Discover how love and food build a shared connection amongst diverse cultures; read how in a quest to find happiness, a man travels through the heart of India; know about a turbulent past of religious rifts, caste hierarchies and power shifts in 1510 Goa. Also, flick through a story of a marriage affected by infidelity.
There is nothing more varied that the IANS bookshelf could offer to its readers this weekend.
1. Book: Shared Tables; Author: Kaumudi Marathe; Publisher: Speaking Tiger; Pages: 302; Price: Rs 450.
When Kaumudi Marathe moved to the US from India, she never thought she'd be a famous chef, food writer and unofficial spokesperson for Indian cuisine abroad. "Shared Tables" is her memoir of an unlikely career enriched and shaped by family history, stories, memorable meals and staunch friendships.
The author explores her roots in the Konkanastha and Saraswat clans, recalling her immersion in their classic Marathi cuisines. Her peripatetic childhood — spent in places as diverse as Poona (now Pune), Canada, Nagaland, Hyderabad and Wales — let her taste and savour the many flavours that came her way.
As an adult, her choice of journalism as a profession took her to the Bombay (now Mumbai), where she met the challenges of adulthood and authorship, navigating marriage and deadlines, while constantly exploring the many offerings of the city. Her eventual move to Los Angeles, a city that encouraged her to dream of an entirely new way of living, enabled her to set up the first Indian cooking school in the US — Un-Curry — alongside her restaurant and catering company.
Via anecdotes, recipes and photographs, Marathe illustrates how love and food build a shared connection amongst diverse cultures, countries, backgrounds and professions. "Shared Tables" is a feast for the mind, heart and soul.
2. Book: Balraj; Author: Manoj V. Jain; Publisher: Notion Press; Pages: 142; Price: Rs 195
Do you have the strength or folly to give up everything in a quest to find happiness?
Inder, 47, a family man and a successful financial consultant decides to walk away from everything he knows and loves. He travels through the heart of India in search of himself, meeting new people, learning lessons and giving himself up to serendipity.
"Balraj" is thought-provoking, troubling and even uplifting at times. The author weaves a simple tale that explores the evolution of a soul-searcher through the travels of a man on a quest to find the answers he set out for.
3. Book: Age of Frenzy; Author: Mahabaleshwar Sail; Publisher: HarperCollins; Pages: 320; Price: Rs 399
It's 1510. The Portuguese arrive armed with guns, swords and crucifixes to the agricultural village of Adolshi, Goa, where Hindus have been living peacefully.
A sense of foreboding fills them as tigers prowl, cow bones appear in wells, chariot wheels break on festival day. The Portuguese king has licensed Jesuits to take over and staunch white men move about preaching the word of the Son of God. Land is seized, families broken. But Padre Simao Peres is convinced that love and not force will bring about a change of heart.
With the Inquisition looming like an axe over everyone's heads, a saga of choice plays out for the people of the village.
Recounting a history now mostly forgotten, this novel documents a turbulent past of religious rifts, caste hierarchies and power shifts which changed the ethos of a significant part of the western coastline of India forever.
4. Book: Love Warrior; Author: Glennon Doyle Melton; Publisher: Two Days; Pages: 263; Price: Rs 499.
Just when Glennon Doyle Melton was beginning to feel that she had it all figured out with three happy children, a doting spouse, and a writing career so successful that her first book catapulted to the top of the New York Times bestseller list, her husband revealed his infidelity and she realised that nothing was as great as it seemed.
A recovering alcoholic and bulimic, Glennon found that rock bottom was a familiar place. In the midst of crisis, she knew to hold on to what she discovered in recovery — that her deepest pain has always held within it an invitation to a richer life.
"Love Warrior" is the story of one marriage, but it is also the story of the healing that is possible for any of us when we refuse to settle for good enough and begin to face pain and love head-on.
This memoir reveals how our ideals of masculinity and femininity can make it impossible for a man and a woman to truly know one another, and it captures the beauty that unfolds when one couple commits to unlearning everything they've been taught so that they can finally, after 13 years of marriage, commit to being true.
This is a gorgeous and inspiring account of how we are born to be warriors — strong, powerful, and brave; able to confront the pain and claim the love that exists for us all.