Posted in Fiction, Food and Drink, My Bibliothèque, Women's Fiction

{ Book Review } – The Vegetarian by Han Kang!

I have always believed that that Literary Award Winners do not turn out to be great for me. So, when my previous pick, “All the Light You Cannot See” turned out to a good one, I started on The Han King with a lot of optimism. But, I wish I could say I could I enjoyed it. Because The Vegetarian by Han Kang did not turn out to be the book that left me revelling in its after-effects. I say this because that is what usually happens to me when I really enjoy a book. And that is also the reason I don’t rate books in x number of stars or points out of 10. How I liked/did not like the book is often impossible to quantify in numbers or stars. To begin with, The Vegetarian was nowhere even close to what I had thought it would. The book and its premise had got me super curious and super interested but it was way off my expectations/initial impressions of it. Not that it is always a bad thing, but when that happens, I am no longer 100% invested in finishing it. In this change, it is a short book so I hang on to it, but the progression didn’t translate into the book getting interesting for me. I already suspect that anyone reading my review will find it inexplicably bizarre, which is exactly how I found the book to be. But I will give it a try.

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Posted in Food and Drink, My Bibliothèque, Romance

{ Book Review } – Alphabet Soup for Lovers by Anita Nair!

Alphabet Soup for Lovers is not a collection of recipes. Nor is it a riveting tale of two ill-fated lovers who get together after a long struggle, sacrifices or a display of strong character. For me, Alphabet Soup for Lovers felt like tucking in a bowl of warm, ghee laced khichdi, occasionally biting into a whole peppercorn or a piece of mango pickle accompanied by a rather limp, oil soaked papad which should have brought it some texture and flavours into the khichdi but ended up rather being a nuisance.

Book 4 / 36 – Alphabet Soup for Lovers by Anita Nair is not a collection of recipes. Nor is it a riveting tale of two ill-fated lovers who get together after a long struggle, sacrifices or a display of strong character. For me, Alphabet Soup for Lovers felt like tucking into a bowl of warm, ghee laced khichdi, occasionally biting into a whole peppercorn or a piece of mango pickle accompanied by a rather limp, oil soaked papad which should have brought it some texture and flavours into the khichdi but ended up rather being a nuisance. The story begins with the narrator and my favourite character in the book, Komathi, expressing her frustration at not being able to pick up the English Alphabet. She is an old retainer of the female protagonist, Lena, who lives in the idyllic Nilgiris and is described to be in a sort of an emotionless relationship with her husband KK. In contrast, the Komathi's character is very well etched. And the food metaphors that she uses are endearing. She decides to associate each letter with a fruit, vegetable or dish. That way she will never forget it. As she winds her way through alphabets, she is mostly an impassive witness to the illicit attraction that springs up between Lena and Shoola Pani. As she goes through this beautiful journey from A for Arisi Appalam, choosing the humble Appalam over her granddaughter's A for Apple and makes her way to the calm and soothing end with Z for Zigarthanda ( I know, it starts with J but Komathi chooses Jigarthanda for Z ) her back story unravels revealing a surprise, an unrequited love, and explains why her thoughts are what they are. What I did not like was how hollow the rest of the characters and the stories sound in the book. I found them dull because nothing explains why a character behaves the way she/he behaves. Not their thoughts, not their words and neither a third person assesment of their behaviour, like Komathi's thoughts about them explains the story development. Looks like the author didn't heed Komathi's advice and fried the Arisi Appalams in smoking hot oil, leaving the Appalam uncooked on the inside and sticking to the reader's teeth. Detailed review on the blog, link in bio!

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Posted in Fantasy, Food and Drink, Magical Realism, My Bibliothèque

{ Book Review } – Chocolat by Joanne Harris!

Chocolat is a novel about a young single mother, Vianne Rocher, who arrives in a tiny yet picturesque French village of Lansquenet on Tannes with her daughter Anouk and opens a chocolaterie just before Lent. In a village that has, till now, let a simple and strictly by-the-book life, mostly thanks to the village priest Francis Reynaud who believes himself to be the village’s moral and religious compass, this causes an uproar. Obviously, tensions run high and for a while, it feels that Vianne and Anouk are never going to find a home in this village with its lovely, compassionate, yet a little scared, residents. However, with a bit of faith, belief, magic and lots of chocolate (Vianne has a knack for guessing people’s favorite kind of chocolate), they don’t just make friends in Lansquenet but also find a home.

We came on the wind of the carnival. A warm wind for February, laden with the hot greasy scents of frying pancakes and sausages and powdery sweet waffles cooked on a hot plate right there by the roadside.

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Posted in Food and Drink, My Bibliothèque

{Book Review} – Julie and Julia, by Julie Powell !

Julie and Julia is a book where a 30-something secretary, who lives in Long Island city with her husband, Eric and a number of pets, including a snake called Zuzu (?),  named Julie Powell chronicles her experiences about her self-invented “Julie/Julia Project” and her experiences through those 365 days. The Julie/Julia project entails cooking 524 recipes from the Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking ( MtAoFC) in the span of one year and documenting her experiences in her blog. She comes up with this project to break the monotony of her boring life.

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