The Book: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Age Group: Ageless! Get an abridged version for children, and the original for adults!
The Gist: An old and bitter man named Ebenezer Scrooge, learns the true meaning of Christmas. Scrooge is visited by three ghosts who take him on a journey through Christmas in the past, present, and future.
The Why: A poignant lesson on how to live a fulfilling and happy life, and the true meaning of Christmas!
Age Group: 6 onwards
The Gist: A non-fiction book about Christmas traditions in different places around the world.
The Why: Christmas is much more than gifts and Santa…and it is not celebrated in the same way everywhere. This book has beautiful pictures and simple text to bring out the different ways of celebrating Christmas.
Age Group: 4-9 years
The Gist: Grinch is a nasty creature with ‘a heart two sizes too small’. Now, he hates Christmas and he wants to steal Christmas. Will he succeed? Or, is there something else in store for him?
The Why: Hilarious rhymes and beautiful illustrations tell the tale about what Christmas really means. This is a classic that has been entertaining generations of children!
Age Group: 2 – 5 years
The Gist: Santa goes off to deliver presents for Christmas. But, poor Bear is left behind. Will he make it to Tom’s house by the morning?
The Why: The book has witty rhymes and lovely illustrations as it follows the story of Bear’s adventures to Tom’s house. The pop-up element is great fun for kids. In addition, they can lift flaps and there are pull-outs as well. Children will have a lot of fun interacting with this book!
The Book: Enid Blyton’s Christmas Stories
Age Group: 6-10
The Gist: Enid Blyton needs no introduction. These short stories take one back to innocent times and pure celebrations in a world where children played out, there were no gadgets and all they had were adventures, good food and loads of fun!
The Why: Blyton’s stories are very simple but take the child into the true spirit of Christmas. As the children encounter their Blyton counterparts, they will hopefully absorb the magic of a simple but beautiful childhood…all wonderfully packaged in the spirit of Christmas!
They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But, let’s be honest; we’re all guilty of doing that at least once. The book cover should convey the tone and subject of the book and entice the reader to pick it up and give it a read. Recently, book cover designing has gained momentum, giving rise to some interesting book covers around the world. Here are a few favourites….
Not only does the name suggest that the book is about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but even the cover hints at the same. Rows of coloured beads, grouped neatly according to colour, gives the reader the idea that details play an important part in the story. Another interesting aspect of the cover is the last incomplete row which is sure to provoke those suffering from OCD. The cover is simple, yet impactful and successfully lures the reader towards the story.
Colourful, hand drawn and a hand written title make up the cover of this book. Although the book is about the journey to adulthood, its cartoonish cover quickly reassures the reader that the book is a light hearted look at the trials and tribulations of young adults. The book itself deviates from the standard black and white printed word and instead resorts to colourful images, hand drawn charts and tables that instantly attract the eye. The reader knows what to expect from the book and it delivers exactly that.
Although this is strictly a one dimensional cover, the positioning and perspective gives it a three dimensional feel. The hand drawn caricatures on a single lined paper, gives the reader an idea that this is the story of a young boy. Perhaps the most intriguing part of the cover is the raised pieces of paper that give it a refreshing 3D feel.
Featured on Buzzfeed’s Most Beautiful Covers list of 2014, Nobody is Ever Missing is the story of a woman’s struggle to find her life’s purpose. The cover depicts a woman slowly drowning in a pool of water revealing her struggle. The cover is divided into three parts, the first shows the woman floating on the surface, next showing the woman sinking lower and the final part showing the woman completely submerged in the water.
The cover is responsible for creating the first impression in the mind of the reader and is a prelude to what the reader can expect. Some book covers are very elaborate in terms of design and artwork, while some are minimalistic without revealing too much about the book. Either way, good book covers are crucial to the book’s marketing effort. What’s your favourite book cover?
For further reading on the topic of book covers…
Don’t miss Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Clothing of Books. It is a personal reflection about the art of the book jacket from the perspectives of both the reader and the writer….
Chanel is a name that needs no introduction. Even if you have not brought a single piece of luxury clothing, accessory or perfume from the brand, there is a fair chance that Chanel has influenced you. No other fashion icon probably made as much of a mark with her words as Coco Chanel. Coco Chanel quotes are so popular everywhere that Chanel is known for her fashion-philosophies as for her designs.
Of course, a lot of one-liners by Chanel have been lapped up not only by those who love words, but also those who love fashion. These are timeless style mantras that find their way into books and objects all the time.
Here is a look into some books about Coco Chanel as well as picks of objects that highlight her glorious legacy of style mantras! Yes, these Coco Chanel quotes are sure to brighten up your life-style!
A book on Coco Chanel quotes..a fashion bible
What should a woman be? Hear it from Chanel!
Sometimes fashion is an attitude…
A book that illustrates Chanel’s life with anecdotes and of course, the famous Coco Chanel Quotes.
Introducing Chanel to children
Let evergreen Coco Chanel quotes work their magic on you!
Ruskin Bond is one of the best loved authors today. Both children and adults equally enjoy books by Ruskin Bond. He is Anglo-Indian and has spent his childhood in India. He lived in Shimla, Jamnagar, Mussoorie and Dehradun, while he was in India. Indeed, scenes of life on hill-stations of the Himalayan ranges continue to permeate his writings. He was sent to London as a teenager, but got terribly homesick and thus returned to India. His first novel was “The Room On the Roof“, published when he was 21. The novel is partly based on the experiences at Dehra in his small rented room on the roof and his friends. He won the ‘John Llewellyn Rhys’ Prize that is awarded to British Commonwealth Writers who are under the age of 30 for this book. He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award for English writing in India for ‘Our Trees Still grows in Dehra’ in 1992. He has also received the Padma Shri in 1999 for his contributions to children’s literature. He now lives with his adopted family in Mussoorie.
Love for the mountain towns and descriptions of beautiful hills and landscapes of North India are a characteristic feature of his works. The beauty of Bond’s stories lie in their simplicity. He talks about simple people who one encounters in day to day life. His language is simple and highly readable. What is the best is probably his sense of humor.
He describes even sad events with a tinge of humor. The icing on the cake is that his characters are young with a naughty spark. They are “normal” people, with streaks of good and bad. The author must have been a mischief maker as a child too! Any child would immediately connect with the characters!
On reading his works, one gets a feeling that he has a deep understanding of the human mind and heart, especially of children. He is an Anglo-Indian, but yet, writes about India from an Indian perspective. If one reads his “autobiographies”, which are like leaves from his journals, they are very similar to his stories. He writes about what he experiences. Indeed, he is a master storyteller.
Bond has written numerous books and it is really not possible to enlist all the names! It is recommended that for younger children, you start with some of his short stories. Read the stories out to them and then encourage them to read the books by themselves. Some of these books also have illustrations which are an added attraction. The Parrot Who Wouldn’t Talk and Other Stories is one such example. “Book of Humor” is another book which has one in splits.
His books for teenagers are a little different. His teenage characters go through their own unique experiences and meet the most idiosyncratic people on their journey through life. The “Room on the Roof” and “Rusty comes home” is written keeping teenagers in mind. He has also written books for adults, and these are quite appropriate for teenagers too.
I would strongly recommend Looking for the Rainbow, a book that was published in 2017 when Bond turned 83. We have reviewed it on this site, and I believe that it is Ruskin Bond at his sensitive best! It is a book that is poignant and beautiful. It is meant for children but I would say that adults must read it as well. It is a memoir where he recalls his childhood and his relationship with his father.
The line between Ruskin Bond books for adults and children is somewhat blurred. However, some of his books are clearly for adults.
The Sensualist is the story of a man enslaved by his libido and spiralling towards self-destruction. This is one of the rare ‘adult’ books by Ruskin Bond, and a bold and compelling one at that! Another one is titled Susanna’s 7 husbands. This is a story about Susanna Anna-Maria who is a beautiful romantic girl. Well, she hopelessly tries to find love in one marriage after another. Surprisingly, all her husbands die mysteriously. Finally, his autobiography, Lone Fox Dancing, is a must for all Bond fans, even if they have caught glimpses of his life in his other books.
Recently he has written two books about his favorite books in literature. Both these books talk about his preferred authors and their works. But, what I find interesting is that they also provide extracts from certain novels and once you read these, you get a taste of what Bond likes, and what you can experiment with as well! Love Among the Bookshelves is the first of that. This book was very well accepted and loved, as all hs books are. It is followed by Confessions of a Book Lover, which again follows the same format. It talks about writers and books that have made an impact on Bond. He delightfully follows these with curated extracts.
He has also written “The Puffin Good Reading Guide for Children” which has a selection of classical and contemporary books for children aged 4-16. The selections are from all over the world.
He has also published a journal which actually encourages the reader to write. Words from the Hills, has already been reviewed on this site. Developed around the life, works and philosophy of Ruskin Bond, Words From The Hills is one collector’s piece you cannot miss! It is a very attractive and beautiful journal where Bond leads you to pen your thoughts.
It is great to read his works or carry them along when planning a vacation to Indian hill-stations; especially in the North. One is sure to get a flavor of the local people and surroundings and connect with the “holiday” place in a very different manner.
Books by Ruskin Bond occupy a special place in Indian literature. Their apparent simplicity coupled with their depth, make them true classics. It’s time for Bond!
This is a post that may not really mean anything to you, if you are not a big fan of The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien. But, if you are amongst those who find themselves drawn to the Middle-Earth, well, here are some curated Lord of the Rings merchandise that will help you recreate the magic in your home.
First things first. You need a map of Middle Earth to create an ambience. The bigger, the better! Map décor is popular anyways and adds a certain old world charm to a room. If the map belongs to Middle Earth, the charm is multiplied!
Posters are a quick and cost-effective way to set a theme for any space. When it comes to Lord of the Rings you have a plethora of characters to choose from! Don your walls with your favourite character, or make a gallery wall with a set of posters. When it comes to Lord of the Rings merchandise, posters clearly rule the market there! There is a lot of choice indeed, so make your pick wisely.
Little knick-knacks and accessories add a fun element to the décor. I would love to include a little bit of The Lord of the rings in my daily life through little objects!
I also love using figurines to add a little bit of drama. I would prefer the more realistic figurines as compared to caricatures. However, I must admit that some caricature figurines are quite attractive as well! you could place figurines in a showcase. You can group them together and create a little scene as well.
If you play chess, nothing like having your favourite characters on the board! Chess boards also make for beautiful displays.
For those with a more literary bent, Tolkien’s words have a magical effect. The trilogy is filled with beautiful poems and quotable quotes. Why not get them on the wall? Or, maybe in a frame?
While all these Lord of the Rings merchandise will add a bit of Middle- Earth to your home, for me, there is something else that really beats them all. If you are LEGO fan like I am, try and actually create a Lord of the Rings setting by yourself! There are numerous choices here as well.
Jane Austen…does she need any introduction? It is a truth universally acknowledged that the genius of Jane Austen stands in a league of its own. The year 2017 marks the 200th year of her death. She died in 1817, when she was but 41.
In order to commemorate her legacy, the Jane Austen’s House Museum, located in Hampshire, in the United Kingdom, has displayed a special exhibit titled “Jane Austen in 41 Objects”. This evolving exhibition tells the story of her life and legacy with reference to 41 different that were an integral part of her life, and continue to be a part of the permanent museum collection.
Bookedforlife highlights some of these objects. Let’s go back to Austen time!
This is an 1813 square piano, similar to one owned by Jane Austen whilst at Chawton. Jane Austen fans know very well that music, especially playing the piano was something that her accomplished heroines did very well. Well, Jane was an ardent piano player herself. 200 years ago, enchanting music from Jane’s piano must have enlivened her house! Jane’s father encouraged this love for music and Jane also received formal instruction in music.
This early 18th century walnut tripod table belonged to Jane Austen. This little table, quite unassuming and simple, is the one where Jane penned down all the timeless works that she is known for. The table is a part of the museum collection. It is placed in the dining parlour at Jane Austen’s House Museum. Undoubtedly, it is one of the highlights of the entire collection. Jane used to place the table by the window to get full benefit of the natural light. She wrote daily. No wonder the table is iconic. Many visitors stand by and ponder, and some of them even cry, as they see this little object. Such is its aura!
The carriage was made locally, probably for Jane’s brother, Edward. It was a convenient and cheap form of transport compared to horses. The carriage was preferable to walking since the roads were often very mucky and dirty.
This imposing and very beautiful piece of furniture was a part of Jane’s life. This George III mahogany bureau bookcase, belonged to Jane’s father, George Austen. He must have worked on this very desk, with his books all kept in the glass fronted display cabinet. The pigeon holes and small niches on the desk would have held his important documents. Jane would have watched him work here as he composed sermons, prepared lessons or wrote letters!
This is a manuscript sheet music book for piano. Music was a key part of her life, but what makes this book special is that the scores have been copied out by Jane Austen herself. She copied music onto manuscript paper with great precision. However, it is her own touch to these scores that indicates that she did not merely copy them, but also imbued something of her own voice in these.
The manuscript book is titled “Juvenile Songs & Lessons”. This is perhaps in the hand of the person who gave her the book. What is interesting though, is that underneath the title, in Austen’s own script, appears the ironic line “for young beginners who don’t know enough to practice.” Now that’s what we call the Austen touch!
No discussion of Jane Austen can end without a mention of Pride and Prejudice. Jane’s novels have been translated into numerous different languages. This book is a handwritten translation of Pride and Prejudice in Danish, made in 1904 by two Danish sisters for their mother who wanted to read the book her daughters loved so much. The beautiful transcription and the wonderful painted illustrations (copied from Charles E. Brock’s illustrated edition of Pride and Prejudice in 1895) make this object a beauty! There is embroidery on the front and back cover as well. In a sense it is heart-warming to see how the love for Austen lead to such breath-taking craftsmanship!
Pictures provided by the
Photo credits: Peter Smith for Clementi Piano, Donkey Carriage, Writing table and George Austen’s bookcase.
Jane Austen’s House Museum for Austen Family Music Book and Danish Translation of Pride and Prejudice.
On 26 June 1997, the muggle world was spellbound by a young wizard, just thirteen at that time. The Harry Potter series took the world by storm and the craze continues. As we celebrate 20 magical years of an exceptional literary work, Bookedforlife takes a look at some memorable lines from Harry Potter. As Dumbledore, from the famed series said, “Words are, in my not–so–humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic,”.
Let the magic continue through some wordy-charm. Here are our picks of quotes we love. These are interspersed with some readily available posters. Click and buy your pick. Or, better still, design your own poster with the lines that cast a spell on you!
It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live!
It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.
If you want to know what a man is like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.
Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.
Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself.
To the well-organised mind, death is but the next great adventure.
Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.
We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”
It’s quite easy and cost-effective to hand posters and frames to gently remind you of your favourite lines. However, with wall decals, you can actually entrench the quote on the wall. Here are our picks, all available on Amazon.
So, these are some memorable lines from Harry Potter. Do add in your favourtie quote in the feedback section, and spread the magic!
The first line of a novel or literary work holds great responsibility…and if it sticks in the minds of readers, it will make the book timeless for eons to come. Listing down famous opening lines is always a herculean task for any reader…how can one choose between so many good words…from so many great works? But, we’ve managed….
BookedforLife lists a few famous opening lines in literature….and why we love them…
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife” Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
2. For setting the tone for the mood to come, in a delightful mix of poetry and prose!
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
3. For its in-the-face provocativeness…especially when you know the theme of the novel.
“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul” Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
4. A classic proverbial style opening!
“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
5. For being disconcerting and arresting at the same time….
“Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday; I can’t be sure.” Albert Camus, The Stranger
6. A lot is said…while unsaid..
“I was born in the city of Bombay…once upon a time. No, that won’t do, there’s no getting away from the date: I was born in Doctor Narlikar’s Nursing Home on August 15th, 1947. The time matters, too.” Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children
7. Short and effective…
“It was a pleasure to burn.” Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
8. The quintessential beginning through all times!
“Once upon a time…”Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Grimm’s Fairy Tales
9. Introduces an element of surprise…
‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen” George Orwell,Nineteen Eighty-Four
10. It dives directly into the thematic heart!
“All children, except one, grow up”. M. Barrie, Peter Pan
11. An effective introduction despite staring with the minor characters…
“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense” JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
There are many more…but these famous opening lines do teach us a bit about the art of making an entrance!