Nov 05 2012

Destination of the Month: India, or “Think Pink”

Published by under Book Reviews,General,News,Travel

While wandering through the Globe Corner Travel aisle at Booksmith this past week, you may have been drawn in, distracted, or blinded by a display of hot pink books. Could someone please tell me why India again and again gets classified as hot pink? From the Wallpaper Guide and the Love Guide to Delhi, to The Three Sisters Indian Cookbook, to Siddhartha Deb’s new book The Beautiful and the Damned, when it comes to India, book designers seem always to “think pink” (I spent Hurricane Sandy re-watching Funny Face).

Pink or not, if you’re looking for literature to guide you into India, we’ve got it. Our newest title on the Destination: India shelf is Aman Sethi’s A Free Man: A True Story of Life and Death in Delhi. Sethi is a young up-and-coming Indian journalist who delivers the fascinating narrative of Mohammed, a homeless man in Old Delhi. His book is endorsed by Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo of Behind the Beautiful Forevers, whose own book vividly evokes life in a slum near Mumbai. A different kind of underworld is explored by Suketu Mehta in Maximum City, a narrative that takes the reader from the lives of Hindu gangs in Bombay to behind the scenes of Bollywood.

If you didn’t catch Shuchi’s review of William Dalrymple’s City of Djinns (another pink book!!), scroll down or click here to
read about her travels to San Francisco to celebrate Ganesha’s birthday by sending him overboard on a journey from San Francisco Bay to his home on Mount Kailash. We recently got Dalrymple’s travel writing collected into a series of portraits of India in The Age of Kali. Dalrymple visits little-known areas of the subcontinent in his search for Kali Yug, an “age of darkness” prophesied by Hindu cosmology.

In addition to our vast array of Indian literature and travel narratives, we’ve got the guidebooks to help you get there. Whether you’re a solo backpacker looking for the Lonely Planet, or what Fiona Caulfield, author of our India Love Guides, calls a “luxury vagabond,” we’ve got the right guide for you. To read more about the enchanting India Love Guides, click here, or come browse our Destination of the Month display at Booksmith. You can’t miss it–just think pink.

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Feb 27 2011

Fiona Caulfield’s Guide to Loving Delhi

The huge metropolis known as Delhi is overwhelming, chaotic, and bombarding – even for the most experienced traveller. But the Love Delhi guidebook by Fiona Caulfield seeks out the lovely, the hip, and the local places. It’s easy to get frustrated deciphering what’s worth seeing on a visit, but, delving into Delhi armed with the Love Guides, I seemed always to find myself in some beautiful and unknown territory.

Caulfield’s focus on the local and organic businesses of Delhi not only promotes sustainability, but also makes discovering the ever-coveted small, quaint spots easy to find. Destination attractions are listed and reviewed, but Caulfield recommends temples, restaurants, clubs, and bars that aren’t in other guidebooks. Following Caulfield’s directions, I skipped the temples I knew would be tourist ridden and headed to a temple a few minutes south of the city. At this point in the trip, after Kathmandu Valley in Nepal and Jaipur and surrounding Rajasthan, I had already visited countless temples, but these vivid colors are forever imprinted in my mind. This temple had checkered floors, towering pillars, colors that rivaled the street vendors in old Delhi, and a towering, fifty-plus foot statue of Hanuman, the monkey god. Encountering no other foreigners here, I wandered, marveled, and filled up my camera’s memory card. Continue Reading »

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Jul 30 2010

The Official Planning Stage: Shanghia via Kathmandu via Delhi

Published by under News

It’s official. On December 23rd, at roughly 3:30am Indian Standard Time,  I will be landing in Delhi.

Starting on the 21st of December, just one day after exams, I’ll make my way to New York City to board a flight destined for Delhi, India (by way of Doha, Qatar). After spending two days there, I’ll take the bumpy hour-long flight to Kathmandu, Nepal. There, two days of temples, ancient Gods and Goddesses, and hopefully a Sherpa or two await (these are, of course, just my wildest fantasies of Nepal, which I’m sure are also wildly inaccurate, but I have some time to find out what to expect). From there, I’ll head back to Delhi for two packed days, dedicating an entire one to Agra and the Taj Mahal. Then I’ll be off to Shanghai, spending eight days wandering the glorious city, just winding down from the Shanghai Expo, before catching a flight back to my reality, Boston, Massachusetts. Continue Reading »

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Nov 01 2008

Indian Literature

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Globe Corner Bookstore’s Shortlist of Indian Literature

Over the last few decades, literature from India has emerged as one of the most acclaimed and interesting genres. Below are a few of the titles that we consider essential reading for those contemplating a trip to the subcontinent or who are simply fascinated with Indian culture.

The God of Small Things
by Arundhati Roy
A bestselling and Booker Prize-winning novel. A richly textured first book about the tragic decline of one family whose members suffer the terrible consequences of forbidden love.

City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi
by William Dalrymple
Sparkling with irrepressible wit, City of Djinns peels back the layers of Delhi’s centuries-old history, revealing an extraordinary array of characters along the way-from eunuchs to descendants of great Moguls.

The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty: Delhi, 1857
by William Dalrymple
The award-winning historian presents a brilliantly researched, evocatively written study of the fall of the Raj and the beginning of the British occupation of India.

Midnight’s Children
by Salman Rushdie
Born at the very moment of India’s independence, Saleem Sinai’s every act is mirrored by events that sway the course of the nation’s history, and telepathic powers link him with the other children born in that initial hour and endowed with magical gifts. Winner of the 1980 Booker Prize.

Customs of the Kingdoms of India (from the Great Journeys series)
by Marco Polo
Gleaned during his voyage along the coasts of India, Marco Polo’s mystified reports include the story of a giant bird that eats elephants, along with many other tales both reliable and fantastical.

by Rudyard Kipling
Reared in the teeming streets of India at the turn of the century, the orphan Kim is an imp with an endless interest in the extraordinary characters he meets. One of them, an old Tibetan lama, sets him on the path that will lead him to travel the Great Trunk Road and become a spy for the British.

Unaccustomed Earth
by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Interpreter of Maladies and The Namesake delivers eight dazzling stories that take readers from Cambridge and Seattle to India and Thailand as they explore the secrets at the heart of family life.

India in Mind
Edited by Pankaj Mishra
Anyone who is enthralled by India–or who loves fine writing–will delight in this compendium of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry written by 25 of the country’s most astute observers.

Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found
by Suketu Mehta
Bombay native Mehta fills his kaleidoscopic portrait of “the biggest, fastest, richest city in India” with captivating moments of danger and dismay.

Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure
by Sarah MacDonald
When the love of MacDonald’s life is posted to India, she quits her dream job to move to the most polluted city on earth, New Delhi. From spiritual retreats and crumbling nirvanas to war zones and New Delhi nightclubs, this is a journey that only a woman on a mission to save her soul, her love life, and her sanity can survive.

Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India
by Jaffrey Madhur
Today’s most highly regarded writer on Indian food gives us an enchanting memoir of her childhood in Delhi in an age and a society that has since disappeared.

In Spite of the Gods: The Rise of Modern India
by Edward Luce
An enlightening study of the forces shaping India as it tries to balance the stubborn traditions of the past with an unevenly modernizing present.

A Passage to India
by E.M. Forster
The classic account of the clash of cultures in British India after the turn of the century. With careful crafting, exquisite prose, and a well developed sense of irony, Forster reveals the menace lurking just beneath the surface of ordinary life, as a common misunderstanding erupts into a devastating affair.

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Oct 17 2008

A White Tiger in Dark India

Published by under Book Reviews,News

The White Tiger --by Aravind Adiga

The White Tiger --by Aravind Adiga

*On October 14th, Aravind Adiga was announced the winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2008 for his novel, The White Tiger. To further laud Mr. Adiga and his book, Jess tells us just why exactly this book deserves such praise.*

In honor of coworker Nicole’s departure to Bangalore (and because I can’t go there myself), I’m recommending a recent stand-out novel in the ever-widening body of literature that discusses the post-colonial experience in modernizing countries such as India: Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger.

Written as a modern epistolary novel, the story of the protagonist, Balram Halwai, is dictated over the course of seven nights. The reader learns early on that Balram has not only risen out from the great “Rooster Coop” of India to become a successful entrepreneur, but has also committed the greatest crime of all: murder. First-time author Aravind Adiga consistently uses dark and light imagery to trace Balram’s rise to (relative) economic success and his transition to the modern center of India, Delhi. But as Balram emerges from the dark heart of India, he is also faced with a new type of darkness — a moral darkness that will either destroy or save him.

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