A difficult book for me to rate and review. It might be enough for me to say it was heartbreaking if I didn't find myself a few miles from Annawadi whA difficult book for me to rate and review. It might be enough for me to say it was heartbreaking if I didn't find myself a few miles from Annawadi while reading it. Like the author, I am an American married to an Indian (he a lifelong Mumbaikar). I spend a month here every other year and this being my 5th trip, I'm accustomed to seeing abject poverty and not permitting myself to think too much about it. I know that sounds terrible, but it's a principle of integration into a culture to first observe and withhold judgment or analysis. Being a firm believer in working to change systems from within, I've so far kept my distance. Reading this book forced me to reevaluate this position. It imparted a valuable perspective that I may not have found otherwise. While Arundhati Roy is my go-to source for the wider politics of injustice in India, I hope Katherine Boo will continue to contribute her unique and powerful angle. There are no simple answers to these problems, but writing like this and the discussion and analysis it provokes are essential steps towards positive change. I'm looking forward to hearing the perspectives of the rest of my international book group next month and am sure that the characters in this book will be on my mind frequently as my relationship with India continues to evolve....more
Always enjoy Lahiri's gorgeous writing, but ultimately felt this work was a bit formulaic and bore too much resemblance to her previous works. Most ofAlways enjoy Lahiri's gorgeous writing, but ultimately felt this work was a bit formulaic and bore too much resemblance to her previous works. Most of the characters were well developed, but the adult Bela was just too contrived. Appreciated the historical context and learning more about the Naxalites and Marxist influence in Eastern India that is felt even today....more
I loved the idea of this cookbook, though I was expecting something a little more Indian than it turned out to be. Quite a few recipes, most notably tI loved the idea of this cookbook, though I was expecting something a little more Indian than it turned out to be. Quite a few recipes, most notably the one for Macaroni and Cheese, take a very broad understanding of "masala" --the only thing an Indian would recognize are the peppercorns. There are a few which appear a bit like dishes my mother in law has made or I've tried at Indian restaurants and I've found them helpful in getting the proportions right (Indian Eggplant Caponata and Not So Dull Dhal). I really enjoyed Saran's commentary and attitude toward blending Indian and American cooking styles. Our favorite so far is the Creamy Roast Chicken Breasts (Malai Murgh) -- relatively quick to make but so richly concocted and flavorful. The Day-After Turkey Hash Masala is definitely one I'll try after next Thanksgiving. ...more
Katherine Russell Rich had recently recovered from cancer when she ventured to Udaipur, India to learn Hindi. In this uniquely formatted memoir, she intersperses her experiences with research on adult Second Language Acquisition (SLA).
Rich's writing is warm and humorous, while at the same time offering a distinct intellectual appeal. She illuminates fascinating details culled from interviews with experts in the rapidly advancing field of SLA. A magazine writer and editor by profession, Rich's book reads like an extended version of a witty New Yorker or Atlantic piece.
Rich's experience of India is one of many that readers have to choose from. Though her journey starts from a similar premise as other such memoirs, Rich's work never comes across as self-indulgent or opportunistic. She maintains a focus on her own experience, yet offers a nuanced perspective of life in this particular part of India.
Dreaming in Hindi is a unique and compelling work which is best read while learning a second language yourself! Try the fabulous language learning resources, Byki and Mango Languages, accessible free from the KCLS Databases page (and many public libraries throughout the U.S.)...more