Shoba Narayan, a journalist and columnist, has a second memoir out. Here is my review of it at PopMatters. Narayan, a Columbia grad, returned to India with her family after two decades in New York City. This memoir is about how, while living in Bangalore, she bought a cow. Overall, the book is a compelling and different take on a prominent and vastly popular subject: the place of the cow in Indian culture and history. But, of course, it is so much more than that. It is also an insightful and humorous account of the reverse immigration journey and how she navigated and negotiated those endless terrains of personal identity, familial belonging, and social community to assimilate on her own terms. This is a well-researched and well-written account and uses humor at just the right moments.
A book review I wrote about a lovely nonfiction book: Souvenir (Object Lessons) by Rolf Potts: In French, " se souvenir de quelque chose" means "to remember something". Potts takes us on a meditative sojourn across several millennia as he describes the evolution of travel from the early nomadic migrations to religious pilgrimages to modern tourism. Along the way, he analyzes how this evolution has changed the way travelers and tourists have identified with and collected souvenirs to preserve memories and pass on stories. Further, he describes how these psychological shifts have, in turn, transformed the souvenir from a rare/magical treasure to a mass-produced commodity.
If you have been following along with this monthly series, you may have journaled to the lists of prompts in January and February. If not, no worries. Each month is a discrete list so you can join in at any time. Here is a list of prompts for March: all related to the place of technology in our lives. Also, a couple of lovely essays from Barbara Ehrenreich (on journaling) and Zadie Smith (on technology — specifically, social media.) If you would like to discuss any of these technology-related questions, feel free to share in the comments below or use the Contact link to send a private message.