Reading Corner

Here are some books I’ve read about relationships, India, and Minnesota.  I also added some comments.

Non-Fiction Relationship Books

Mixed Matches: How to Create Successful Interracial, Interethnic, and Interfaith Relationships by Joel Crohn

This is the book Satya and I am currently reading together. 


The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman and Nan Silver.

The author promises that he can tell which couples are headed towards divorce just by how they argue.  Learn what signs he looks for and how to change how you and your partner argue.  Also, learn ways to make your relationship stronger. 

I’ve read through this book on my own and Satya and I will be reading it together after we get through Mixed Matches.  This book also includes exercises to do together with your partner.


Fiction about India

A River Sutra by Gita Mehta

This collection of short stories is very moving.  I cried when I read some of the stories.  Be prepared for an emotional roller coaster. 

Ramayana Series by Ashok Banker.

Science fiction series based on the Ramayana.  I haven’t read this one yet.

A Good Indian Wife by Anne Cherian.

Am still reading this one.  See my blog post about the early part of the book.

Malgudi Days by R.K. Narayan

Ashwini suggested watching the T.V. series.  This is the book the series was based. 

Books by S.L. Bhyrappa

Another suggestion by Ashwini.  One of the most popular Kannada authors today.  Some of his books have been translated into English.


Non-Fiction about India

Planet India: How the Fastest Growing Democracy is Transforming America and the World by Mira Kamdar.

Discover how India found solutions to some of its problems and learn more about what struggles remain.

Marrying Anita: A Quest for Love in the New India by Anita Jain.

Another book on my reading list.  After giving up on Western-style dating, Jain gives herself a year to marry in India. 

Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System by Raj Patel. 

This book explores the inequalities of the world food system.  These inequalities have resulted in half the world being stuffed with empty calories and the other half of the world starving.  Right now, the huge food corporations are trying their best to get into India, but India’s farmers and consumers are putting up a good fight.  I haven’t read this one yet, just came across the Amazon review and a blurb in a blog called 2nd Look

Maximum City by Suketu Mehta.

This book is about Mumbai.  Mehta moves his family to Mumbai after spending a lot of time in NY, where his kids were born.  Mehta is a great writer and interviews a variety of Mumbaikers-gangsters, bar dancers, Bollywood stars.  I enjoyed reading the book, but ended up wishing he’d focused on people living mundane lives rather than extreme ones.

Dreaming in Hindi by Katherine Russell Rich

This is on Oprah’s Summer Book List for ’09.  I think it sounds fascinating as it combines two of my interests-travel and language.  The book does not come out until July 7, 2009 so I will have to wait a while to read it. 

The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama

This one just arrived on my desk.  Looks like a fun, breezy read! 6/17/09


Children’s about India

Elephants Never Forget by Anushka Ravishankar

This is a cute picture book about an elephant that gets lost.  He lives with water buffaloes, but what happens when he sees a herd of elephants again? 


The Conch Bearer by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Anand, a 12 year old in Kolkata discovers that he has magical powers and must fight against evil.  The second book in the series is The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming.  Although this series is similar to Harry Potter in that a young boy discovers he has magical powers and attends a school with other magical kids, I enjoyed the author’s descriptions of India.


Fiction about Minnesota

Dear James by Jon Hassler

This book is a continuation of Staggerford.  This book also takes place in the fictional Minnesota town of Staggerford.  If you like reading about small town life, you’ll enjoy this book.  My favorite character is Agatha McGee, the strict 70 year old Catholic retired school teacher.  She reminds me of one of my relatives.


Children’s About Minnesota

On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder

This book is part of the Little House on the Prairie series.  On the Banks of Plum Creek is about the Ingalls’ family adventures in on a Minnesota farm in the late 1800s.  I loved these books as a girl and read them each at least once a year. 

 By Minnesota Authors

The Remarkable and Very True Story of Lucy and Snowdrop by H.M Bouwman

Entertaining, quick read about colonialism.   For ages 10+.



What are some of your favorites?

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Andrea
    Aug 29, 2008 @ 23:37:46

    Hi there!
    I saw the name of your blog and had to laugh – so similar to mine 🙂

    Anyhow, I wanted to add a few titles of my favorite lbooks that take place in India or have Indian characters.

    I think my alltime favorite is “The Space Between Us,” by Thrity Umrigar. It’s about the relationships and ties between a wealthy Parsi family in Mumbai and their long-time maid. It was SOOOOO good.

    I also really liked “The Inheritance of Loss,” by Kiran Desai, which takes place in northern India along the Nepal border. It’s wordier and harder to get through, but it’s worth it.

    I also got a book called “Life isn’t all ha ha hee hee,” which has a stupid title, IMO, but it was really interesting – kind of “chick lit” about three different Indian-British women in London.

    Check them out! 🙂


  2. minnesotameetskarnataka
    Sep 02, 2008 @ 20:47:03

    Hi Andrea,

    Thanks for your suggestions!

    I’ve heard of “the Inheritance of Loss” but haven’t read it yet. The others are completely new to me.


  3. Anita
    Sep 21, 2008 @ 02:27:52

    Try books by Jhumpa Lahiri–esp The Namesake. Actually all her books are good so you can’t really go wrong.

    Meera Syal’s book is definitely very good–mentioned by another blogger above.

    What else?
    Some authors to consider: Rohinton Mistry, Arundathi Roy, Anita Desai, Monica Ali, Amitav Ghosh.

    For Kannada work, read the folktales translated by A.K.Ramanujan, and fiction by U.R. Anantha Murthy.


  4. Andrea
    Sep 24, 2008 @ 05:52:12

    I recently got a book from the library, “There is Room for You” by Charlotte Bacon. It’s basically about a woman who had a mother who grew up in India during the end times of British colonialism, because her dad was a judge or something ,there. Then, decades later, the daughter(who is now American) goes to India after a personal tragedy of her own.

    I’m going to finish the book, but I don’t really like it.

    To be more specific, I love the historical part of the mother and the flashbacks to her youth in India in the 1930’s.

    But what I DON’T like is the daughter’s part of the book. It falls, in my opinion, into the category of “white person goes to the mysterious India, where everything is so Spiritual, and can’t help being changed forever.”


    I guess this ‘genre’ seems so condescending or something.

    I mean, when I went to India for the first time, I wasn’t paralyzed, in awe of the “spiritual nature” of everyone… I was in awe of the crowds, the rich blend of different cultures all living together, the food, the languages, and the fact that the country is such a blend of modernization and technology, but also history and traditiona.. but I guess that storyline never fits into these books that just want to talk about how “magical” everything there is… I feel like it does a diservice to people who may read about India but never go there…will these readers now think everyone in India just sits around doing yoga all day and nothing else?
    Have you read any books like this, too? Because it seems like I have hit upon a fair number of them in the past few years.


  5. minnesotameetskarnataka
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 20:40:55

    Hi Andrea,

    I agree that genre is annoying. Have you read the book “Eat, Pray, Love” yet? What did you think of it?

    I read the Amazon snippet about “There is Room for You”. Sounds like it is more about stuffy Britishers and Americans than about India.

    I agree it doesn’t do anybody any good to reduce people to stereotypes or only make 1 dimensional characters.


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