Thursday, 28 January 2016

The Importance of Being Earnest - Oscar Wilde | Spoiler Free

*All Book Reviews on this blog are spoiler free.*
“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” – Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest.

The Importance of Being Earnest unlike other books I’ve read so far is a play with 3 acts. The first act is set in London and other two in the countryside. The Importance of Being Earnest begins when Jack Worthing visits Algernon. Jack Worthing lives in the country but when he is in the city, he goes by the name of Ernest. Jack wishes to be engaged to Gwendolen who knows him as Ernest. Jack is also the guardian of Cecily who is under the impression that Ernest is Jack’s brother. When Jack’s two worlds collide and Algernon is thrown into the mix, as you can imagine what follows is a hilarious comedy of errors. 

The play is rather short and can be finished in two or three sittings, depending from person to person. The language is fairly easy to understand. Oscar Wilde has showcased his implicit and very unique sense of humor in this play with phrases like ‘Divorces are made in heaven’, clearly a take on the renowned ‘Marriages are made in heaven’. 

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman | Spoiler Free

*All Book Reviews on this blog are spoiler free.*

"Daisy looked up at him with the kind of expression that Jesus might have given someone who had just explained that he was probably allergic to bread and fishes, so could he possibly do him a quick chicken salad..." - Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman is the story of Fat Charlie and Spider, children of the trickster god Anansi who originates from West African folklore. In present day Florida, Anansi goes by the name of Mr. Nancy and by general consensus, is a very charming man. However right at the beginning of the story Mr. Nancy dies due to a heart attack and hence turns the life of Fat Charlie upside down. 

Fat Charlie is not actually fat and is the most anti-hero protagonist I’ve read. Before his brother Spider walks into his life (and for quite some time even after) he is, to summarise in a word, boring. Not necessarily because nothing interesting happens in his life but also because he doesn’t seem to want more from his life.

One day, upon discovering that he has a god brother, he decides to reach out and like most stories, this is where everything goes to hell. His brother slowly takes over his life like a case of evil twins. Spider, his brother, is the epitome of cool. He is the literal opposite of everything Fat Charlie has wanted to be. 

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

I am Malala - Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb | Spoiler Free

*All Book Reviews on this blog are spoiler free*

“My father used to say, ‘I will protect your freedom, Malala. Carry on with your dreams.’” – Ziauddin Yousafzai, I am Malala. 

Prior to reading this book, I knew Malala Yousafzai as the 15 year old girl who was shot for wanting an education, as the youngest nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, as the girl who addressed the U.N but upon reading this book I have come to realise that it was simply a small chapter in her story. And that is perhaps precisely why everyone should read ‘I am Malala’. Although it is only fair that I warn you that this book contains explicit violence and perhaps children under 15 shouldn’t read it just yet. 

‘I am Malala’ is the autobiography of Malala Yousafzai co-written with Christina Lamb, a British foreign correspondent. The book focuses primarily on the goals of Malala Yousafzai and her faher Ziauddin Yousafzai that is education for all children, especially girls and an emphasis on awareness and the perils of ignorance. 

I don’t usually talk about book covers in my reviews but I am going to spare a moment this time because Malala’s face on the book cover, a pink scarf draped around her head is an act of defiance. But even more eye catching is a lingering smile that reaches her eyes; it’s a kind smile. Her smile used to be even livelier before the shooting affected her facial nerves. She was smiling and laughing, running a mental list of things she needed to revise before her exam when a strange man climbed on her school bus and asked who Malala is. She was shot before she could respond but now she has laid her story bare for the world to see.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Angels and Demons - Dan Brown | Spoiler Free

*All Book Reviews on this blog are spoiler free.*

“Show me proof there is a God, you say. I say use your telescopes to look to the heavens, and tell me how there could not be a God!” – Dan Brown, Angels and Demons.

‘Angels and Demons’ is my first venture into Dan Brown’s works. Over the years I have heard a lot of praise for him and so accordingly I set my expectations higher. ‘Angels and Demons’ is a good story but Dan Brown did not meet the bar in all aspects. 

‘Angels and Demons’ is the first book in the series involving the adventures of Robert Langdon, a professor of religious symbols at Harvard. The book spans over the course of 24 hours during which Langdon goes from disbelieving in the ‘illuminati’ to decoding symbols across Rome in order to save the Vatican City. It begins with Robert Langdon receiving a phone call in the middle of the night. As it turns out the Vatican City is sitting on a ticking bomb placed by an ancient brotherhood called the ‘illuminati’ who have been against the idea of religion and it is up to Langdon and his expertise in the matter to save the city, which is not a good idea given that he is at the end of the day a professor at Harvard.