Book Review: The Tales of Beedle Bard

The 1st book of the Harry Potter series written by JK Rowling was published in 1997 and the 7th was published in 2007. The 8th addition in the main series was a play script which was published last year. In between Rowling wrote various book from the Potter series and others. ‘The Tales of Beedle Bard’ is one of them. I read this book a few months ago and wanted to write a review for a long time.

About the book:

All the potter fans know about this book. Professor Dumbeldore gives his copy of the book to Hermoine Granger in ‘The Deathly Hollow’. Every child from the magic family knows this book and its stories as every muggle knows the stories of Snow White or Peter Pan. Hermoine’s copy is the one in which Dumbledore has made notes and some sketches. The copy I got from Amazon was the same.

The book is of just 108 pages with a big type font which makes it a day’s read. But like any other Harry Potter book, you can read it millions of times and you won’t get bored.

The Stories:

The book comprises 5 stories: The Wizard and The Hopping Pot; The Fountain of Fair Fortune; The Warlocks Hairy Heart; Babbity Rabbity and her Cackling Stump; The Tale of The Three Brothers. In addition it also has a personal note by Dumbledore and at the end a personal message from Georgette Mulheir, Chief Executive of Lumos.

The protagonists of these stories: Asha, Athelda, Amata, Babbity Rabbity and the youngest bother are the real life heroes. They are more real and easy to relate than our regular fairy tale heroes like Peter Pan and the Beast. These protagonists take their faith in their own hands instead of waiting for someone else to come and change their destiny.

In the stories of muggle, ordinary people get in trouble and magic helps them out (Fairy Godmother for Cinderella; true love’s kiss for Snow White). But here in these stories, people with magic get into trouble and how they solve their problems with magic and great determination is portrayed aptly.

Every time you read a story, you find something new. The stories and their plot points are so different for an Indian reader, that it changes our perspective in terms of what we should read and what not. The writing style is so rich and unique that it enhances our quest to read better content.

Though we have read and seen ‘The Tale of Three Brothers’ in Harry Potter and Deathly Hollows book and movie, actually reading the story adds many facades to our imagination.

Each story comes with a high moral aspect and still it does not bore us.

Dumbledore’s Notes:

Magic comes with a price. And Dumbledore’s notes in the book try to explain the same to us. Dumbledore has compared his thoughts on the given story and the muggle world. He has made the stories easier to understand for the muggles. Along with Dumbledore’s notes, Rowling has given footnotes on some occasions for the magic world vocabulary.

The Final Word:

Do I need to say anything? Yes, buy the copy from the link below and read it ASAP.

 

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Book Review: The Palace of Illusions

After taking a long time, 5-10 pager per day, I finally finished reading The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. The book is super interesting and those who have ample amount of time in their hands, can finish it off in merely 2-3 days (unlike me as it took me a month). Before recommending the book to any other person, I thought of sharing my views about the writing, story, chapters, characters and the perspective of the book.

The Language:

This is the first book I read by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. The English is very simple yet rich. Not once I had to stop reading and grab a dictionary. So all those people who want to improve their English or trying to get hold on over all English reading, this book is a go for you. She has also incorporated some Hindi words (you can call those proper nouns) which gives you a very familiar feeling while reading.

The book has also been translated in Marathi, Gujarati and Hindi but I read the original English copy.

The Story:

A few years back, I read the whole Mahabharata and my heart told me to be on the side of Kauravas. Pandavas and Kauravas both sides were bad, nasty, they both broke the rules of the great battle, both were selfish and both were equally wrong yet right. It’s all about our perspective, as how we see the story. I hate Pandavas, Draupadi, Kunti and most importantly Krishna for the part they played in the great battle. And I believe that Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni has given the exact words for my feelings.

The book is like the memoirs of Draupadi. Banerjee has written beautifully about the emotions and traumas Draupadi faces from the moment she is born. Her Draupadi is selfish, ruthless, narcissist woman with high temper. Her confused emotions for Karna are so apt that even I shred few tears for him while reading.

Mahabharata is a very big canvas and writing it from one person’s perspective is a very difficult task. But Banerjee has re-written the story beautifully. But still those who are absolutely blank about Mahabharata or those who know only majors characters of Mahabharata or those who are unaware of the other related stories with Mahabharata (like the story of Yadu clan) can get lost in the pages. The story lacks at points where the subsidiary stories of Mahabharata are mentioned slightly. There are chances that the readers might not understand what they just read or its significance.

The Chapters:

Banerjee has divided her story aptly in many chapters. The titles of the chapters are of not more than one or two words. She takes the story further the Mahabharata war. Till then each chapter holds a balanced equation of philosophy, love, hatred, past stories, character introductions, drama and well thought emotional levels. But after the Mahabharata war, the chapters take a philosophical turn. In the whole book Draupadi uses the words like I and We to tell her story but in last few chapters it becomes too much of ‘I’.

I know it’s Draupadi’s perspective, her story and her emotions but that much of narcissism bored me a little bit. I literally glanced through the pages after the Mahabharata war and jumped to the last chapter.

The Characters:

The protagonist Draupadi (who I think is also the antagonist if you get into the philosophy) is portrayed perfectly by Banerjee. She is exactly what I had always thought of. And what can I say about Karna? Like many people even I used to feel pity for Karna, but as I started reading Banerjee’s Karna I fell in love with him. Her Karna acts and talks when necessary, he is calm and composed, he is strong yet foolishly emotional. I was able to put faces on Pandavas, Kauravas, Kunti, Bhishma, Dhritarashtra, Drupad and others as I kept reading.

Even the secondary characters like the people of Hastinapur, Draupadi’s maids, their servants, the widows of the soldiers and the animals of Nakul-Sahadev were written with great visual detailing.

The Locations:

The story covers many palaces, forests, huts and battle grounds in the book. The description of The Palace of Illusions is worth a read. I won’t write much about the locations here and would recommend you to read those in the book to avoid *spoilers*.

The Final Word:

Yes you should definitely read this book. It’s a good travel or weekend read. But before reading, make sure that you know a little bit about Mahabharata or keep the internet close to Google the story or characters which you don’t know.

You can buy the book from Amazon:

Remembering Sidney Sheldon

Drinking a glass of water or breathing fresh air, both are very natural things we do every day, so is sex. Though many of us don’t do it every day or do it after a certain age, sex has always been a very important, most discussed and gossiped subject according to my knowledge. Though we live in 21st century, sex is still considered as a taboo to talk about. We can’t discuss sex openly or with our parents or before marriage. But slowly the picture is changing. But I am not gonna write about the changes I am gonna write about the writings about sex before the changes. Writings by Sidney Sheldon. Most of Sidney Sheldon’s writings come from the late 20th century. He was known for his screen as well as fiction writings. Considered to be the favorite writer of women, Sidney Sheldon still holds the record of being seventh best selling fiction writer of all time.

sidney sheldon.
Sidney Sheldon

My friend gave me a book by Sidney when I was 18. I was trying to improve my English so I wanted to read something which has simple language and easy words. I started reading the book and then I never looked back. I read all his novels within a month. It was not only about the thriller, the story, the characters but also the sex scenes which engaged me.

In Sidney’s books, women were the central character. But they were not dumb beauties. He portrayed them as beautiful, smart, determined, enthusiastic, optimistic, intelligent, survivor, hopeful, feminine,  logical, practical (though sometimes they choose their heart instead of their head) and of course extremely sexy.  These women were path breaking as they were totally different from the stereo typed women portrayed by many writers then and now.

The women and their lovers or the men with whom Sidney portrayed the sex scenes were very easy to imagine. As I said earlier, his words were very easy and written in such a way that one will relate to it easily. His books and sex scenes are like drugs. You want to read more and more. If you are finished reading, you will go back and read again and enjoy more. The scenes he wrote never felt greasy or sweaty or boring. Many times the orgasms women got through reading these scenes were more pleasing than actual sex. It paved a way for women who never had sex or never had good sex. Even a line on kissing, gives you goose bumps.

Gently he took her in his arms, and they kissed.

(The Other Side of Midnight)

The ultimate guilty pleasure, rush of emotions flowing from your veins, the sweet blush on hot cheek bones, wrinkles on the bed spread made by the legs were nothing but the results of reading Sidney Sheldon. There is nothing new or different in sex. It’s all about how badly you want it, how you make your partner feel while having sex or performing the foreplay, do you close your eyes while kissing or not, do you feel the pleasant pleasure of satisfaction instead of sweat on your bodies. Sidney’s sex scenes gave answers to all these questions. He didn’t write something different or unusual, he wrote what was right. You don’t need a partner to feel the tingling down there while you read his scenes but you surely feel the need of one after reading his scenes.

the other side of midnight

She looked at him, puzzled, and opened her mouth ask him what he meant, but he put his lips on hers and his hands began to move down her body, gently exploring, and she forgot everything except what was to her, her whole consciousness concern-on one part of her body, feeling him try to enter hard and pulsing, forcing, an instant of sharp, expected pain, then sliding in, moving faster and fast-an alien body in her body, plunging deep inside a, moving with a rhythm that grew more and more attic, and he said, “Are you ready?” She was not sure what she was supposed to be ready for, but she  said, “Yes,” and suddenly he cried, “Oh, Cathy!” and made one last sporadic thrust and lay still on top of her. And it was all over, and he was saying “Was it wonderful for you?” and she said, “Yes, it was wonderful,” and he said, “It gets better as it goes along,” and she was filled with joy that she was able to bring him this; happiness, and she tried not to worry about what a disappointment  it had been.

(The Other Side of Midnight)

It’s never a disappointment. Many people imagine sex or as they call it ‘making love’ with candles and flowers around, with a goodie goodie romantic satire. But in reality it’s more fierce and aggressive. One can feel this aggression in Sidney’s writings. Even the words like organs, virgina come very smoothly in his writings. They don’t feel overrated or dark.

His organ began to grow hard in her hand.

(The Other Side of Midnight)

I find reading Sidney’s sex scenes much better than watching porn. You can imagine yourself easily, put yourself with your crush, stop whenever you feel like and start again when you get the orgasms. You don’t have to watch greasy hairy men having sex with women will XXX sized boobs and fake orgasms. The most natural thing comes in the most natural way.

Many times Sidney goes beyond sex. The love, romance and cuddling after sex is similar in many ways with your real life.

She lay in his arms, letting the sound of his voice wash over her, comforting her, and she thought This is what is important, being together as two human beings, loving and sharing each other.

(The Other Side of Midnight)

As I mentioned earlier, there is nothing new or different in sex. It’s all about your chemistry with your partner. That’s why Sidney Sheldon is never outdated. He has been popular since 4 decades and will be popular as long as the readers and orgasms will be alive.

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