Wednesday, the 15th of March, and time for Shelf Control once again! Shelf Control is a weekly feature created by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. Since early January 2023, Shelf Control has moved base here to Literary Potpourri. To participate, all you do is pick a book from your TBR pile, and write a post about it–what it’s about, when/where you got it, why you want to read it and such. If you participate, don’t forget to share your links in the comments. I’ll check out your picks of course, and also add you to the list of participants in this post.

I’ve had a fair few posts on the blog about or referring to works by Satyajit Ray, but it would seem have never got to reviewing one on this blog yet, even though I have read some of his books. Today’s post though is again not a review, but about a book from my TBR. The Final Adventures of Professor Shonku (2020) by Satyajit Ray and translated by Satyajit Ray and Indrani Majumdar, is a set of his science fiction adventures for children. I bought the book early last year from when it has been waiting on mount TBR!

Ray was of course multitalented–a movie director, artist, music composer, lyricist, author and much else. He came from as talented a family too, his father having been a writer and poet, and his grandfather a writer and painter (Find a full post about his many talents that I’d written for his centenary here). Besides the Feluda mysteries for children, Ray also wrote a series of short stories featuring an eccentric professor and inventor Professor Shonku, who invents things like an air conditioning pill and a space food for cats. He lives with a servant Prahlad and his cat, Newton who is 24 and his adventures take him to places like Tibet and the Gobi Desert.

The Final Adventures of Professor Shonku comprises 9 stories taking us to places from Tokyo to Cairo, Singapore to Rome, besides India with adventures involving a time machine, an Egyptian tomb, a 3500-year-old diamond necklace, Frankenstein, and a tree with golden leaves among others. The stories are all in epistolary form, as the Professor’s diary entries and carry illustrations by Ray himself.

While I haven’t read any of the Prof Shonku stories so far, a former neighbour used to always mention them which is what got me interested initially. They sound a fun set of adventures, especially because of the interesting settings but also the professor’s eccentricities. The cat Newton is on the cover though I think he doesn’t feature in this specific set of stories.

Have you read anything by Ray so far? Or watched any of his films? Which ones and how did you like them?

Book information and cover image via goodreads and the book; the edition I have is a paperback (251pp) published by Puffin in 2020.

Did you join in with Shelf Control this week? If you did, do share your links below, and I’ll add you to this week’s participant list!

Participants this week

Gipsi from Gipsireads: Green Mansions (1904) by William Henry Hudson (This one’s a book I mean to read at some point as well.)


6 thoughts on “Shelf Control #219: The Final Adventures of Professor Shonku by Satyajit Ray

  1. Eccentric professors are a popular staple of comedic writing, aren’t they? Professor Shonku (especially in the cover illustration) reminds me a little of Norman Hunter’s Professor Branestawm adventures which I avidly read as a kid and more recently Professor Bill Russell, whose fictional persona was touted as a Professor of Imaginary Biology in Dewi the Dragon which I reviewed a couple or so weeks ago. Prof Shonku sounds just as engaging!

    Liked by 1 person

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