What does it mean to be a mother? Is it nature or nurture? Shilpi Somaya Gowda attempts to answer this question in her Target Club Pick book, Secret Daughter. Asha is adopted from an orphanage in India by two American doctors, Somer and Krishnan (who was born and raised in India). Asha's mother (Kavita) risked her own life to bring Asha to the orphanage after her husband killed their first-born daughter, as daughters are seen as a financial drain. The book's narration alternates between Somer, Kavita, and Asha.
I read this while on a flight to Washington, DC for a conference and truly enjoyed it. Highly recommended!
Another book I read on my trip was Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. A recent edition of the K-Stater magazine featured an article about K-State reads, a new program for incoming freshmen. Every incoming student was given The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins during orientation with the thought that all freshmen would come to college with a shared experience and discussing the book would be an icebreaker. The book for 2011-12 freshmen is Zeitoun. Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a successful Syrian-born painting contractor, decides to stay in New Orleans and protect his property while his family flees Hurricane Katrina. After the levees break, he uses a small canoe to rescue people, before being arrested by an armed squad and swept powerlessly into a vortex of bureaucratic brutality. When a guard accuses him of being a member of Al Qaeda, he sees that race and culture may explain his predicament. A fascinating look at New Orleans during and immediately following Hurricane Katrina as well as it's impact on one family.