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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Mar 28 2011

Asking Fiona Caulfield, author of the Love Guides for India

There are not many occasions when following a guide book feels like taking advice from a native, but Fiona Caulfield accomplishes the impossible, creating a compendium of  ”better than a native” suggestions in the Love Guides for India. An Australian native, she has made India her home. Given our ongoing obsession with the Love Guides and my recent trip to India, we decided to pick Fiona Caulfield’s brain for even more tips than her books already provide. Fiona Caulfield is officially our newest author crush.

1. Do you prefer aisle or window? (Please explain.)

Aisle, specifically an aisle in a middle row. I need freedom.

2. The Love Guides are incredibly detailed. How long did you travel in India before you started making them to compile your bank of insider information?

I first travelled to India in 1992, then again in 2001. I became a resident in India late 2004 with the idea for the brand and then published the first book in February 2007. It now takes about a year to research the first edition of a book.

3. The guidebooks themselves and the maps and drawings they contain are so charming. What gives you the inspiration for their design?

The design brief was sensuality and the content brief intimacy. I wanted the content to feel like I had written a letter to a good friend and the drawings to be like a sketch I would include in a letter, if I could draw. Continue Reading »

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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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Nov 18 2010

Night at the Museum of Fine Arts & A Ballet at the Opera House

Published by under General,News,Travel

La Bayadère is my new favorite ballet. I saw it this past weekend at the Boston Opera House and absolutely LOVED it!  La Bayadère was first performed in 1877 by the Imperial Ballet at the Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theater in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Choreographed by Marius Petipa and composed by Ludwig Minkus, La Bayadère is a romantic ballet set in ancient India.

The first act begins with temple dancers, Bayadères, celebrating the Indian Ritual of Fire. During this ceremony, the High Brahmin declares his love for the most beautiful Bayadère, Nikiya. But Nikiya rejects him and instead meets secretly with Solor. They dance and swear eternal love over the Sacred Fire. The High Brahmin sees them together and in an act of jealousy, he vows to take revenge on Solor. Continue Reading »

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Oct 19 2010

Eat, Pray, Love – One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India, & Indonesia

Published by under Book Reviews,Travel

After a Kafka-esque divorce followed by a passionate relationship gone afoul, Elizabeth Gilbert decides to dedicate a whole year to herself: exploring pleasure in Italy; discovering spirituality in an Indian ashram; and finally, balancing the two on the Indonesian island Bali. Having spent nearly her entire adult life in and out of love with boyfriends and her husband, Gilbert realizes in her early thirties, in the midst of an emotional crisis, that it is high time to delve into her own depths. Her memoir, Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia, chronicles her journey. 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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Apr 11 2009

My Fair Backpacker – or – An American Goes Sari Shopping in India

Sari, Mehndi, & Bangles! -- photo by Nicole

Sari, Mehndi, & Bangles! -- photo by Nicole

In India, everything is beautiful. Well, okay. Not everything.  But the women are gorgeous. Stunning. In fact, I noticed this even before I got to the subcontinent. While sitting on the plane and waiting to take off, anxiously anticipating the twenty-something hour flight from San Francisco to Bangalore, it was hard not to notice that the airline attendants — all women — could pass for models. It was also hard not to notice my dirty, holey cargo pants and extra baggy, don’t-harass-me shirt in comparison to their sleek pencil skirts and perfectly coiffed hair.

It was a theme that would be repeated during my stay in India. I even heard local women in Bangalore complain about the appearance of backpackers one day. “They come from all these rich countries and they are always dressing the same. They look so dirty and smelly…” Well, I could only assume they weren’t talking about me. But I decided then that I was going to ditch my unisex travel uniform of khaki pants and boring black top. I was going to dress like the beautiful Indian women I saw everyday: like the South Indian housewives who pinned jasmine flowers in their hair and dripped with gold and jewels for only a trip to the neighborhood market; like the professionals who floated through offices in silk salwar kameez; like the college students who sauntered through the high-end shops on MG Road in designer jeans.  In short, I decided to look like a lady instead of another “dirty” backpacker.  I decided to buy a sari.

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Apr 04 2009

The Globe Corner Bookstore – Now on Facebook!

Published by under News

Harvard Square Store

Harvard Square Store

The Globe Corner Bookstore now has an official page on Facebook.  Now you – yes you! – can become a fan of the bookstore on the ubiquitous social networking site.  “What does becoming a fan do for me?” you might be wondering.  Well, besides making you look especially hip to all of your Facebook friends (some of whom may actually use the word “hip”), you’ll also find updates about any upcoming events like our May 7th author event for Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of the Mona Lisa.

You’ll also get regular status updates posted by the staff letting you know what’s going on in our Harvard Square store and info on promotions – like which locations are discounted for our Destination of the Month sale.  April’s Destination of the Month is India, making everything about India 15% off online and in the store.  But if you were a fan of The Globe Corner Bookstore on Facebook, you’d already know that…

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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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Nov 01 2008

You Know You’re in India When…

Published by under News,Travel

Bus in Mysore decorated for Dasara - photo by Nicole

Bus in Mysore decorated for Dasara - photo by Nicole

1. The elephants and cows have better jewelry than you do.

2. You are in line at the foreign money exchange and are approached by a septuagenarian, sari-clad Indian woman who, after introducing herself, whips out her cell phone and calls her son. “Here is my son. His name is Manjuth. He is a salsa dancer. You talk to him.” (This happened to a friend of mine while we were waiting for our rupees. The lady seemed determined to make this very pale, fair English girl her daughter-in-law and was only assuaged after being given a fake phone number so that Manjuth could call this lily-skinned girl for follow-up dates and, presumably, for blue-eyed grandchildren for his mother.)

3. Pizza masala. Not quite the same as back home.

4. You get on a sleeper bus for the next nine hours to get to a World Heritage site, full of

amazing ancient ruins, and realize that the bus has no front door. (The bus is also full of Sri Lankan basketball players who sing Hindi and Tamil pop songs until four am.)

5. The air in the morning smells like chai tea and jasmine flowers… with just the slightest hint of cow dung and urine.

Painted Bull in Bangalore - photo by Nicole

Painted Bull in Bangalore - photo by Nicole

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