Posted in Food and Drink, My Bibliothèque, Non Fiction

{ Book Review } – In Defence of Food: an Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan

In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In a pill sized summary, the book tells us to ” Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” It opens with this and it is also all that it has to offer to us. But it ends up winding 200 pages filled with small portions of excellent food wisdom, some of which is pretty common today, and large portions of extremely boring, number crunching information, which I found so exhausting that I ended up not even bothering to fact check them: I just speed read them and moved on. I felt that what was 20, may be 40 page manifesto about eating in moderation, mostly local and vegetarian was stuffed with two beanbag worth of fillers to make it sound impactful. But those 20 pages are something that I found to a really interesting perspective on food. So hang in there for those, it was worth it.

The image is from my own instagram account and can be found here

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Posted in Food and Drink, My Bibliothèque, Non Fiction

{ Book review } – The Flavour of Spice by Marryam H. Reshii!

The Flavour of SpiceThe Flavour of Spice by Marryam H. Reshii

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For a self-described foodie that I am, reading food-themed non-fiction is not my forte. Quite frankly, nonfiction, in general, is not my forte. But reading about food make reading nonfiction easier for me. So, in a bid to read more nonfiction, in the latter half of 2018, I picked up 2 non-fiction books on this subject. One is Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat ( which I still haven’t finished ), and the second is The Flavour of Spice by Marryam Reshi. Hoping to add to that count gradually, every year. I cannot assure you if you will love the book, but what I am sure about is that once you are done with the book, you will not look at a grain of mustard or poppy, a piece of cinnamon, a corn of pepper or a strand saffron in the same way as before.

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Posted in My Bibliothèque, Non Fiction

{ Book Review } – Like a Girl by Aparna Jain!

Like A GirlLike A Girl by Aparna Jain

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I picked up Like A Girl after coming across a post by Shikha of @chicabeingme who is one of the 26 wonderful illustrators who has worked on the lovely illustrations in the book about 56 amazing women from vastly diverse backgrounds from across India. Picked it up last night and sprinted through these amazing women, picking up again today after lunch because I couldn’t wait. Like A Girl has been penned for everyone, as a bedtime reading for the young as well as for adults like me who are looking to रफू ( darn ) some holes in my awareness about the amazing icons from India who happen to be female. I almost typed ‘female’ icons earlier but hit backspace because they are icons to all of us and not just other women. There are names on the list that you will recognise at a glance, historical figures, sportswomen, artists, activists and more. And their tales are told with a beautiful personal touch to each with a manner that kids would find inspiring and adults would find endearing. But just like not all triumphs have to be professional or academic, some can be deeply personal and private, some of these women have emerged as heroes in a manner we don’t always identify as a win. And therefore, the parts that left me more significantly awed and overwhelmed were the ones on Bhanwari Devi, Shah Bano Begum, Rashida Bi and Champa Devi Shukla, Gauri Sawant, Dayamani Barla, Birubala Rabha and Irom Sharmila Chanu. I am sure I am missing quite a few names here but that is what you have to read the book for. 🙂

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Posted in My Bibliothèque, Non Fiction

{ Book Review } Hidden Figures : The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly!

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space RaceHidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hidden Figures is a true account of a group of black American mathematicians ( I won’t use ‘African Americans’ because the book doesn’t discuss their ethnic heritage so it would be wrong to assume ) who provided substantial contributions to the advancements made by US of A in aircraft tech and space research between 1940s to 1970s. It follows the lives of 3 mathematicians, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, who were “computers” with NACA ( now NASA) called so because they used pencils, slide rules and computing tables to perform complex calculations that would help the engineers model or modify aircraft tech.

It begins in an America which was still shackled by “equal but separate ” adage, which wasn’t true factually speaking. Separate schools, separate bathrooms and separate sections in cafeterias just scratch the surface of the discrimination that was on rampart. The bigger problem was white folks calcified and calloused attitude to this discrimination. The Black schools lacked severely infrastructure and facilities. Even qualified black graduates could not apply to most of the positions in the civil service or private sector, definitely not the white collared ones. A lot of beaches and resorts were out of bounds for them, even the well to do populations, even the ones with the means to pay for them.  They were declined services almost in all such places. The Great Depression that followed WW II was a creak, a tiny opening in the door, for these well qualified, highly deserving women, the who, until then, had to be satisfied with underpaying teaching jobs and such. However, it did set the tone for more opportunities in the days to come. Each of these women came from a background, no different than you and me, and grew up instilled with values, self esteem and a thirst to prove themselves and reliance on work hard. One of my favourite quotes from the book is something young Katherine Goble’s father taught each of his children:

You are no better than anyone else, and no one is better than you.

Continue reading “{ Book Review } Hidden Figures : The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly!”