Book Review : The Hobbit By J.R.R Tolkien

An unlikely hero,a powerful friend,group of travelers,dangerous adventures,dragon,strange creatures….sounds interesting right?

Do you want to read a book which has all the above mentioned ingredients,but is still not complicated : The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien offers all ,in reasonable number of pages.

The Hobbit

The story is set in Shire( in Middle Earth ) – and starts at Hobbiton village.Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who loves good food,comfort of his home and his usual luxuries.He is sitting and smoking while he spots a tall old man with a staff.The old man introduces himself as Gandalf and then informs Bilbo :

I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it’s very difficult to find anyone.

Note: If you want to read about the races and Middle earth people – read this.

Bilbo remembers that Gandalf has created fireworks during holidays at hobbiton.Bilbo refuses but invites Gandalf for a tea.Next day door bell rings and Bilbo reaches the door,but it is not Gandalf who he sees, and soon his house is crowded with 13 dwarves and Gandalf.Now he learns that Thorin (Leader of dwarves team) wants to reclaim his gold which rightfully belongs to him from a dragon named Smaug and they would travel to Misty Mountains to do so.

I will leave the rest for you to discover as you read the book.For your information this book serves as a prequel to the mighty Lord Of the Rings (LOTR) Trilogy written by J R R Tolkien.LOTR was huge in scope and much complicated( I read LOTR #1 and watched movie trilogy) – The Hobbit is rather simplistic in its approach but consistently entertaining.

It is as much about the friendship between Bilbo,Gandalf,dwarves as it is about how an unlikely hero Bilbo does things he never imagined and from a burglar he becomes the leader of the pack.

The book is packed with action,adventure,surprises,riddles and even songs,poetry.There are lot of fascinating characters and amazing events which keeps the reader engaged thoroughly.The villains are superb and evil – the hero simple,gentle and courageous.As a reader we discover how luck,chance and occasional courage can sometimes set you for an adventure of a lifetime and transform you into a hero.

Some outstanding scenes from the book :

  • Bilbo gets the ring and meets a weird creature Gollum (one of the best characters for sure) – and the riddle game between them (Watch the movie and read my review).
  • The team v/s the ORCS ( another set of villains)
  • Bilbo’s first meeting with Smaug the dragon.
  • And many more 🙂

Few amazing lines i loved and i am sure you will too once you are done reading the book:

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.

You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.

Gandalf thought of most things; and though he could not do everything, he could do a great deal for friends in a tight corner.

Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Hats off to J.R.R Tolkien for writing such entertaining,thrilling story with wonderful characters.

If you are looking for a book which children and adults can read and enjoy alike – look no further this is an adventure book you must read.

Rating : 5/5

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Books · Life and Words

3 Reasons :Why Reading Is Fun

That’s the thing about books.They let you travel without moving your feet ― Jhumpa Lahiri

For me world was always full of sports and movies.As a kid i watched movies with my parents and with time i developed a taste about what i liked and disliked.

I read a lot of comics – Phantom,and few regular hindi comics – Chacha Chaudhary,Nagraj,Super Commando Dhruv,Doga from Raj Comics,Angaara,Fighter Toads(a sweet ripoff of TNMT) and i enjoyed them a lot – sometimes i miss those comics days a lot.

Nagraj in Promotional art
Nagraj in Promotional art (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But as time passed i literally quit reading books – you might want to ask what happened ? well Internet happened.

Due to this blogging explosion –  i started reading blogs and i read a lot of them – everyday without fail – but never really thought about reading novels.One of my buddies Prashant Sable once asked me over one of our endless discussions on movies,music,stories –

Why don’t you try reading books?

I requested him to suggest something different- he smiled and handed me – Gang leader for a day by Sudhir Venkatesh and asked me to read it while i was traveling back home. I read it and somehow it just kept me glued – though it was more like a thesis/research than a novel – i read it and thanked him.

As i reached home  i spotted The Alchemist lying on the shelf and asked my sister if it was a good read – she said yeah go for it – in next 2 days i was done reading it too.What i am coming to is that i enjoy reading – all i needed was a push towards the world of words.

Keep reading books, but remember that a book is only a book, and you should learn to think for yourself –Maxim Gorky

My goal is to read – learn – apply and repeat the process. It is about reading more wonderful stories (along with all the movies i watch).

There are various reasons why reading is fun and entertaining for me – i am listing 3 reasons below :

  1. Creating a world of your own : While reading a story you read the descriptions,settings and characters but you imagine it all by yourself –  so for every story you read – you imagine a world of your own –  and since you are the creator of this world – the experience is more fulfilling.
  2.  Experiencing a different point of view : While reading you might find situations you encountered in your life but the author explains it in a totally different manner – forcing you to think and interpret it a way you are not used to.
  3. A Good book keeps me away from internet : Even if it is for few minutes trust me this is a big one – I read at night everyday – it can be a single page or 50 pages and it cuts some time away from internet.

Few advantages of reading also include :

  • Improved concentration as it makes you sit(sometimes you end up lying) at one place and focus on just that page.
  • It also improves vocabulary and it helps in improving writing too.
  • It is a good way to reduce stress and get a good sleep.(I am sure you remember as soon as we were asked read our textbooks the magical sleep took over 🙂 )

I agree to the quote mentioned below  :

A book is a gift you can open again and again ― Garrison Keillor

I now consider reading books ( i read slowly – 1-50 pages a day) a form of entertainment which allows me to take breaks and resume it when i like it (yes one can do that with movies too – but movies remain my first love and once i start – i finish the movie 🙂 ).

However this is not to say that i am always surrounded by books – this is an indicator that i have slowly started appreciating books and the power of written word(Books or eBooks).

Having said that i still enjoy reading blogs but i have kept a list of selected few.

Books i read recently : Immortals of Meluha,The Great Gatsby and How I Braved Anu Aunty & Co-Founded A Million Dollar Company.

Your Thoughts :

I am well aware that there are lots of readers, book experts in my circle and there might be few readers who know a lot more than me about books. I request and encourage you to suggest more books, share your experiences and stories.

Books · Movie Reviews · Uncategorized

Movie Review : The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (HFR 3D)

The Hobbit is the prequel to the Lord of the Rings(LOTR) written by J.R.R. Tolkien.

These books are insanely famous and considered a must read for all fantasy/adventure readers.

Director Peter Jackson gave us Lord of the Rings (part1,part2,part3) and created something so magical that personally i consider LOTR trilogy the greatest fantasy series ever made. As soon as the Hobbit was announced – so was its HFR (high frame rate controversy) and later the trilogy.

Hobbit (i bought the book and read 6 chapters of it) is a single book and it was announced as a trilogy,and not a single movie.

Needless to say everyone was doubtful about the trilogy announcement.

I watched The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey(IMDB) in HFR 3D as Peter Jackson shot it and recommended – i can start with saying – It is outstanding.

This part covers first 6 chapters of the book and the conversion on-screen is spectacular.

Bilbo Baggins – the hobbit is played by (Martin Freeman) is asked by Gandalf to join the group of dwarfs for an unexpected journey to the Lonely Mountain to reclaim a their stolen mountain home from a dragon named Smaug.

So the journey starts with :

Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ere break of day
To seek the pale enchanted gold.

The movie starts off slow;setting up the mood and then as the events are placed – its nothing short of a spectacle.

If you loved LOTR – you must love this too and by the time it reaches the end, one is left begging for more :).

The direction is superb and director Peter Jackson knows his craft very well.The casting is perfect and this movie, start of a fantastic trilogy. Then we have THE Gollum – one of the most fascinating characters ever created on-screen( i am really sure about this) – the moment Gollum appears on the screen – every minute with this character is a treat to watch on screen – just out of the world – those minutes with Gollum.

CG depiction of Gollum created by Weta Digital...
CG depiction of Gollum created by Weta Digital for the Lord of the Rings film trilogy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now a note about HFR and negative reviews (additional links below) : The movie looks gorgeous in 48 frames/sec ,the action scenes and dark scenes look very crisp in 3D – yes it looks very real but you feel as if you are on journey with the characters –  and probably the length can be considered as a negative but not so much to take any credit away.
So if you love clarity( we live in the world of High Definition content anyways) – do not miss it.

Negative reviews on sites : Be rest assured about one thing – these reviewers made up their mind way before watching the movie and they were all out to shoot this one down – trust me go watch it yourself – if you liked LOTR there is nothing to hate about Hobbit – it’s just great film-making – few might find it slow in the start  but you will not regret when the movie ends.Cinematography and CGI is jaw dropping and the background score perfect to set you up in the mood.

Action : there is plenty to keep you entertained and is very well done – the beasts,sword fights,mountains,middle earth, you name it you have it – and it looks very cool in HFR.

Do yourself a favor and watch this on big screen – its brilliant.

Eagerly waiting for the next part – Hats off to J.R.R. Tolkien for writing this fantastic story and Peter Jackson for bringing the movie to screen.

Rating : Must watch.

Books · Movie Reviews

Movie Review: Life of Pi (IMAX 3D)

Based on the Booker price winner book of the same name by Yann Martel(GoodReads) – this is one movie – critics were skeptical about and so were the book lovers.
Ang Lee director of Crouching tiger,Hidden Dragon(imdb) and BrokeBack Mountain(imdb) had a difficult task on his hand ,but everyone also knew his caliber for delivering excellent drama.

On the surface – this is the story of Pi patel and his journey across pacific ocean with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker,after being ship wrecked and left in a boat.
This story is about the survival instinct we humans posses ,also it is a story about faith in God and self discovery.

Director Ang Lee not only gets the drama right,his vision and visuals he brings to us are outstanding,would be an understatement.
This movie is visually so stunning that you literally are sucked into the world of sea,pi and Richard Parker.I watched it in IMAX 3D and it was worth every penny spent.

Without giving any details – Older Pi played by Irfan Khan is narrating his story to a writer and claims the story will make the writer believe in God.Pi as a kid is bookish by nature and also wants to embrace 3 religions – Hinduism,Islam and Christianity.Pi and his family in India are moving to Canada for a better life on a Japanese ship along with zoo animals,a storm destroys everything leaving young pi,a zebra,hyena,orangutan and the tiger Richard Parker.

Survival of the fittest holds good here too and Pi survives in the ocean with Richard Parker for 227 days and lives to tell the story.On being found by Japanese authorities,they question him about the ship sinking and he narrates the whole story to them,at this point there is a twist and it’s yours to experience.It depends on what your interpretation of the story/movie is ;it will differ from viewer to viewer.With a dose of spirituality,philosophy,human’s survival instinct and God theme it makes a compelling watch on big screen.

You have to watch the visuals in IMAX 3D (i insist) to see the fantastic world Ang Lee has created.
Wonderfully directed and brilliantly visualized and brought on screen, and performances by both Pi’s Irfan Khan and Suraj and last not the least Richard Parker.
Go for it watch on it big screen – it’s a must watch.

5 /5 for visuals.
4/5 for direction and performances.

Books · Movie Reviews

Book to Movie : The Kite Runner

There is a way to be good again…

And the novel starts – but as most of you know me – this post might come as a surprise to you.

Yes i am more of a movie person – but once in a while i read and hence the post.

As i started reading the book, i also found out that i had the movie by the same name.The very moment i decided to read the novel and then watch the movie and check how the adaptation turned out.

The Kite Runner is written by Khaled Hosseini and it tells the story of Amir and his servant and friend Hassan. The story is set in Afghanistan – starts from Kabul and then moves to US,Pakistan and circles back to Kabul and US.

Cover Picture of the novel
Cover Picture of the novel

The story is as much about Amir and Hassan’s friendship,betrayal and family secrets,as it is about the Afghanistan’s disastrous events – Soviet invasion, and then refugees going to Pakistan and US for better life, also describing the take over by Taliban.

Without giving too much details in here – reading this novel is smooth sailing till 100 odd pages and rest assured you will like the characters as well.As the story moves it slows down and drags a bit – but once you get past 180 pages it get its grip back again.

There are repetitions as well – but mostly the descriptions and writing is good – but you cannot help realize that this is something which can be made into a movie.

As far as the novel goes i read it – at a slow pace and i would like to say i do not regret reading it.

Novel has some really amazing,well written lines -listed below are some of the bests line i liked  from the novel :

“For you, a thousand times over” (you will remember this line)

“There is only one sin. and that is theft… when you tell a lie, you steal someones right to the truth.”

“it always hurts more to have and lose than to not have in the first place.”

“There are a lot of children in Afghanistan, but little childhood.”

“Time can be a greedy thing-sometimes it steals the details for itself.”

“After everything he’d built, planned, fought for, fretted over, dreamed of, this was the summation of his life; one disappointing son and two suitcases.”

There are many more – for this post the above lines would do.

About the movie by the same name : the movie length seems perfect and the director has carefully chosen the scenes from novel to be included in movie.The acting is good and so is the direction.

This is not the usual movie review like the others i did on this blog – this review has more to do with how the novel was adapted.
Book expands more into the relationship between Amir,Hassan,Amir’s Baba and other characters and yes the movie is not as detailed as the book – but i would not blame it as i think if they did – length of the movie would have suffered.

Recommendation : You can go through it once – read the book or watch the movie as it is not a fun story, but if you choose to do both – read the book first.

Book Rating :4 stars (Recommended for anyone who can handle Drama)

Movie Rating : 4 stars(if you did not read the novel) –  3.5 stars (if you read the novel)