Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Review:A Town Called Dehra by Ruskin Bond

I absolutely adore Ruskin Bond and have been doing so since my childhood. He does not write about world wars or bank heists or long forgotten heroes .Instead, he writes about the most magical place on this earth-Dehradun and that’s what makes him my favorite. I would like to believe that this book is Bond’s love letter to the Doon valley.
                            A town called Dehra is a collection of short stories revolving around the day to day events of the author’s early life in the city. Few of the stories are excerpts taken from his debut novel-The room on the roof. These tales are about the people in Bond’s life who influenced him the most-his Tonga fearing grandmother, poor but proud Bibiji,young and carefree Somi.My favorite story is the one where the author talks about the heart and soul of Dehradun –The trees. Bond is totally correct when he says that Doon is one of the few places in the world where trees are a match for man.My family shifted to Dehradun in the late '90s and the moment I got off the train, I was left awestruck by the huge Banyan tree in the middle of the railway platform. Over the next few months I discovered that almost every house in the city (including mine) had an orchard in the backyard. Papaya, mango, guava and litchi trees were in abundance and still are. Even now, whenever I visit the valley, the majestic sal and shisham trees are always there to welcome me.
                                 For me, reading a Ruskin Bond book is like swimming in a sea of nostalgia. I am transported to a time where life used to be much simpler-the Parade ground was still green, the forests of Rajpur road were not converted to shopping malls, the roads had lesser number of vehicles. I sometimes feel sad that Dehradun is no longer the quaint, sleepy town that I grew up in but the fact that Ruskin Bond has immortalized it cheers me up.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Review : Song of the Sea by Jade Varden

 I am not a big fan of the young adult fantasy genre because most of the YA fiction books that I have read in the past year or so have had very immature content. Therefore, when Jade asked me to review her latest work, I was a bit skeptical but the blurb looked interesting enough and I was in mood for some light reading, so I decided to give it a shot and I am so glad I did.

                           Reading this book was like reading a Disney movie screenplay but unlike most of the Disney movies I watched during my childhood, this story had depth to it. The story of Brenna‘s search for her mother is inspiring and relatable.The writing is fresh and crisp. As a reader, I just fell in love with the female protagonist-she is smart, hardworking and has an undying passion for sailing.She is also silly when it comes to the matters of heart, but then which teenager isn't. I believe the target audience for this book is the school going younger generation and Brenna is the ideal heroine for them. She is not some love struck teenager who believes in dancing to the tunes of her prince charming. She is a mature, determined girl who is ready to face the challenges of life. In an era where media is dominated by shallow female portrayals, strong characters like Brenna are needed. The author has also been successful in portraying the futility of war. The youth of the world need to realize that we do not own land water and air and therefore fighting over these resources will ultimately lead to the destruction of mankind.

                          The only thing missing from this book was the lack of focus on the other characters. I would have loved to read more about Nixie and Kyle. All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. The YA fantasy genre needs more books of this kind.