Maman’s Homesick Pie

“In most Iranian homes, there is no better way to begin a story than with a cup of tea, served hot, in a glass to better see its amber hue, with two lumps of sugar, and a dish of sweets.”

So Donia Bijan sets a place at her table, to tell us a story and to share the smells of her family’s kitchen.

Maman's Homesick Pie

“Maman’s Homesick Pie is a story about a woman who is an extraordinary daughter, world traveler, chef, and writer. This memoir is written by Donai Bizan, who understands the human condition, the kitchen, and the needs of a child to embrace who and what she was. Throw in the fact that wonderful recipes are included along with these heartfelt experiences, and you have a story that envelopes and rings true for anyone who reads it. If you only read one memoir this year or in your lifetime, Maman’s Homesick Pie is the memoir to read.”
– Heather Haven, author of the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries

For ten years, Donia Bijan brought her love of food and excellent taste to a delightful little bistro, called L’ami Donia. It closed, to the sadness of many locals, including myself, in 2004, when she chose to spend more time with her family.

Now we can share her love of food in a different way. Part memoir, part cookbook, Maman’s Homesick Pie gives us a taste of her history and her home. She will be speaking at the downtown branch of the Palo Alto Library on Wednesday, Feb. 27th. at 7pm.

Silicon Valley Reads 2013

It’s the new year and time for Silicon Valley Reads to choose a new book, or in this case, two new books. walk1 Minefields-of-the-Heart-lg

This year, Silicon Valley Reads will be focusing on an important subject: the aftermath of war, the human impact on those who return and the people left behind.

It seems to me that in the past, the primary casualties of war were on the battlefield. We mourned our dead and dealt with the rehabilitation of our wounded. But the wars of this century have been different. I’m not sure that they have taken a greater psychological toll than any previous wars, or we are more aware of it.

I think it will make for both compelling reading and interesting discussions and I encourage all of you to take part.

The kickoff event will be Wednesday, January 30, at the Heritage Theater in Campbell. Both of the authors,Brian Castner and Sue Diaz, will be speaking at Books, Inc. in Palo Alto on Thursday, Feb. 1 at 7pm.

You can find out more about all the events planned for this year at http://www.siliconvalleyreads.org

My Beloved World

I got so excited about seeing Justice Sotomayor, I forgot to tell you about her book, ‘My Beloved World,’ which is coming out January 15, 2013.

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Here’s the description:

The first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor has become an instant American icon. Now, with a candor and intimacy never undertaken by a sitting Justice, she recounts her life from a Bronx housing project to the federal bench, a journey that offers an inspiring testament to her own extraordinary determination and the power of believing in oneself.

Here is the story of a precarious childhood, with an alcoholic father (who would die when she was nine) and a devoted but overburdened mother, and of the refuge a little girl took from the turmoil at home with her passionately spirited paternal grandmother. But it was when she was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes that the precocious Sonia recognized she must ultimately depend on herself.  She would learn to give herself the insulin shots she needed to survive and soon imagined a path to a different life. With only television characters for her professional role models, and little understanding of what was involved, she determined to become a lawyer, a dream that would sustain her on an unlikely course, from valedictorian of her high school class to the highest honors at Princeton, Yale Law School, the New York County District Attorney’s office, private practice, and appointment to the Federal District Court before the age of forty. Along the way we see how she was shaped by her invaluable mentors, a failed marriage, and the modern version of extended family she has created from cherished friends and their children. Through her still-astonished eyes, America’s infinite possibilities are envisioned anew in this warm and honest book, destined to become a classic of self-invention and self-discovery.