I’m posting after a really long time but this is one blog post I was excited for from a very long time! Today is my stop for the Hungry Hearts Food Crawl organised by CW @ The Quiet Pond and Vicky @ Vicky Who Reads. This blog tour is unique and wonderful because #OwnVoices reviewers review a story that represents them. Today I will be sharing my thoughts on Rain by Sangu Mandanna, which features food from the state of India I was born in and belong to, Karnataka. I wanted to include some additional creative content, so the review is followed by a bookish tag that some of my book blogging friends and I came up with. Without further ado, let’s get to the heart of the post!
Rain by Sangu Mandanna is the first story in the Hungry Hearts anthology and it really sets the tone for the entire book. It follows Anna, a British-Indian girl whose mother recently passed away and her journey of coming to terms with that. At the start, she is hurting and can’t see past all the terrible changes in her life after her mother’s passing. Her aunt invites her and her father over to stay in Hungry Hearts Row, hoping the change of scenery will help Anna heal.
The story is mainly about Anna trying to recreating her mother’s favourite, Pandi curry. This is a dish that originates from the Kodagu district in Karnataka but as a vegetarian, I’m not familiar with the dish myself. However, it is heart-warming to watch Anna try to recreate the dish from the memory of its taste alone – a complicated process that involved multiple tries – and how it helps her overcome her grief. It brings her closer to her father, with whom she had been growing distant since her mother died. It also brings her closer to her aunt, who played a crucial role in finally getting the recipe right.
The important theme here is how food is an integral part of our lives and how it can bring comfort in the darkest of times. I love how Mandanna infuses the story with desi elements. We Indians have a special relationship with our food and it stands out from other cuisines because of the staggering variety that changes from region to region and the spices we use to get a symphony of flavours. The connection I had with this story intensified when familiar ingredients were mentioned and used. Not only did the story successfully make me feel more hopeful and wholesome, but it also made me hungry for my mother’s traditional food. This is a story best read with your favourite comfort food at hand!
From some of your favorite bestselling and critically acclaimed authors —including Sandhya Menon, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Rin Chupeco — comes a collection of interconnected short stories that explore the intersection of family, culture, and food in the lives of thirteen teens.
A shy teenager attempts to express how she really feels through the confections she makes at her family’s pasteleria. A tourist from Montenegro desperately seeks a magic soup dumpling that could cure his fear of death. An aspiring chef realizes that butter and soul are the key ingredients to win a cooking competition that could win him the money to save his mother’s life. Welcome to Hungry Hearts Row, where the answers to most of life’s hard questions are kneaded, rolled, baked. Where a typical greeting is, “Have you had anything to eat?” Where magic and food and love are sometimes one and the same.
Told in interconnected short stories, Hungry Hearts explores the many meanings food can take on beyond mere nourishment. It can symbolize love and despair, family and culture, belonging and home.
Elsie Chapman grew up in Prince George, Canada, and has a degree in English literature from the University of British Columbia. She is the author of the YA novels Dualed, Divided, Along the Indigo, and Caster as well as the MG novel All the Ways Home, and co-editor of A Thousand Beginnings and Endings and Hungry Hearts. She currently lives in Tokyo, Japan, with her family.
Caroline Tung Richmond is an award-winning young adult author, whose historical novels include The Only Thing to Fear, The Darkest Hour, and Live In Infamy. She’s also the co-editor of the anthology Hungry Hearts, which features stories about food and will come out in June 2019 from Simon Pulse. Her work is represented by Jim McCarthy of Dystel & Goderich. Caroline is also the Program Director of We Need Diverse Books, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that advocates for diversity in children’s publishing. After growing up in the Washington, D.C. area Caroline now lives in Virginia with her family.
Sangu Mandanna was four years old when an elephant chased her down a forest road and she decided to write her first story about it. Seventeen years and many, many manuscripts later, she signed her first book deal. Sangu now lives in Norwich, a city in the east of England, with her husband and kids.
The Prize: 2 Finished Copies of Hungry Hearts (one INTL, one US)
Link to Rafflecopter
Let’s move on to the second part of the blog post! Charvi @ Not Just Fiction, Shruti @ This is Lit and I are bringing back the second edition of Indian Lit Readathon in July and when we were brainstorming ideas to promote our little reading endeavour, Shruti suggested a bookish tag based on Indian sweets. As a self-confessed sweet connoisseur, this was right up my alley. Today we bring to you this brainchild of ours that will definitely have you drooling by the end of it! The Bookish Indian Sweets Tag is a fun book tag for which you need to choose books based on prompts that are inspired by Indian sweets. I have tried to choose as many Indian books as possible for this to help promote Indian literature and it would be lovely if those tagged could do the same, but it’s not mandatory.
- Link back to either one of the original creator’s post (Link 1 | Link 2 | Link 3)
- Include the graphic below in your post
- Tag a few of your friends and have fun!
Bookish Indian Sweets Tag
Holige – An underrated book you like to recommend
A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna
Jilebi – A book that surpassed your expectations
Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag
Rasgulla – Your bookish OTP
Vikram and Gauri from A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi
Gulab Jamun – A book everyone would enjoy
Hungry Hearts edited by Elsie Chapman and Caroline Tung Richmond
Kalakand – A book you devoured in one sitting
Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani
Petha – A rare book you own
10th anniversary edition of The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Soan Papdi – A book you wish had a sequel
Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri
Kaaju Katli – A book you think is worth the hype
The Immortals of Meluha by Amish Tripathi
About Indian Lit Readathon
Indian Lit Readathon is a 48-hour readathon aims at encouraging readers to pick up books written by Indian authors or authors of Indian origin. It’s being hosted this year by Charvi @ Not Just Fiction, Shruti @ This Is Lit and myself. The readathon this time is taking place over the weekend, July 6th and 7th, with fun Twitter sprints, prompts and giveaways running in the background! It officially starts at 12:00 AM IST on Saturday and goes on to run till 11:59 PM on Sunday. This readathon is not exclusive to Indian readers only and anyone can participate. The prompts this year are more challenging and are centred around the theme of the Mahabharata, the well-beloved Indian epic. A book can count for multiple prompts and the aim is to finish any row, column, diagonal or the whole of the bingo board.
- Arjuna: A book with the chosen one trope
- Dhritarashtra: A book featuring a character with a disability
- Ekalavya: A book about the caste system
- Karna: A book with less than 500 ratings on GR
- Krishna: A book about or based on mythology
- Shikhandi: A book with a trans character
- Vyasa: A book written in verse/poetry book
- Yudhishtira: A book with social justice themes
- Indraprastha: A book set in a palace/about royalty
- Kurukshetra: A book about power struggle
- Bhagavad Gita: A self-help/philosophical book
- Chakravyuh: A book which promises plot twists
- Adi Parva: The first book in a series
- Aranya Parva: A book with trees on the cover
- Bhishma Parva: A book about family dynamics
- Stri Parva: A book with feminist themes
Looking to build your TBR? Follow Indian Lit Readathon on Twitter and Instagram for book recommendations for each of the prompts! If the readathon sounds like your cup of chai, please sign up officially here. If you want to help us out by hosting Twitter sprints, please fill out this form. Happy reading, everyone!
Are you excited for the Hungry Hearts anthology? Which is your favourite food? Will you be taking part in the Indian Lit Readathon? Let’s discuss in the comments section below!