Category: guest post

The Bunker Diary – A Review

The Bunker Diary – A Review

Today I have on my blog a book review by a guest – a young guest. Meet Varun, a student of class IX. He is an avid reader and loves a good game of basket ball. He has the brain of a techie and the heart of a book-lover – some combination, isn’t it? He blogs, though infrequently, at www.asiaticvrun.wordpress.com.
Here’s what he had to say about himself –
Hi I’m Varun. My interests are game development and writing. I aspire to become a game designer-cum-author. I like to – 
  • Read storybooks (and then re-read the awesome parts)
  • Watch good TV shows (and  repeat the cool lines before the mirror or in my sleep)
  • Watch movies with a solid IMDb rating
  • Play basketball (I’m still learning, albeit rather slowly)
  • Make my ideas come to life in form of little video-games or animation (my works are not perfect but I enjoy developing them)
  • Write little stories or even cool sentences in my head (usually I feel too lazy to put it on paper)
  • Kill the bad guys, hurt the bad guys, or beat ’em up (in video-games, for scores…)
  • As for the things I hate – there’s nothing much (except the bad guys…in games)

The review


Title – The Bunker Diary
Author – Kevin Brooks

About the story
The Bunker Diary is a record of the time teenager Linus Weems spends in a reconditioned nuclear bunker held hostage by ‘the man upstairs’. Written in first-person, the book begins with a dazed narration by Linus describing the bunker where he was immured. The writer then attempts to hook the reader with increasingly sinistrous mystery. The readers are told about a stranger who lures Linus into his van, drugs him, and throws him into the bunker. But never reveals his motive.
Soon, Linus is joined by five other people in the bunker. His diary describes their daily activities, escape struggles, and demises. Throughout the plot these characters are subjected to cruel abuse. ‘The man upstairs’, their kidnapper, controls everything in their prison- temperature, electricity, illumination, water, availability of food, and even the perception of time.

Writing Style
Kevin Brooks makes good use of punctuation to emphasize and express.
Since the book is written in first-person he alters his diction to befit Linus’ character. 
His writing style morphs with the characters’ development and shows when they are dazed, distressed, dejected, deranged, drugged, or dying. He also deliberately arranges the text with some extra spacing here and a line break there for subtle expression but his language is raw and forthright.
Here are some excerpts from the book –

“12.15 p.m.
      Nothing moves.
      Time is slow.

 “I thought he was blind. That’s how he got me. I still can’t 
 believe I fell for it. I keep playing it over in my mind, hoping
 I’ll do something different, but it always turns out the same.”

“Jenny dies in my arms. 
     Goes to sleep, doesn’t wake up.
     My tears taste of blood. “

My Thoughts
This book is awash with morbidity. The plot is enveloped in darkness with only traces of light. I was thoroughly disappointed by its unusually dark ending. “What was the point of reading this book?” I asked myself at the last page.
If this book had been a literary work, I might have relented. But this is dark and pointless fiction. It isn’t even poignant or plausible. You might argue that I have a different taste in literature, an affinity with the positive, and that’s true indeed. But I can see the clear line that separates praiseworthy poignancy and psychotic morbidity.
********** 

Note: I asked for a review of The Bunker Diary because it is an award winning book with a teenage protagonist written for ‘young adults’. I thought a young perspective would be good. And then right away I was apprehensive wondering if it would be too morbid. However I needn’t have worried.

Too much to do, too little time

Too much to do, too little time

You know why we need friends? To kick our backsides when we really need to get going. I have spoken about my dear friend Shailaja and how she pushed me to take up the April A to Z Challenge. Well she’s done it again. It’s not a challenge this time – she pushed me into doing a guest post for her amazing, award winning blog momdiary.blogspot.com. 

My friend Google threw this up. How appropriate, isn’t it?

I am barely managing to post once a week on my own blog, not even updating my book club meetings which, by the way, are getting ever more fun every week. What’s worse I am posting the guest post update full two days after it was published on hers. Yes I should die of shame.

The bright side, though, is that I did manage the post for her blog. Speaks volumes of her capacity as a motivator. Thanks Shailaja for hosting me. So if you haven’t read my take on Sibling Rivalry at Shailaja’s and have a pair of constantly quibbling kids, do hop over and take a look.

Here’s the link.
http://momdiary.blogspot.in/2014/08/two-much-of-good-thing.html

The thing is, of late I have taken up an assignment, a minor one but an assignment nonetheless. Plus there’s the book club. Each time I’m free I find myself reaching for the iPad and googling “Short stories for kids”. And there’s been a barrage of activity at home – birthdays, festivals, socialising. Not being one of those flamboyant kind of people, I feel overwhelmed with too much activity. I like my routine. A once-in-a-week upset works; more than that and I’m thrown out of gear.

However, the moral of the story is that I can make time if I try really hard. So here’s one post and another one coming up shortly.

Organising weekend activities for kids

Organising weekend activities for kids

Back in Pune the kids have a bunch of friends and normally manage to keep themselves busy. However during weekends or vacations I find them running out of ideas and getting into trouble with the society guards or the elderly members. That’s when I received this offer for a guest post from Charlotte at Surf Excel. I have to admit I was in a bit of a quandary on whether I should host a post ‘sponsored’ by a commercial product but then decided to go ahead simply on the merit of the piece. All they asked for was a link to their site, which also I found interesting. Here is the article.

While organising weekend activities for young children the idea is to get your kids involved at every stage.

As a parent, it can be tempting to take complete control of your kid’s social calendar. You know the type of activities your child enjoys and who they are friends with, so when it is time to prepare a social activity you tend to just get on with it. After all, depending on the age of your child, there aren’t many responsibilities you can completely entrust to them anyway.
There are many online resources about child development  that you can look at in order to help your children become more independent individuals. One easy way to help your kids grow is to allow them to help plan weekend adventures with friends. Not only will you help your kids to become more confident and self-reliant, you will be boosting their social skills and helping them learn the ways to socialise effortlessly in the future as well.
How to help children organise activities
For very young children, once you decide to organise an activity on their behalf then you should allow them to participate in the decision-making process. Talk them through the decision you made: for example, you are going to the indoor swimming pool because the weather forecast is bad, or you are going to the park because it is quick to walk there. For older children (aged 6 and over), you might want to give them a couple of feasible options that you are willing to co-ordinate. Don’t give them the option of going to the zoo if you haven’t the spare time to get them there! After explaining any limitations on the number of people they can bring, let your child decide which friends to invite.

Encourage your child to make the arrangements with their friends themselves – either through a phone call or in person. Both options allow you a degree of supervision and intervention if you believe the wrong message has been conveyed, but stepping back and letting your child make contact with his or her friends will give him or her the experience of organising an event and communicating necessary information to others. These experiences will be very valuable for their future!
Once the activity has been arranged, the whole family can get involved in preparing for the activity. Children can get involved with the making of snacks or lunch for a day out, or they can help pack all the essentials for an afternoon in the park into a rucksack. The parent can give guidance and support.
How to deal with problems when organising activities for kids
Sometimes, of course, your children will make a suggestion that you must refuse – for example, it might be too expensive to go to the cinema twice in the same month, or you might not have time to go to the zoo or the national park. Your child might get upset if you reject an option without any explanation. Instead, you should take the time to explain why their proposal is not going to work and help them come up with an alternative that gets around the stated problem. If the cinema is too expensive, suggest cheaper or free fun activities that they can do instead – maybe watching a film with their friends at home would be a better option? You could get the kids to help make their own special snacks, as well – which might be even tastier than the ones they could get in the cinema!
As a busy parent, coordinating activities to keep your children amused over the weekends or summer holidays is an intensive task. By teaching your kids how to plan and organise their own activities, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of work in the future!