The Tiger Ladies


Sudha Koul - 2002
    . . casts its quiet spell over the reader. The writing is so evocative that you feel you are there, seeing, tasting, touching, and smelling this once enchanted place." -Scotia W. MacCrae, Philadelphia Inquirer Sitting in her grandmother Dhanna's kitchen, surrounded by the aromas of mint and the smoke of a hookah, warmed by the kangri tucked beneath her thighs, young Sudha Koul listened to tales of She Who Fears Nothing: The Tiger Lady, stories Sudha would repeat to her own daughters in time, though in a kitchen many thousands of miles away from her beloved Kashmir. This is a magical memoir of a land now consumed by political and religious turmoil, a richly detailed story of a girl's passage into maturity, marriage, and motherhood in the midst of an exquisite and fragile world that will never be entirely the same. "The Tiger Ladies is immensely, gracefully sad, an elegy for the customs and the courtliness of an irrecoverable civilization. Yet there is a sensuality running through her story . . . provided by Ms. Koul's devotion to Kashmiri cuisine and her description of how she has, through her kitchen, sought to keep alive the old Kashmiri ways." -Tunku Varadarajan, The Wall Street Journal "For those who only associate Kashmir with the violence that has claimed tens of thousands of lives, Koul's lovely, elegiac memoir The Tiger Ladies shows that the isolated vale in the Himalayas was a heaven before it became a hell." -Bryan Walsh, Time ASIA "Sudha Koul's writing is transportive, evoking beautifully the Kashmir we keep in our hearts. Her book is at once a history, memoir, and lesson; the author is both to be congratulated and thanked." -Indira Ganesan, author of Inheritance and The Journey Sudha Koul, like Indira Gandhi and her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, was born a Kashmiri Brahmin, in 1947, the year of the partition of India and Pakistan by the British and the first stirrings of fundamentalism in Kashmir. She completed her graduate education and become a magistrate in India before emigrating with her husband to the United States. Koul is the author of Curries without Worries and Come with Me to India: On a Wondrous Voyage through Time. She lives in New Jersey with her family.

The Sun in the Morning: My Early Years in India and England


M.M. Kaye - 1990
    Kaye's fiction will discover here the source of the characters, settings, and certain incidents of her novels. Most of all, they will bask in this warm account of a young woman's remarkable life--and the beginnings of a love affair with an India whose time has passed but which has not been forgotten. 24 pages of black-and-white photographs.

A Time to Dance, No Time to Weep


Rumer Godden - 1987
    28 photos.

In Cod We Trust: Living the Norwegian Dream


Eric Dregni - 2008
    More than one hundred years later, his great-grandson traveled back to find that (mostly due to oil and natural gas discoveries) it is now the richest. The circumstances of his return were serendipitous; the notice that Dregni won a Fulbright Fellowship for a year arrived the same week as the knowledge that his wife Katy was pregnant. Braving a birth abroad and benefiting from a remarkably generous health care system, the Dregnis' family came full circle when their son Eilif was born in Norway." "In this cross-cultural memoir, Dregni tells the hair-raising, hilarious, and sometimes poignant stories of his family's yearlong Norwegian experiment. Among the exploits he details are staying warm in a remote grass-roofed hytte (hut), surviving a dinner of rakfisk (fermented fish) thanks to 80-proof aquavit, and identifying his great-grandfather's house in the Lusterfjord only to find out it had been crushed by a boulder and then swept away by a river. To subsist on a student stipend, he rides the meat bus to Sweden for cheap salami with a group of knitting pensioners. A week later, he and his wife travel to the Lofoten Islands and gnaw on klippefisk (dried cod) while cats follow them through the streets." Dregni's Scandinavian roots do little to prepare him and his family for the year in Trondheim eating herring cakes, obeying the conformist Janteloven (Jante's law), and enduring the morketid (dark time). In Cod We Trust is one Minnesota family's spirited excursion into Scandinavian life. The land of the midnight sun is far stranger than they previously imagined, and their encounters showhow much we can learn from its unique and surprising culture.

A Princess Remembers: The Memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur


Gayatri Devi - 1976
    She was raised in a sumptuous palace staffed with 500 servants and she shot her first panther when she was twelve. She has appeared on the lists of the world's most beautiful women. Gayatri Devi describes her carefree tomboy childhood; her secret six-year courtship with the dashing, internationally renowned polo player, Jai the Maharaja of Jaipur; and her marriage and entrance into the City Palace of the 'pink city' where she had to adjust to unfamiliar customs and life with his two wives. Jai's liberating influence, combined with Gayatri Devi's own strong character, took her well beyond the traditionally limited activities of a Maharani. This is an intimate look at the extraordinary life of one of the world's most fascinating women and an informal history of the princely states of India, from the height of the princes' power to their present state of de-recognition.

Seoul Man: A Memoir of Cars, Culture, Crisis, and Unexpected Hilarity Inside a Korean Corporate Titan


Frank Ahrens - 2016
    Following his new bride to her first appointment in Seoul, South Korea, Frank traded the newsroom for a corporate suite, becoming director of global communications at Hyundai Motors. In a land whose population is ninety-seven percent Korean, he was one of fewer than ten non-Koreans in a company of 5,000 employees.For the next three years, Frank traveled to auto shows and press conferences around the world, pitching Hyundai to former colleagues while trying to navigate cultural differences at home and at work. While his appreciation for absurdity enabled him to laugh his way through many awkward encounters, his job began to take a toll on his marriage and family. Eventually, he became a vice president—the highest-ranking non-Korean in the history of Hyundai—but at an untenable price.Filled with unique insights and told in his engaging, humorous voice, Seoul Man sheds light on a culture few Westerns know, and is a delightfully funny and heartwarming adventure for anyone who has ever felt like a fish out of water—all of us.

The House on Dream Street: Memoir of an American Woman in Vietnam


Dana Sachs - 2000
    A finalist for the Independent Publisher Book Award, this deftly written narrative reveals how Sachs settled in with slick, warmhearted Tung and his quietly tenacious wife Huong in Hanoi and made a place for herself in “enemy” territory. With vivid descriptions of the community—the noodle stalls and roaring motorcycles, the vestiges of French colonialism, and the encroachment of glittering high-rises—Sachs explores the tenuous balance between the traditions of old Vietnam and a country in the throes of modernization. Sachs’s honest depiction of her difficulties renders her triumphs and love for the country and its people all the more poignant and compelling. This edition includes a new afterword by the author.

Gypsy: Memoirs of America's Most Celebrated Stripper


Gypsy Rose Lee - 1957
    Now a fourth, directed by Arthur Laurents and starring Patti LuPone, is lighting up New York, winning top Broadway theatre awards, including three 2008 Tony Awards, as well as raves from critics and audiences: “No matter how long you live, you’ll never see a more exciting production.” —Terry Teachout, The Wall Street Journal “Watch out, New York! This GYPSY is a wallop-packing show of raw power.” —Ben Brantley, The New York Times “Not your ordinary theater experience. This is the best production of the best damn musical ever.” —Liz Smith, Syndicated ColumnistThe memoir, which Gypsy began as a series of pieces for The New Yorker, contains photographs and newspaper clippings from her personal scrapbooks and an afterword by her son, Erik Lee Preminger. At turns touching and hilarious, Gypsy describes her childhood trouping across 1920s America through her rise to stardom as The Queen of Burlesque in 1930s New York—where gin came in bathtubs, gangsters were celebrities, and Walter Winchell was king.Gypsy’s story features outrageous characters—among them Broadway’s funny girl, Fanny Brice, who schooled Gypsy in how to be a star; gangster Waxy Gordon, who fixed her teeth; and her indomitable mother, Rose, who lived by her own version of the Golden Rule: “Do unto others … before they do you.”

Daughter of Empire: My Life as a Mountbatten


Lady Pamela Hicks - 2012
    Pamela Mountbatten entered a remarkable family when she was born at the very end of the Roaring Twenties.As the younger daughter of the glamorous heiress Edwina Ashley and Lord Louis Mountbatten, Pamela spent much of her early life with her sister, nannies, and servants—and a menagerie that included, at different times, a bear, two wallabies, a mongoose, and a lion. Her parents each had lovers who lived openly with the family. The house was always full of guests like Sir Winston Churchill, Noël Coward, Douglas Fairbanks, and the Duchess of Windsor (who brought a cold cooked chicken as a hostess gift).When World War II broke out, Lord Mountbatten was in command of HMS Kelly before being appointed chief of Combined Operations, and Pamela and her sister were sent to live on Fifth Avenue in New York City with Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt. In 1947, her parents were appointed to be the last viceroy and vicereine of India and oversee the transfer of power to an independent Indian government. Amid the turmoil of political change, Pamela worked with student leaders, developed warm friendships with Gandhi and Nehru, and witnessed both the joy of Independence Day and its terrible aftermath. Soon afterwards, she was a bridesmaid in Princess Elizabeth’s wedding to Prince Philip, and was a ladyin- waiting at the young princess’s side when she learned her father had died and she was queen.Vivid and engaging, well-paced and superbly detailed, this witty, intimate memoir is an enchanting lens through which to view the early part of the twentieth century.

From India with Love


Latika Bourke - 2015
    Growing up in Bathurst, New South Wales she felt a deep connection to her Australian home and her Australian family.It wasn't until she heard her name uttered in the hit movie Slumdog Millionaire that Latika recognised she knew nothing of her Indian roots, the world she was born into and what she could have become had she not been brought to Australia as a baby.As Latika carved out a successful career for herself as an award-winning political journalist, she became more and more curious about her heritage and what it meant to be born in India and raised in Australia. And so began a deeply personal and sometimes confronting journey back to her birthplace to unravel the mysteries of her heritage.From India with Love is a beautiful story of finding your place in the world and finding peace with the path that led you there.

Comrades and Strangers: Behind the Closed Doors of North Korea


Michael Harrold - 2004
    For seven years he lived in Pyongyang enjoying privileged access to the ruling classes and enjoying the confidence of the country's young elite. In this fascinating insight into the culture of North Korea he describes the hospitality of his hosts, how they were shaken by the Velvet Revolution of 1989 and many of the fascinating characters he met from South Korean and American GI defectors to his Korean minder and socialite friends. After seven years and having been caught passing South Korean music tapes to friends and going out without his minder to places forbidden to foreigners, he was asked to leave the country.

My Several Worlds


Pearl S. Buck - 1954
    A memoir of the life of the first female Nobel Laureate for Literature, who was also a world citizen and a major humanitarian, Pearl (Sydenstricker) Buck (1892-1973) three quarters of the way through her life. Published by the John Day Company to whose president, Richard John Walsh (1886-1960), she was then married, the book was successful and temporarily revived her waning reputation. The China oriented writer Helen Foster Snow described her partnership with John Day and Walsh as "the most successful writing and publishing partnership in the history of American letters." The firm had published everything she'd written since their marriage in 1935. Her biographer, Professor Peter Conn, describes the book as "a thickly textured representation of the Chinese and American societies in which she had lived." Friend of Eleanor Roosevelt, cultural ambassador between China and America, tireless advocate for racial democracy and women's rights and founder of the first international adoption agency, this is a book by and about a special American citizen of the twentieth century

A Geisha's Journey: My Life as a Kyoto Apprentice


Komomo - 2008
    He began following and documenting the life of teenager Komomo as she studied and grew into her role.Naoyuki Oginos photographs follow Komomos entire journey, from her first tentative visits after finding the geisha house on the internet through her commitment to the hard schedule of an apprentice, learning arts that go back centuries, all the way to the ceremony where she officially became a geiko, as Kyotos geisha are known and beyond. From the cobbled streets where she walks in her elaborate dress to the inner sanctums of her dressing room, these pages offer a rare look at a unique, living art.The photographs are accompanied by autobiographical text and captions by Komomo, as she shares her thoughts and emotions, and describes the day-to-day existence of a Kyoto apprentice. It is an illuminating view of seven years in the life of a very special young woman.

Kaleidoscope City: A Year in Varanasi


Piers Moore Ede - 2014
    For Hindus there is nowhere more sacred; for Buddhists, it is revered as a place where the Buddha preached his first sermon; for Jains it is the birthplace of their two patriarchs. Over the last four thousand years, perhaps no city in the world has stood witness to such a flux of history, from the development of Aryan culture along the Ganges, to invasions that would leave the city in Muslim hands for three centuries, to an independent Brahmin kingdom, British colonial rule, and ultimately independence.But what is the city like today? Home to 2.5 million people, it is visited by twice that number every year. Polluted, overpopulated, religiously divided, but utterly sublime, Varanasi is a living expression of Indian life like no other. Each day 60,000 people bathe in the Ganges. Elderly people come to die here. Widows pushed out by their families arrive to find livelihood. In the city center, the silk trade remains the most important industry, along with textiles and the processing of betel leaf. Behind this facade lurk more sinister industries. Varanasi is a major player in the international drug scene. There's a thriving flesh trade, and a corrupt police force that turns a blind eye.As with Suketu Mehta's Maximimum City Piers Moore Ede tells the city's story by allowing inhabitants to relate their own tales. Whether portraying a Dom Raja whose role it is to cremate bodies by the Ganghes or a khoa maker, who carefully converts cow's milk into the ricotta like substance that forms the base of most sweets, Ede explores the city's most important themes through its people, creating a vibrant portrait of modern, multicultural India.

Flight of Passage: A True Story


Rinker Buck - 1997
    Having grown up in an aviation family, the two boys bought an old Piper Cub, restored it themselves, and set out on the grand journey. Buck is a great storyteller, and once you get airborne with the boys you find yourself absorbed in a story of adventure and family drama. And Flight of Passage is also an affecting look back to the summer of 1966, when the times seemed much less cynical and adventures much more enjoyable.