Piya mentioned in passing how impressed she was by Vivek Shanbhag’s book Ghachar Ghochar but the book she wanted us to have a taste of was The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. This modern fairytale food literature has a nine-year-old girl as the protagonist. She has a gift- she can read the emotions of the people who cook the dishes she eats. One day, she is surprised to taste despair in her mother’s lemon cake- a cake she loves deeply. She spits out the cake out – she cannot comprehend her mother’s feelings. As she grows up, she tries to hide this talent and lives on packaged food- to save herself from the consequences of flashbacks. In parallel, family skeletons tumble out and she realizes the problems that her family really faced. The story ends on a positive note. Rose Edelstein becomes a food quality tester. On the whole, Piya found the book to be a fun read replete with recipes and a pinch of family drama.
If fiction is not your cup of tea and you are looking for some company history, Commodore: A Company on the Edge is a good bet. Sudharsan enlightened us about how once upon a time in pre-Apple days, the proverbial Garden of Eden had one prominent PC company. Brian Bagnall talks about the how the company grew and is the case with most success stories that turn failures how the core team destroyed pretty much everyone who created value for the company.
Akshay Arora quite enjoyed The Shape of Ideas: An Illustrated Exploration of Creativity by the genius illustrator Grant Snider, dentist turned artist. His comics are fun to read and philosophical at times. “The book looks like a children’s book,” Akshay said, “But it’s far from it. Every panel is different and sometimes poetic, sometimes funny. I haven’t been able to convince my friends about the value of this book which is why I got it here.” It was the first time that a reader read out portions of a comic strip. Here are some of the comics that Akshay mentioned: Opportunity Knocks, Theories of Disappointment, and Nothing.
You can read Snider’s interview here.
More books in Part 7.