A Short List of Likes for Late January

Cottage Loaf
Cottage Loaf (Photo credit: mer de glace)

Virginia Woolf: Cottage Loaf.

This is a link to a blog that couples writers and food.  I was so happy to see this recipe from Virginia Woolf.  The writer says this about herself on her About page:

Part historical discussion, part food and recipe blog, part literary fangirl-ing, Paper and Salt attempts to recreate and reinterpret the dishes that iconic authors discuss in their letters, diaries, essays, and fiction.

Nicole is a voracious consumer of both food and literature. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she currently cooks in a very small kitchen in New York City, and currently reads almost everywhere.

I say rush on over and check out her work!

More things I am happy about:

Abi Maxwell’s debut novel, Lake People.  It is incandescent in its plain-spoken lyricism.  So much paradox in that description, I know, but read the book!

I recently discovered the meaning of “paradigm.” A student in a class used it, and I had to go look it up.

Little flurries of snow falling now.

How Joyce describes his potatoes as “floury”

Scandinavian crime drama, in Danish.  It was brought on by my interest in MI-5.  Then The Eagle.  Now, The Protectors. Let my subdue my guilt by pointing out The New Yorker had a recent article  by Lauren Collins in the January 7 issue under “Letter from Copenhagen”on the same.

The quietness of this morning.

When it snows in winter

Indira Ganesan, Almost a Bridge, 2013
Indira Ganesan, Almost a Bridge, 2013

I am as happy as a child waking up to snow-covered landscape as I did this morning. No need to think of work, driving, black ice. Instead, I went out to snap a few photos, of which the one above is the Ansel Adams enhancement.

We had an inch and a half or so of snow, in a year that is different from last year’s mildness. The cold has made it last and I wonder how the horses are faring in the field.

I have begun a new job, with a long commute. For part of the journey I need to drive and be mindful of weather; the other part is where I am passenger, recipient to daydream and reading, the necessary components of composition. As a child, I loved to gaze out the car windows as the Midwestern cornfields swept past, regally bowing. I was not an “I” but part of a symphony of my own imagination. What is transport and season but movement?

My mother’s congratulations flow(er)s over

We gave our mom an iPad for Mother’s Day.  She has begun to experiment with photographs and I had to share them!

Saroja Ganesan, Amaryllis, 2012
Saroja Ganesan, Amaryllis, 2012
Saroja Ganesan, Carnations, 2013
Saroja Ganesan, Carnations, 2013
Saroja Ganesan, Indoor Garden in Winter, 2012
Saroja Ganesan, Indoor Garden in Winter, 2012


One More Month to Go!

Ganesan, Indira As Sweet As Honey (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013)
Cover by Chris Silas Neal

Our Aunt Meterling stood over six feet tall, a giantess, a tree. From her limbs came large hands, which always held a shower of snacks for us children. We could place two of our feet in one of her sandals, and her green shawl made a roof to cover our play forts. We loved Meterling, because she was so devotedly freakish, because she rained everyone with affection, and because we felt that anyone that tall had to be supernaturally gifted….

Dear Friends,

In one month, my novel, As Sweet As Honey, will be available in the bookstores and on-line. If by any chance you want to reserve a copy by pre-ordering the book, you can go to the link below at Random House and choose from any of the bookstores (independent and commercial) listed. I am very excited about this book, my third in a sequence of novels that share a South Asian island setting, the imaginary island of Pi. As Sweet As Honey is about a very tall woman named who marries a very short man. The novel follows her life, as seen through the very curious and often very imaginative eyes of her young niece, within a family that cossets grief and ladles joy in generous amounts. I hope you enjoy the book when you read it.

As always,


From the Cover Flap:

…And there is a very tall South Asian heroine with the astonishing un-Indian name of Meterling, who has found love at last in the shape of a short, round Englishman elegant in white suits and pink ties. There are also numerous aunts, uncles and young cousins—among them Mina, grown now, and telling this story of a marriage ceremony that ends with a widowed bride who, in the midst of her grief, discovers she is pregnant.

From the Kirkus (Starred) Book Review:

The imaginary Indian coastal island of Pi, where Ganesan has set her previous fiction (Inheritance, 1998, etc.), works beautifully as the setting for this East Asian homage to To the Lighthouse, both the nostalgic recreation of a lost perfect moment and an exploration into Woolf’s “thousand shapes” of love.

To pre-order the book:


To “Like” the book on Amazon.com:


Books, Cheer, New Year

Indira Ganesan, streak of sunlight, 2013
Indira Ganesan, streak of sunlight, 2013

Dancing with joy at this lovely starred Kirkus review for As Sweet As Honey:

http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/indira-ganesan/sweet-as-honey/ (review text below)

Reading The Marriage Plot; When I Was Cool; Lake People; & Tree Barking!  But, oh, I saw the “Downton Abbey” season three premiere  yesterday, & down the slippery BBC slope I go!  Those gorgeous clothes, actors, moments!

Ah, Welcome January!

From Kirkus Book Reviews:

  • Online Publish Date: January 6, 2013
    Pages: 288
    Price ( Hardcover ): $25.95
    Publication Date: February 15, 2013
    ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-0-307-96044-3
    Category: Fiction

The imaginary Indian coastal island of Pi, where Ganesan has set her previous fiction (Inheritance, 1998, etc.), works beautifully as the setting for this East Asian homage to To the Lighthouse, both the nostalgic recreation of a lost perfect moment and an exploration into Woolf’s “thousand shapes” of love.

The novel opens with a wedding and a death almost in the same breath. After a brief but romantic courtship, 6-foot, 28-year-old Meterling (thoroughly East Asian despite her eccentric German name) receives permission from her Hindu family to marry Archer, a dapper 4 foot-7-inch Englishman in his 40s. During their first wedding dance, he suffers a fatal coronary. Meterling is naturally heartbroken; she is also pregnant. The narrator of the aftermath, Meterling’s much younger cousin Mina, lives with a passel of cousins, aunts and uncles in her grandmother’s household of joyous pandemonium, which is not unlike the genteel chaos of Woolf’s Ramsays; coincidentally, Mina’s is a family of well-read Anglophiles, not unaware that Pi is a little like Prospero’s enchanted island. Looking back from her own adulthood, Mina describes growing up in an innocent but not unsophisticated world in which people really do take care of each other and where what is meant to be happens. So her family accepts the scandalous fact that Meterling had sex before marriage and adores the resulting baby, Oscar. But Western influence is unavoidable. Mina lives with her grandmother since her parents are getting Ph.D.s at Princeton, and eventually, she ends up in America. Yet Mina still manages to tell the story of Meterling’s unexpected second romance and marriage to Archer’s cousin Simon, with whom she moves to England. The novel is masterful at exploring the difficulty of cultural identity and integration. There’s also a bit of magical realism in the shape of a ghost. But ultimately, this is a novel about the many permutations of both love and family.

Despite some slightly strained plot twists, the characters’ genuine charm and the girlish, witty energy of the storytelling are irresistible.