As we enter the last leg of the league matches of the World Cup, a quick update on the World Cup book may be in order! Excuse the subtle (but pompous) emphasis on the.
To start with, The Times of India listed the book in the World Cup special of their What's Hot supplement - as one of the few books to buy during the tournament. It had some totally cool books for company including Mathew Hayden's autobiography and Shehan Karunatilaka's Chinaman (which is being touted as the - again, emphasis - Sri Lankan novel). Most people complimented me on the positive 'review' before they discovered it was the blurb!
My colleagues at work realised my predicament and soon, the book made an appearance on HT City as well.
The first serious review of the book appeared on Suhel Banerjee's blog.
The adult in him was disappointed but the child was suitably happy at "the well researched statistics, the junkets of trivia gleaned from over 35 years of the WC, the jovial sketches of players, coaches and commentators, the most spectacular matches which the present school going generation couldn't watch live, highlighted and described with the love and passion for the game - all this put together makes it a must gift have for most school going kids"
Another 'social media friend' - Abhishek Mukherjee - was among the early adopters and wrote me a very complimentary email (which also pointed out some errors). Since the note was personal and the errors were embarrassing, I will not reproduce them here (heh heh - smart, no?). But I will do post a very cool picture of two books he received from Flipkart on the same day. And I was mighty pleased to hear that he read the one on the left first. So what if it was because of the looming World Cup?
My batchmate - Karishma a.k.a Kim - decided to give me a signpost on our alumni website, where I got featured alongside the HR Head of P&G (a senior of mine) and a batchmate who is a prospective Mills & Boon writer! I was quite amused find myself in the company of two beautiful women for having written about 11 not-so-beautiful men! Kim also took this picture at Landmark Delhi and put me in the august company of a former Prime Minister.
After this, two media behemoths of East and South decided to post very positive reviews of the book in their book/young sections.
The Telegraph - on March 4 - listed Cricket! in its Paperback Pickings.
The review started with "need of the hour" and ended with "...neatly compiled and accompanied with caricatures, this book provides facts that are indispensable to a cricket-lover’s arsenal". Needless to say, this review gave a fitting reply to all those in my hometown who thought that my crowning glory was getting a three-digit rank in the West Bengal JEE.
When last heard, my mother was preserving the day's paper and my father's childhood friend was hunting for the book high and low!
The Hindu sprung the other pleasant surprise when the book got listed in its Young World supplement.
The venerable Murali N. Krishnaswamy's reviews contain phrases like "thoughtful touches", "sprinkled with history and facts" and "well-rounded book".
It also says that the book has "a series of delightful illustrations done by the author himself". While I totally agree with the delightful illustrations bit, let me quickly point out that they are done by Dipankar Bhattacharya. I can't draw to save my life.
Nevertheless, ignoring The Hindu is not something even Ms Jayalalitha or Mr Karunanidhi does very often - making the recommendation very clear!
UPDATED TO ADD: Shri Time Out Delhi has come out with a nice review too. They feel "the author has kept the content simple and breezy for his book’s younger audience" and "with its wide field of anecdotes, trivia and statistics, it’s a pretty good read for adults too". They get the publisher's name wrong but hey, nobody's perfect! Oh - they also mentioned the author's "well-known and witty blog".
Thank you, thank you - you are too kind!
Thank you, thank you - you are too kind!
All in all, I have all the material for the second edition's blurb stitched up. Only, I need the first edition completely cleaned up before that can happen.
Ladies and gentlemen -
I have been told by the super-efficient folks of Dial-A-Book that they have a few 'author-signed' copies (ahem) left. I am sure they can even get you a non-signed copy, should you want.
The online bookstores (listed helpfully, on the right column) are your fallback choices - if you are anywhere in India.
Or, you could walk into one of the real bookshops near you.
What? Still reading this post? Where's your copy of Cricket - AYWTKATWC?
(Shit, I should have made the name simpler!)
SECOND UPDATE: The Telegraph has decided to call the book one of the 'Five Fast-Selling Titles This World Cup' on their The Good Life (wow!) section, right underneath an interview with Gautam Bhimani (eww)! I swear I have not paid them anything for such super reviews. They seem to have actually liked the book (wow! wow!) and their trivia about the book says - "The author was born and brought up in Calcutta." (have run out of wows now!)