From Calvin To Bacon

Calvin & HobbesDon’t you just LOVE Calvin & Hobbes! I think Calvin is the most irritating, cute, intelligent, crazy and smart-ass kid on the planet. The re-assuring thought is that such children exist only in the world of make-believe. God bless the parents who might actually have such gems in their lives!
Wouldn’t it be interesting to know what he’s like when all grown up and better sill, what kind of children would HE have to bear!

Well, one day while doing a search on Calvin, I bumped into, Bacon, daughter of Calvin & Susie (who else)! Thanks to Pants Are Overrated, we have 4 humorous strips on the child prodigy that is Bacon.  So from ‘Calvin & Hobbes’ we get ‘Hobbes & Bacon’! They’re funny and you can see Bacon has it in her genes. And as for the grown up Calvin, he’s kind of like his Dad. He knows how to handle Bacon & even goes a step further and joins in on her madness.

I wish we could get more of Bacon as we did of Calvin. Created in 2011, for some reason we haven’t got any more.
So I request whoever is responsible for creating Bacon…I want more, I want more, I want more!
And till we get more, make do with these:

Hobbes & Bacon 1
Hobbes & Bacon 2
Hobbes & Bacon 3
Hobbes & Bacon 4

The 3 Mistakes Of My Life by Chetan Bhagat

The 3 Mistakes Of My life - Chetan BhagatRating: 3.5/5

Genre: Fiction

Make No Mistake, Chetan’s Got It Right This Time
I’ve read a few books of Chetan Bhagat & have to admit I am no big fan of this guy. But 3 mistakes was quite alright.
The thing with Bhagat is that his writing is so very ‘mild’. Sometimes you want more than just a good story. The style of writing itself, the presentation. But I’ll leave the negative feedback for his other books. This one was fine.

I basically decided to pick this book up because I had seen trailers of a movie called Kai Po Che! It’s based on the book, so it made the idea interesting. And also, I wanted to read something simple & light.

So, the 3 main characters are solid, clear cut, obvious kind of people. Businessman, failed cricketer and simpleton. Best friends. The story is told by Govind, the typical Gujrati business man. He tells you about 3 mistakes he made in his life and how his life &  the life of those around him get affected because of these mistakes. All the situations are nicely put together. The characters are very likeable, especially Vidya, the only significant female in the book. All the people in the book are very stereotyped but I guess they do exist.

Perfect 10 to Chetan for churning out another script for Bollywood!

Anyway, nice book, few twists & turns and all is well that ends well.

A Great Book = A Great Movie, And That’s How It Should Be

I finally saw ‘To Kill A Mocking Bird’, the movie! And I’m sooooo glad I did. It was such a delight.

It’s a great adaptation of the wonderful book. I haven’t seen many movies from that era, so it was nice to see how things looked in those days, in that part of the world.
Everything was so clean and simple. The surroundings and life.  No crowds, no traffic, no skyscrapers. The children could run around wherever they liked, whenever they liked. It all looked so perfect despite the murky goings-on that are present in the story.

Almost all the characters in the movie (the good ones of course) are such lovely people. The world should be full of such people. I don’t know the actors’ names so I’ll just use the character names. Scout looks every inch as described in the book & acts so well. Jem shows his transition form a naughty-ish boy to one growing mature & understanding his father brilliantly. Tom Robbins has a small part but he portrays the frustration, anger & despair amazingly. And Atticus….I almost fell in love with him. Gregory Peck has given an award winning performance I’d say, and he sure did get those. He is strong, gentle, macho, intelligent, handsome, fragile…all facets equally convincing, awesome actor!
Even Boo Radley was pretty much as I had imagined him to be, mysterious, shy & likeable. Robert Duvall’s debut by the way.

My favourite scenes in the movie are the ones where Scout would fly into a rage and beat up her adversaries!

I had a weird sad-in-a-happy-kind-of-way feeling (guess that’s possible) at the end. I wished I could live in those times but realised it was all rosy and pretty as long as you were on the right side of the fence! Guess I’m fine where I am and I’ll just watch the movie again and again to get the feel good factor.

Sad, beautiful, funny, impressive, inspiring…I could use a mix of all kinds of adjectives to describe this movie. Absolutely loved it, as I did the book!

The Hobbit (There And Back Again) by JRR Tolkien

The Hobbit - JRR TolkienRating: 4.5/5

Genre: Fantasy, Children

Dragons, Hobbits, Dwarves & Rings…These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things
I love the fantasy genre. I love The Lord Of The Ring series. But I have to admit I haven’t read all of the book. It’s the movies that got me hooked. So LOTR came first, which made me go see The Hobbit (An Unexpected Journey) and then I just had to read the hobbit book (much more achievable than LOTR size-wise).

It was lovely and so very very different from LOTR. While LOTR is dark & morbid, The Hobbit is pleasant & nice throughout, despite the dragons, goblins etc. Not surprising given it was written by Tolkien as a bedtime story for his kids, or so I heard. It’s simple yet full of amazing imaginary things, thoroughly enjoyable. Having seen the movie helped as you can imagine everything so clearly (almost in 3D)! The only thing I didn’t get was why the movie had stuff which wasn’t in the book. I don’t think it was required at all.  Should have stuck to the original completely.

Starting with a reluctant Bilbo the adventure goes through fantastical twists and turns to the (slightly disappointing & timid) end, by which time Bilbo takes on a deserving hero’s role. The disappointing bit being the slaying of Smaug which I will not detail for people who haven’t yet read the book. I would also have liked some more impressive characters as were in LOTR, I kind of missed them. Having said that Gandalf, the Dwarves, wood-elves, Beorn and many more such characters are quite amusing & entertaining.
Speaking of characters, read an interesting article on ‘Why there are no women in Tolkien’s world’. Interesting!

Anyway, the book is great fun to read, and super quick at that. I think the tiny disappointments are because of the comparison with LOTR which can be easily forgotten. And you should get your hands on the latest edition which has illustrations, maps etc which give you that little bit extra.

A great book for adults if you are the LOTR fan variety and a must read for kids no matter what. I would certainly like my kids to graduate on to a Hobbit from their current favourite Captain Underpants!

Some stills from the movie:

Hobbit          HobbitHobbit

The Inimitable Jeeves by PG Wodehouse

The Inimitable Jeeves - PG WodehouseRating: 4/5 (read 5/5 if you’re a huge Wodehouse fan)

Genre:  (English) Humour

Its Actually Wodehouse Who Is Inimitable
I used to read Wodehouse in school/college, read lots of them.  And I always used to end up wishing some distant and extremely rich Uncle or Aunt would grow extremely fond of me and leave shit loads of inheritance in my name. Then my life would also be a breeze like most of the characters in a Wodehouse book.

Take Bertie Wooster, for instance, never lifts a finger for any work, doesn’t have to worry about getting a  job, shoots off to distant lands for a break (from God knows what) at the drop of a hat….and what not! The list is endless, as is the money in his pockets!

In this book Jeeves solves one problem after the other in a sort of mini TV series. Some of the issues are unbelievably silly, like a bet on the length of a church sermon, for which Wooster actually leaves all his ‘important’ work and rushes off to participate in. I can’t believe people had so much time on hand those days. Bingo, the hopeless romantic actually makes Wooster look useful. The twist towards the end was pretty good though, wasn’t expecting that. But the hero, of course, is Jeeves. Despite the fact that he is always in the background, doing his good deeds in the shadows of his master’s life.

A Wodehouse is one of the few books you can write a review on even before finishing it. They are all pretty much the same. Similar plots, language, humour, characters, etc. The storyline is as simplistic as can be, and if there are any complications, well that’s what Jeeves is there for anyway, trust him to set things right in a jiffy.

I absolutely love the language. The English sure speak funny English. I lived in London for around seven years but was obviously in the wrong neighbourhood. I never heard people say things like: pip-pip, good egg, shindy, chappies or bally old hen! I did hear ‘dash him’ though.

Although I did enjoy the book, in more of a remembrance kind of way, it didn’t give me the jollies as it used to 20 years ago. Guess I’ve grown up. It might also be that I prefer the Empress of Blandings over the inimitable Jeeves somehow.

Check out a very interesting website for more information on PG Wodehouse. Cheerio then!

Riot by Shashi Tharoor

Rating: 3.5/5, interesting presentation.

Genre: Historical Fiction

History, Religion, Politics, Murder…And A Sad Love Story
That’s exactly what the book is made up of. It has got all the right ingredients. You don’t necessarily have to be familiar with incidents around which all this happens. Anyone in any country at any point of time can understand the dirt behind politics & religion, at different levels though.

The best part about the book is probably the narration. It goes from interviews to diary entries to letters, a very interesting way to present the case. The relationship between Priscilla and Lakshman is also portrayed beautifully. The reasons they get together and the reasons for the problems that arise, very convincing.

The book is quite fast paced and keeps you hooked throughout. Although, it is in a continuous state of sad affairs, be it the politics or the people’s love lives, you want to keep reading! It does get a bit depressing too at times, but then that’s what the story is all about.

Definitely a good book and the fact that Tharoor is so good looking keeps a nice picture in mind. Can’t help but mention that!

You can check out another book by Tharoor:

The Great Indian Novel - Shashi Tharoor

The Great Indian Novel

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Rating: 5/5

Genre: Fiction

Beautiful People & Beautiful Words Make A Beautiful Book
I read this book around 20 years ago and read it for the second time recently, doesn’t say much for my age I guess! Anyway, loved it then & loved it again. It’s such a simple book with a not so simple storyline, expressed so endearingly.

The story is quite straightforward but extremely intriguing, although set in a completely different era, relevant even today. Each individual character is so vivid, strong and impressive. They all have a strong presence and yet do not overshadow each other. Atticus has to be my favourite, there is something so soothing & alluring about his personality. A model parent. Scout of course is bound to create an impression, there’s so much to her. The changes in Jem as he grows older and more mature. Another one I really like is Boo Radley, you just can’t help it. You have so many questions about him which unfortunately go unanswered.

Despite such sweet characters and situations, there is a constant dark undercurrent to the story. While racism is the top issue there are smaller things about life as well that make you think. The class divide, single parenting, abuse issues, etc. Brilliantly interwoven. I would have liked the book to have never ended, to know more about each character, their past as well as future!

I still have to get around to watching the movie too, am sure it must be very good. You can’t go wrong with such a lovely book.

A beautiful, beautiful book that has to be read again and again.