Book Review: Seven Must Read Nature Stories, by Ruskin Bond

I mentioned in one of my earlier posts about some eBooks being there now which you can read in ten or fifteen minutes at most. It was nice to see a couple of books from Ruskin Bond in that list too. I have always admired the writing of Ruskin Bond. It’s simple writing that anyone can follow and enjoy reading.

Continue reading “Book Review: Seven Must Read Nature Stories, by Ruskin Bond”

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Book Review: Ruskin Bond’s Book of Verse

ruskin_bond_book_of_verse

About the author:
An Indian author of British descent, Ruskin Bond has written over a hundred short stories, essays, novels and more than thirty books for children. For his book of short stories, “Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra”, he was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1992. For his contributions to children’s literature, he was awarded the Padma Shri in 1999.

My thoughts on the book:
In the opinion of this little poet, the power that a verse of poetry holds is profound. We write to relieve ourselves of a little mind weight, the thoughts flowing from heart to paper (or document, as the case may be). However, there seems to be an idea going around that poetry must always be full of depth, going through many layers to present its case. I disagree with that idea. Poetry can be as simple and direct as the heart that writers it, thinks it and beats its words.

Ruskin Bond’s poetry is refreshing. It brings out what it wants to, and doesn’t pretend to have depth. It is simple, yet very soulful. It inspires, and provokes thought, and in its words, makes me escape from the tiredness of life, and from the feeling of being trapped without being able to write.

From the book, I take the example of the poem “Snail”. So often we give up on life’s journey halfway, knowing and seeing the obstacles that are in our way. The poet looks at the snail, its slow journey as it crosses a busy road full of vehicles, knowing and understanding that it might get squashed under a wheel. But the creature moves onward, one inch at a time, till it reaches the destination. The poet salutes the willpower of the snail, at the same time bringing out that we can take a lesson from that willpower as well.

There is a lovely poem about life on the back cover itself. This shows that life is dependent, part of another life no matter how independent it may seem. The leaf which is part of the tree, the tree which is part of a mountain side, and the mountain which comes out from the sea… and the sea like a raindrop in God’s hands! I think it’s one of the best poems I’ve read recently in print.

It always surprises me to see haiku in a poetry collection and a pleasant surprise at that. Here, the poet shares some haiku in the Kanshicho form of haiku, where it isn’t limited by syllables. From his set, I liked the one of the petunias the most.

To pull off humor in writing is never easy. To do it in verse is a little more difficult. The poet does it here with some moments of brilliance. I liked the one about believing in ghosts the most. It showed that what we can see is not always what is true.

What I liked in this collection of verse is the simplicity in presentation, which leaves the reader still mesmerized after the read. The cover page design is also appealing, as is the verse on the back cover. The poems inspire verse and to a poet, can be very valuable.

Though some poems did not appeal, most of the collection does. A delight to read, indeed.


Rated a 9/10
Rated a 9/10

Book details:
Title: Ruskin Bond’s Book of Verse
Author: Ruskin Bond
ISBN: 9780143102403
Genre: Poetry
Publishers: Penguin Books India
Price: INR. 199

 


The book is a personal copy. The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.


Shared with the Indian Quills at Tales Pensieve.


(April 22nd, 2013)

Book Review: The Room on the Roof and Vagrants in the Valley, by Ruskin Bond

About the author:
An Indian author of British descent, Ruskin Bond has written over a hundred short stories, essays, novels and more than thirty books for children. For his book of short stories, “Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra”, he was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1992. For his contributions to children’s literature, he was awarded the Padma Shri in 1999.

Impressions off the back:
The story of a young boy seeking adventure, getting tired of the rules and restrictions put at home. Over the two novels, I think the boy will find friendship too. I’m eager to begin, for this story seems to be like one of any teenager. I can relate with the thought of breaking free and seeking adventure. I’ve been down that road before.

My thoughts on the book:
The name Ruskin Bond is quite famous in Indian literature. I’m sure there are lots of people who have read his work and loved it a lot. For me, this book was the first step into the world of this author. And I must say I’m quite delighted.

The book has two novels, the first one is The Room on the Roof, and the second, Vagrants in the Valley is the sequel to the first.

In the first book, we are introduced to Rusty, a sixteen year old boy from the Anglo-Indian community. Rusty is an introvert, not very talkative or wanting to make friends outside. He’s the center of attention in his community, but is a very lonely boy, lost in his own world of fantasies and dreams. On his way back home, he enjoys the light rain that falls around him.

He is hailed by another young boy, Somi. As the rain gets heavier, Somi asks Rusty to hop on to his bicycle. They are joined by two more, and from there begins a new friendship. Rusty, who previously shied away from making friends, suddenly finds himself happy in the company of Somi, and others like Ranbir and Suri. In the elation of friendship, Rusty even finds himself being unusually brave, and raising his voice against his guardian, Mr. Harrison, and running away from home.

The adventure then begins for the young boy, as for the first time, he is forced to fend for himself, find work and stay by himself. He finds another friend in Kishen, and falls in love. When his friends leave the town, he feels lonely and follows them, finding more adventure.

The second book is the sequel to the first, and shows the return journey of Rusty to Dehra. He finds his guardian is no longer at Dehra, and his old lodgings have been given away to someone else. Once again, he finds adventure. When his friends still have not returned, he finds new friends and seeks relatives he’s previously not known or met. Whereas the first novel is more about the feelings of the adolescent heart – the thirst for adventure, the first crush etc. – the second one is also about the characters finding maturity and understanding life’s little nuances too.

Overall impressions:
These were the first two novels written by Ruskin Bond. I thoroughly enjoyed both, and it was a refreshing read. Like I expected before, I could relate to the thirst for adventure in that age, especially given the restrictions that were imposed on his life style by his guardian. A read to bring a smile to your face, not that it is a humor novel, but the characters with their life will make you smile just thinking at times, “If only life was like that”.


A rating of 8/10
A rating of 8/10

Book Details:
Title: The Room on the Roof / Vagrants in the Valley
Author: Ruskin Bond
Genre: Children’s Fiction
ISBN: 978-0-140-23959-1
Publishers: Penguin India
Price: INR 275

 
 


The book is a personal copy. The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.


Also shared with the First Reads challenge at b00k r3vi3ws and Indian Quills at Tales Pensieve.


(February 12th, 2013)