Three books and counting. Its been a long time since I went on a reading spree and if you include the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, His dark Materials series and part of the Sherlock Holmes series and that counts for quite a bit this year. Here’s my take on a couple of these books
The Hobbit – This book, grabbed from Blossoms at a steal for the price, brought back memories of those fantasy tales from the great book of fairy tales from my childhood. I don’t remember having touched a fantasy novel since those fairy tales of my childhood and I approached Tolkien’s Hobbit with the expectation that this was the prequel to the successful Lord of the Rings series that I hadn’t read yet (another series stagnating in my cupboard back in Mangalore).
J.R.R. Tolkien‘s ‘The Hobbit’ is a delightful adventure story. This is as simple an explanation as I can give for this tale. There are quite a few events within this straightforward story that would play a larger role in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ (LOTR) series later (I know this from the movie, btw I have only watched the first part). Adventurous, humourous, witty at the same time a tale that’s extremely original (even with the dragons, goblins, elves and dwarves). It’s a quick read and the story flows through extremely quickly, in fact the adventure starts almost immediately without allowing the protagonist, Bilbo Baggins to settle down. And of course there’s the first reference to the precioussssssssss Gollum. First time readers and those familiar with the movie and LOTR watch out for this creepy cameo.
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – This book comes with an extremely powerful message that comes across through the words and thoughts of a a normal nine-year-old kid. I heard of this title a couple of years back and thought it was just another childrens book about some magic pyjamas that helped the kid fly away into some fantasy garden. But a first glimpse of the book cover immediately gave the impression of something more serious and near to home.
John Boyne is a young author and the simplicity with which he conveys everyday situations in the life of young Bruno during a great war is something that must be admired. This is storytelling at its best with a much deeper meaning etched in every page of the book. The magnitude of what’s happening around the protagonists hits you, even though you immediately gauge the situation from page 1 onwards. We know the facts of what’s happening but still… The book is a page turner and a quick read. Without giving too much away, the friendship described in this novel is touching and so is the sad suffering of the people around Bruno. This is a book that cannot be ignored and even though dealing with childhood innocence, I am sure there would be too many disturbing questions asked if a kid in the family happened to read this. The book flows beautifully till the ending which will leave the reader stunned. I can’t help being a spoilsport to myself at times and I had read the Wikipedia entry to the film and came across the ending there. That hardly took any sheen off the book when I read it.