with comedy and art and a very easy quick read.

Reviewed by Meenakshi.K (Shift-II)

‘The Mystery of the Island’ by Isobel Knight

I  have read  the  book  named  ‘The  Mystery  of  the  Island’ by  Isobel  Knight . This  is  about a  family , Planning  a  trip  to  live  on  a  croft  on  an  island , west  coast  of  Scotland . That  Sounded   like  a  dream  come  true  to  Kristeen , who  tells  the  tale , and for  her  brother  and  sister . This  story  is  full  of  suspence  and  adventure .   They  found  a  castle  with  a  cave  full of  mystery  and  danger . Their  father  and  they  want  to  put  out  the  mystery  of  the  castle .  When  their  father  got  ill  and  was  admitted  in  the  hospital  in  the  town  they  had  to  look out  themselves . they  had  two  pet  dogs  laddiee  and  lassiee , which  were  their  best  friends . They  had  a  job  get  eggs  and  milk  to  the   market  from  their  own  farm . as  they  were hppily  doing  this  a  man  came  to  their  life ,  whom  nicknamed  as  the  wild  man  of  borneo . one  day  the  children  made  a  plan  to  enter  his  cottage  secretly . They  found  a  secret  table  there. What  will  be  inside  it ? Just  then  a  man  came  who  led  to  the  death  of  the  wild  man  of  Borneo . Just  then  they  found  the  treasure, some pearls  that  was  the  treasure . then  they  lived  eating  the  treasure  they  found  and  laughing  about  it .

 Reviewed by Sooryajith Nair V.