Tag Archives: books

Books in Chennai, Part III: Higginbotham’s

This third post on Books in Chennai is a bit delayed, but the visit wound up the week that included visits to two other literary destinations, chronicled in Books in Chennai, Part I: Anna Centenary Library and Starmark  and Books in Chennai, Part II: Kid Lit.

Higginbotham’s, reputedly India’s oldest extant bookstore, was established in 1844 by Abel Joshua Higginbotham. Despite the fact that the establishment looks a little the worse for wear–both inside and out–I made some good book discoveries. (If you don’t have time to read the whole post, skip to the end–I saved the best for last.)

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India-in-Your-Pocket Cookbooks

We’ve enjoyed Indian food so much that I wanted to take some cookbooks back with me, both to use myself and to share with friends. However, a couple of hardcover cookbooks with glossy pages and color photos can really weigh down one’s luggage. So I was delighted to find a collection of pocket-sized cookbooks at the Phoenix Mall Starmark last week. They feature full color illustrations (so you know what you’re making), measurements in American quantities, and a variety of recipes ranging from simple snacks to complex entrees.

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Scholastic of India & Name that Spice

Yesterday, feeling particularly adventuresome, I told a rickshaw driver the general area we wanted to visit and asked him to recommend a restaurant. (Actually, the exchange was much more complicated than that and involved a passing motorcyclist, whom the rickshaw driver engaged as a translator while we were navigating an intersection. But I’ll skip the details.)

We ended up at Aasife Biryani, which the driver assured us had great food at a reasonable price. Some very reputable places are rarely frequented by women, but I was reassured by the sight of the first play structure I’ve seen at a restaurant in Chennai.

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Books in Chennai, part II: Kid Lit

The previous post on Indian authors principally concerned contemporary adult fiction and nonfiction on display at the Starmark bookstore in the Phoenix Mall. While there I spent a fair amount of time with the children’s and young adult books, and we have subsequently read a few of them.

So here is a sampling of what we found:

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Thali, Books, and Ice Cream

I’ve been thinking that maybe I should just dedicate this blog to finding books and ice cream in Chennai. Because most of the posts I have queued up (or circulating in my mind) seem to concern one of those two topics. More on books later.

First, a few food updates (see previous post here: Food, Glorious Food).

Last week Brianna and I went to Mylapore to see the 12th-century Kapaleeswarar temple.

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These elaborately carved gopurams are typically situated at the entrance to temples, but they don’t actually seem to be where the worship takes place.

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Books in Chennai, Part I: Anna Centenary Library and Starmark

During our first week in Chennai we discovered the Renga Lending Library here in our own neighborhood (Click here to read that post: “Saved by the Neighborhood Library“). The following week we trekked a little farther afield to three other book sites: The Anna Centenary Library, built in 2010; The Phoenix Mall Starmark, one of the newest bookstores in Chennai; and Higginbotham’s, India’s oldest bookseller.

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Madras Crocodile Bank Trust

On our way to Mahabalipuram a week ago (see the previous post) we stopped at a more recent but equally fascinating site: the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Center for Herpetology, established in 1976 by Romulus Whitaker. Its initial aim was to aid in rehabilitating the diminishing numbers of Mugger (also known as “Marsh” crocodiles in the wild. Now it is home to representatives from eighteen of the twenty-three species of crocodiles and alligators worldwide.

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