"Finding Iris Chang: Friendship, Ambition, and the Loss of an Extraordinary Mind"
by Paula Kamen
De Capo Press, $26
It's a rare modern journalist with a statue erected in her honor, but the author of "The Rape of Nanking," Iris Chang, was just that unusual. Known as the woman who gave a voice to the "Chinese Holocaust" resulting from Japanese atrocities during World War II, Chang enjoyed international renown as an author, historian and activist until her shocking suicide in 2004 at the age of 36. Longtime friend and fellow journalist Paula Kamen plays sleuth as she uncovers the true story behind the birth of Chang's son, her troubled history with bipolar disorder and whether, as she believed, the FBI was following her.
"Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India"
by Madhur Jaffrey
Random House, $14.95
Renowned actress and cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey takes the reader into culinary "paroxysms of ecstasy" in her new childhood memoir, "Climbing the Mango Trees." Jaffrey's reflections are built largely around the idea of "taste memory," from the time of her birth when her grandmother wrote "om" (the Sanskrit for "I am") on her tongue with honey through her teen years as she discovers some of the sharper and more pungent Indian spices. Explore a variety of snacks and feasts, like prickly okra that's simmered with the tender white flesh of the almond seed, or a goat curry flavored with cumin, coriander, onions and ginger. If these delicacies taste foreign on your tongue, broaden your palate by trying your hand at Jaffrey's 30 carefully detailed family recipes at the end of the book.
"In the Name
of Honor: A Memoir"
by Mukhtar Mai with
translated by Linda Coverdale
Washington Square Press, $13
When the Mastoi, a powerful and violent Pakistani clan, decide to publicly gang-rape Mukhtar Mai, a peasant from Meerwala, a small village in southern Punjab in 2002, they expect Mai will cope with her humiliation in the traditional way: suicide. Instead, Mai wages war, a nonviolent revolution that changes the future for all Pakistani women. "When I begin this journey into the legal system, a path from which there is no turning back, I'm hampered by my illiteracy and my status as a woman. Aside from my family, I have only one strength to call upon: my outrage." Mai's memoir is an account of a victim-turned-victor who uses the money she's awarded by the Pakistani government to start a school for girls and begin an international campaign for the rights of women.