Climbing the Mango Trees


Photo of Mango Tree

Actor, Cook, Food Writer, Madhur Jaffrey has accomplished a lot during her life (and is still going strong). Her memoir Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India bridges it all, giving us a look into growing up in India and, of course, a few recipes to bring India into your own home. Although the book was published in 2006, it is still gaining fans, with a recent mention on Splendid Table. Audio of that interview and an older one from KCRW's Good Food is below with links to the full shows.

Here is the audio of her interview on March 8, 2008 on the Splendid Table. You can listen to the entire show on the Splendid Table archives:

Here is the older October 14, 2006 interview on Good Food:

There's also an excerpt from the book and more interviews on npr.org.

If all the talk is making you hungry, AADL has plenty of Madhur Jaffrey's books to keep you occupied. There are also some recipes on BBC Food. Here are just a few of the books we have:

A word of warning: some of the older cookbooks were before many of the traditional spices were readily available, so they make substitutions.

Truthiness: Faux Memoires

Four copies of Love and Consequences: a Memoir of Hope and Survival by Margaret B. Jones made it into the collection before the publisher’s recall got them. The author detailed her life growing up as a foster child with Big Mom in the LA ghetto, running drugs. Kirkus Reviews praised the “hardened voice of experience, steely and honest.” Library Journal thought “this conversationally written, exquisitely detailed book is as close to a living experience of the American ghetto as one can get.”

Her real-life sister called the publisher when she found out about the book. Margaret B. Jones was not a foster child, not part American Indian, and did not run drugs for a gang. Margaret Seltzer is actually all white, raised by her natural parents, and went to an Episcopal high school in North Hollywood.

There are eight holds on the library’s copies. We will recatalog the book as Fiction once the holds list has been exhausted.

The library does not own the other fictional memoir in the news this week. Misha: a Memoire of the Holocaust Years, by Misha Defonseca, has been translated into eighteen languages and made into a movie. Misha Defonseca (Monique De Wael) turns out not to be Jewish, not to have been trapped in the Warsaw ghetto, not adopted by wolves, and did not kill a German soldier in self-defense. Her parents were murdered by the Nazis. If you would like to read a memoir of the Holocaust, the library has many excellent choices.

Meet Mat in Malaysia, in Lat's Graphic Novel, Kampung Boy

Kampung Boy by one of the most beloved cartoonists of Southeast Asia, Lat tell the story of Mat, a Muslim boy growing up on a rubber plantation in rural 1950s Malaysia. The sequel, Town Boy follows Mat as he attends boarding school, moves to the city and experiences budding romance and a growing passion for art. Recently available in the US Lat's autobiographical stories will take you to a time and a place that barely exists in Malaysia anymore. The warm and expressive pen-and-ink drawings will draw you into Mat's world.

The Coach Calls it Quits

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Bobby Knight announced his retirement last night after winning more games than any men's coach in major college basketball history and collecting three NCAA titles. Arguably the best hoop strategist ever, Knight was the subject of the best basketball book written, A Season On the Brink. Sadly, his temper on and off the court caused him to leave his beloved Hoosiers behind for Texas Tech but his legacy of graduating players and playing by the book earned him his rightful place in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Write Your Memoir with Sally Lawler

If you have been thinking about writing your memoir, and are fifty or above, this is the time! Register now by calling 327-4560 for the free 8-week workshop, Reconstructing Life Stories, starting Jan. 17 at 1:00-3:00 (Group 1) or 3:00-5:00 (Group 2). Past participants praise social work librarian Sally Lawler for creating a comfortable atmosphere, where they feel safe to read their thoughts to the small group and to receive helpful suggestions and encouragement. AADL has several books that can help you start keeping a journal and learn more about how to write your life story.

My Secret Addiction

For several years, I suffered from addiction. My poison came not in a bottle, but in the form of biopics about musicians. The cheesier and made-for-TV-ier, the better, I felt. Sure Walk The Line and Ray honoured Johnny Cash’s and Ray Charles’s musical legacy while making them appear as three dimensional humans, but these movies didn’t do it for me. In fact, the past few years, Hollywood has left my addiction far from sated. But good news for me and everyone else with this disease (that’s right, CDC, addiction is a disease; live with it!) Jake Kasdan, son of U of M alum Larry Kasdan, has teamed up with Judd Apatow and filmed Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance [AUDIOBOOK-CD]

Dreams from My Father by "Barack Obama", is one of the best audiobook memoirs about race and exploration of one's identity and family history I have ever listened to. Obama's father (Barack Obama Sr.) was black from Kenya and his mother (Stanley Ann Dunham) was white from Kansas. His descriptions of the struggle to figure out who he is and who his relatives are, are compelling. The whole scenario regarding racial concerns is very informative; it exposes the world to this reality and at the same time teaches us to be more considerate. I really enjoyed listening to such a wonderful Audio Biography of a smart, well-intentioned and accomplished man; as well as, the interesting Memoirs of his past, present and future life in the great land of freedom and opportunities--USA.

Life of Nathaniel Stacy, first Universalist pastor in Ann Arbor

submitted by Wystan Stevens

The St. Andrew's history committee should check out this book, which I discovered during a Google Books search. Nathaniel Stacy published his memoirs in 1850, and this rare volume is now in the Universalist collection at Harvard University -- and fully readable online. Stacy was invited in 1835 to pastor the Ann Arbor Universalist congregation, and he came and stayed here about five years. He discusses the establishment of the Universalist church in Michigan, his acquaintance with Mssrs. Kellogg and Fuller, businessmen of Lower Town Ann Arbor who were members of his congregation, and his conversion to Universalism of John Williams, an ex-Calvinist (Presbyterian) farmer of Webster Township. The Ann Arbor material in Stacy's book begins on page 383.

Stacy's account has several pages on his own financial troubles, and he relates them in strong terms to the immoral craze of speculation that afflicted Michigan in the 1830s -- the era of Wildcat Banks and worthless paper money. The St. Andrew's history committee should relish the account of his doctrinal dispute with the pastors of the mainline protestant churches of Ann Arbor, which resulted in a public challenge to debate each of them -- either in his pulpit or in their own.

The debate challenge was flung boldly, via a letter printed in the Ann Arbor Argus and the Ann Arbor Journal, and it was ignored by all of the pastors except, finally, Mr. Marks, the Episcopal minister, who published his retort to Stacy (a lengthy letter) in the same newspapers. After that, Marks avoided Stacy on the street. Then he left town . . . .

Portrait of Rev. Nathaniel Stacy, in the fronticepiece of his memoirs:

Around page 450, Stacy writes briefly of his return visit to Ann Arbor years later, by train.

Jonathan Franzen's Non Fiction

Jonathan Franzen is known for his novels, especially “The Corrections” of several years back. But did you know that he is an engaging and intelligent non-fiction writer as well? I enjoyed his book of essays “How to be Alone,” which you will surmise is not a self-help book, but a more serious book about our culture. You might also like “The Discomfort Zone, a Personal History,” a memoir which displays a nice irony. Franzen can laugh at himself. You can find both these books, as well as Franzen’s novels in our collection.

Schulz and Peanuts

Peanuts and mePeanuts and me

Morning Edition on NPR today interviewed David Michaelis, author of the new book Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography.
Michaelis's book states that the Peanuts strip strongly reflected Schulz's own life. I don't find that surprising but Michalis biography is controversial particularly with the Schulz family who feel that the book presents him less positively than they believe correct.
I'm looking forward to reading the book. It seems like Charlie Brown has been around me forever.
Click here for books by Charles Schulz

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