Friday, July 18, 2008

News, reviews, menus

First off, some good news. A representative from Hachette Book Group has agreed to do a giveaway of The Heretic's Daughter here on my blog - and there will be more than one copy! I will be posting the giveaway in early September, so be sure to come back then. (See below for my review.)

Next, a review, only one, though writing 'reviews' in the title sounded better, I think.

Asha Miro was born in India and adopted by a Spanish couple when she was around seven years old. This made Asha fortunate in many fairly obvious ways - her health improved, she was educated and given every opportunity to discover what it was she wanted out of life. The only thing that was missing for Asha was finding out where she had come from and how she came to be in an Indian orphanage.

Her book, Daughter of the Ganges, is really made up of two books she wrote about her experiences traveling to India in 1995 and again in 2003. In the first part of the book Asha travels with a volunteer agency, which gave her a reason to be in India, the opportunity to get to know India better, and some time to research her past. Asha finds herself at the orphanage she lived in while in Bombay and is able to visit with nuns that cared for her at that time. In the second part of the book, Asha returns to India to film a documentary. She has found that some of the people who cared for her as a child do not agree with her interpretation of events as set forth in her book. Asha wants to know the truth, so she visits both orphanages she lived in again. Through a series of events, Asha discovers a gift - that she has an older sister who is alive.

Daughter of the Ganges is written very simply, but is still very powerful. Asha writes that she wants people to be able to be more open about adoption, part of her reason for writing this book . Asha's prose is beautifully complimented in the first section of the book by pages out of her mother's diary, written during the adoption process, and after Asha joined the family. The second part of the book is quite joyful, with Asha meeting people related to her by blood for the first time. She is moved by how difficult their lives are, and is remarkably honest about her feelings, remarking that she cannot imagine living this way, knowing what she does about the world and its opportunities. While Asha is Indian by birth, she knows she is truly European in her behavior and attitudes toward life.

I came across this title when I was in my India phase earlier this year. It is certainly an interesting perspective of India, but also meaningful in its portrayal of adoption, from an adoptee's and her parent's point of view.

And finally, for the menu. My husband has invited some people over for dinner tomorrow and as is his way, is not very clear about how many people there are or when they are coming. Hmmmmm. Here is what I am planning on serving:

Veggies with homemade hummus
Assorted grilled sausages
The potato/green bean/tomato dish I made last week (see below)
A salad (hopefully someone brings this)
Strawberry shortcake

What do you think?


Carrie K said...

Dinner sounds delicious and you can kind of stretch it out or give heaping helpings, depending on how many show up.

What is with that vague "I don't know how many people" bit anyway? Men.

Gentle Reader said...

This book sounds fabulous!

Also, your dinner menu is perfect. When I saw your picture of the potato/green bean/tomato thing, my mouth watered, so I'm sure that's a great idea. And I like to grill sausages when a bunch of people come over, because they're fast, simple and yummy. And what could be better than strawberry shortcake at this time of year?

Cath said...

The book sounds excellent! I must look that one up.

A pity you don't live next door to me as you could have your green (we call them French) beans for free. We have them coming out of our ears at the moment. But your menu sounds perfect.

Bookfool said...

Veggies with hummus -- a big favorite in our house. Everything else sounds terrific, too. I can't imagine you'd cook anything that wasn't a hit.

The book sounds great!

Marlene said...

TWO things - I am a historical fiction addict AND I will be visiting Salem this fall! We live in MN, but my daughter attends college in Cambridge MA. When we visit in Oct, our plans are to visit & tour Salem.
I had dinner 4 dinner guests last night too. We had Costco steaks on the grill, with the Panera strawberry poppyseed salad recipe I found thru a Google search, along with a black bean couscous dish that everyone found 'refreshing', homemade potato salad and a chocolate dessert. The best thing about hosting dinner is the leftovers! I do plan to try your salad - I love the color!

Tara said...

Carrie, Yeah, men. There wound up being more people than origianally anticipated, but I had plenty of meat which kept the menfolk happy. I wound up finding corn at the farmer's market and that went perfectly.

Gentle Reader, it was a really good read. The meal worked out really well, and there was neither too much or too little food. Sometimes I think I've gone overboard and made too many dishes, so I think it's better for me to keep things simple.

Cath, it was a good read. I would *love* to pick your beans! I'm envious of your bounty.

Bookfool, we love it too, and thanks for saying so. The book was a good read, I'm glad I picked it up.

Marlene, that sounds fantastic! I was also there in October and apparently that is Salem's most heavily visited month so be prepared for crowds. You'll have a wonderful time. Your menu sounds fantastic. Do you make your potato salad with a mayonaise dressing or a vinagrette? I like it both ways. I'm a little sad that I don't have much for leftovers but that's okay...I bought out the market yesterday.

LisaMM said...

Dinner sounds great! At least your husband gave you a bit of a heads up.. mine just brings people home without letting me know and assumes I will feed them, ugh.

The book sounds great too! And that's exciting that Hatchette is sponsoring a giveaway. I'll be watching for it!

Tara said...

LisaMM, Thanks! Good point about the heads up - I usually have just enough for us. I'm excited about the giveaway too!