- May 31 - King Library Opens at 1:00 PM
From the Indian state of Gujarat, descendants of the Khatri clan have migrated and scattered aroundthe globe. Beginning with the story of her great grandfather who went to Fiji and became a successful merchant, Minal Hajratwaladescribes her extended family’s diaspora, focusing on a particular relative in each generation while discussing the historical, political and social issues that led to their leaving their home country and settling in another. Her relatives in South Africa built their business under apartheid; an ancestor in India participated in Gandhi’s salt march. Minal’s own family of origin, who eventually settled in the United States, highlights the complications of immigration: at one time each member travelled on a passport from a different country of birth. At the end of the book, Minal’s relatives reside in India , Fiji, Australia, Great Britain, South Africa, Hong Kong, Canada and the United States. A fascinating story of immigration and the process of assimilation into new cultures and identities.
"Cliff Winnig has studied North Indian Classical (Hindustani) music since 1994, specializing in sitar. He spent over a dozen years learning with Maestro Ali Akbar Khan. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Chicago and a master’s in music from the University of Texas at Austin."
Join us as Cliff plays the sitar, talks about how the instrument works, and explains how the popularity of the sitar has evolved over the years.
You can learn more about Cliff — who is also a writer — at his website cliffwinnig.com.
The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems.
- Mohandas K. Gandhi
I admit it: I am an unabashed Gandhi-phile. I love Mohandas K. Gandhi!
How could you not love a unassuming bespectacled man who stood 5'4" in a loincloth and went from being tongue-tied talking to a handful of people in a London parlor to speaking with enormous moral conviction to millions of Indians – and to the daunting might of the British Empire. This was a man who led his countrymen and women from the indignities of colonization to independence from the British – not with suicide bombs, vitriol or Facebook – but with nonviolence, love and an adherence to truth. And it worked – the British Empire left India.
An excellent introduction to the life of the Mahatma is Richard Attenborough's deservedly award-winning film, Gandhi. A labor of love, it is said that the director poured over every photograph and newsreel known to exist of Gandhi's life to recreate this biopic as accurately and movingly as possible. Check out the astonishing opening scene with a literal cast of thousands (actually it was over 300,000) – the largest number of extras ever used in the history of film – and of course this was all pre-computer animation or digital enhancement!
Finally if after watching the movie you, like me, catch the Gandhi bug, Gandhi's Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth has a surprisingly candid and intimate voice. I found it as much a good read as it is a window into one of the most compelling movements of the 20th century.
We’re continuing to head east in this week’s installment of our “You Are Here” reading lists. These books span the massive continent of Asia, including India, China, and Japan.
Teens, don’t forget… You still have nearly two weeks to submit your five reviews for the Summer Reading Celebration in order to pick up your free book. We still have drawings left at all SJPL locations for two $50 bookstore giftcards. We also encourage those of you with the time and imagination to submit a video review for a chance to win a NOOK Color! Check these awesome book trailers out for some inspiration if you want to get cinematic, but remember, it can be as simple as you in front of the camera talking about a book you enjoyed.
Chain Mail : Addicted to You by Hiroshi Ishizaki
The boundaries between reality and fantasy become blurred when four disillusioned Tokyo teenagers, who have never met, collaborate to write an online fictional story--a psychological thriller told from four points of view.
Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet by Kashmira Sheth
Growing up with her family in Mumbai, India, sixteen-year-old Jeeta disagrees with much of her mother's traditional advice about how to live her life and tries to be more modern and independent.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa
On the first day at a Japanese high school, an irrepressible girl announces her lack of interest in "ordinary humans" and proceeds to form a club dedicated to finding aliens, time travelers, and other forms of supernatural life, with the intention of having fun with them.
Subway Girl by P.J. Converse
In Hong Kong, Chan Tze Man, called Simon Chan, leaves high school because he cannot master English, but when he befriends Amy, a Chinese American who knows little Chinese, their unlikely bond gives hope to both.
Swimming in the Monsoon Sea by Shyam Selvadurai
The setting is Sri Lanka, 1980, and it is the season of monsoons. Life for Amrith seems rather uneventful and orderly, but things change in a hurry when his male cousin arrives from Canada.
Wandering Warrior by Da Chen
Eleven-year-old Luka, destined to become the future emperor of China, is trained in the ways of the kung fu wandering warriors by the wise monk Atami.
The Watery Part of the World by Michael Parker – This beautifully-written story takes place in two separate time periods which sometimes, like water, seem to blend together--the early 1800’s and the 1970’s--on storm-beaten Yaupon Island off the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The historical portion of the novel deals with the mystery of the missing daughter of disgraced Vice-President Aaron Burr, Theodosia, who disappeared at sea in 1813. For purposes of this story, she was saved from death by pirates by feigning insanity and survived, barely, on Yaupon, forever cut off from the mainland and her former life. She is the ancestress of two older sisters, Maggie and Whaley, who struggle to remain on the island of their births, now down to a population of three, in the 70’s. Woodrow Thornton, the only other modern inhabitant and himself a descendant of a freed slave who worked for Theodosia, is the sisters’ only support system; together they cling to their intermingled yet solitary island lives.
The Silent Land by Graham Joyce – I really had a hard time putting this book down! I found myself wanting to finish it quickly without detouring to read other books as I often do. Essentially it is a love story about a married couple on a ski holiday who get caught in an avalanche but manage to rescue themselves, only to find themselves in an evacuated mountain village still being threatened. An impending sense of doom permeates, while at the same time the story is moving and uplifting. The novel can only be described as compelling because although the reader suspects where the story is going, it is necessary to find out the meaning of the trip!
Miss Timmin’s School for Girls by Nayana Currimbhoy – This atmospheric fiction debut is set in a girl’s boarding school in 1974 India where world societal changes that started in the sixties have filtered into even this closed society. In a bit of a switch, scandals are brought by the adults in charge rather than the students themselves. Stories and rumors swirl around the proper headmistress and her teachers, including Charu Apte, the new teacher from a respectable family with secrets of its own, and the wild English woman teacher, Moira Prince, who sets her sights on Charu. Moira seduces sheltered 21-year-old Charu and introduces her to characters in the community offering the glamor of casual drugs and vice; then one night during the monsoon season the conflicted Charu quarrels with Moira who then falls - or is pushed - to her death in a mountainous area known as “table-land.” These plot lines are woven together as part cultural lesson and part 70’s history lesson, with portrayals of terrific student characters who turn into sleuths to attempt to solve all the mysteries.
Sister by Rosamund Lupton – This is another compelling read which is a psychological thriller/mystery but is also a moving family story about an older sister’s love for her younger sister. Beatrice rushes to London from her home in New York when she learns her free-spirited younger sister Tess is missing; when Tess is found dead and Beatrice learns that she died shortly after giving birth to a stillborn child, she refuses to believe that Tess took her own life. Soon she is virtually inhabiting her sister’s life, living where she lived, working where she worked, in an effort to solve the mystery of her untimely death. The story is written in the form of letter to her sister; the reader knows that somehow Beatrice has proved her theory and that Tess was actually murdered, but the search for the killer continues until the final twist ending. There is a lot of buzz about this book!
Refusing to become an unpaid servant in her brother’s household, widow Dina Dalal takes in a student boarder and hires two pariah tailors to do piecework in her simple tenement flat. These four unlikely characters together form a household unit, dependent on each other for sustenance and support. A tale of urban slum life in Mrs. Gandhi’s India of the 1970s, where everything can be fixed – for a price – and where being in the right place at the wrong time can have disastrous consequences. A comparable book with a similar theme is The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga.