First Read of 2023: The Puffin Book of Funny Stories (2005)

After the rather tepid last read of 2022, Frank Baker’s The Twisted Tree, which ended on a disturbing note, I wanted to start 2023 with something much more cheerful. LO had borrowed this book from the library and I read it today.

The book features some of the most well-known and loved authors of India: Jerry Pinto, Ruskin Bond, R.K. Narayan, Zai Whitaker. It is not a laugh-riot but has some entertaining stories. A couple of stories I found tedious but the others quite made up for them. Pinto’s story about Saafiya Khan, Advisor to Witches and Bond’s story about Uncle Ken are delightful as is Polie Sengupta’s The Passive Voice. Narayan’s young imp Swami turns a hero while The Beast bewitches his Beauty in Samit Basu’s Beast and the Beauty. An old man loses his watch in Whitaker’s Maama seeks Justice (which the LO loved) while a young pandit painfully learns his lessons in Adithi Rao’s The Dosa Conspiracy. Satyajit Ray proves once again that he was a deft hand at writing in Sadhan Babu’s Suspicions where the eponymous ‘hero’ feels somebody plans to kill him. However, my favourite of the stories were two, both of which had birds/animals as their protagonists. Asha Nehemiah’s Zigzag has a family at their wit’s end because of the snoring of an African bird that they are looking after while the owner is away and Kavitha Mandana’s Confessions of a Lion explains why the lion continues to be called the King of the Jungle.

All in all, a good way to begin another year of literary adventures.

What book became your first read of 2023?


First Line: She was a very ugly witch.

Publication Details: 2005. New Delhi: Puffin, 2005

Illustrations: Amit Vachharajani

Pages: 199


6 thoughts on “First Read of 2023: The Puffin Book of Funny Stories (2005)

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