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Last week Cokebaby and I treated ourselves to dinner and a movie up in Bayer’s Lake. While I mostly go for vegetarian fare when I’m cooking for myself or going out to restaurants there are exceptions. And, truthfully, they mostly come in burger form. This time I tried out Señor Jack’s Jalapeño Burger from Jack Astor’s with a side garden salad (who can resist the curly rings of pickled beets, huge croûtons, and blackberry dressing?). Best. Burger. Ever. There was just enough of a spicy kick, complimented with a sweet pickle relish. I was in burger heaven, oblivious to all the cows giving me stink-eye.

Official movie poster

Official movie poster

But the meal wasn’t even the best part of the night. It was the movie Slumdog Millionaire (which took home a whole bunch of Oscars last night). As the title of this post oh-so-subtly suggests, this isn’t a critique of the film in any way, shape, or form. Except, that is, to say you should probably go see this film if you haven’t already. And if you have, well, you know what I mean.

Oh, also, you have to watch this end credit sequence. And, finally, I want the yellow scarf that Latika wears with a white t-shirt and jeans. It’s the must have fashion accessory of the season IMHO.

We went into the movie not knowing very much about it besides the praise of friends (and seemingly the world). I didn’t even realize it was based on a book originally published as Q & A by Vikas Swarup (HarperCollins). Being a bookworm, it brought to mind a few good reads I’ve picked up over the course of the past few years. So, if you enjoy(ed) the movie and want to read books that are similar, check out these titles:

The Song of Kahunsha by Anosh Irani (Doubleday)—Upon hearing that the orphanage that has cared for him since he was an infant is to be torn down by land developers, Chamdi runs away in search of his father. The sheltered world that he leaves behind is a far cry from the streets of Bombay. It’s a world of violence and destitution. But he meets two street children who take him under their wing. Together they scrape by and search for a means to escape poverty.

Shining Hero by Sara Banerji (HarperCollins)—A well-to-do adolescent girl is charmed by a Bollywood star passing through her village. Nine months later she is horrified to discover she’s giving birth to a baby that she subsequently sends down-river. The infant boy, Karna, is discovered by a woman desperate for a child of her own and who takes him in as her own. But fortunes turn quickly and soon he is forced to seek out his birth mother who has since married and had another child.

The Toss of a Lemon by Padma Viswanathan (Random House)—Inspired by her own family’s history, the author creates a fictional tale of a child-bride who is soon widowed. According to the rules of her caste she must live out much of the rest of her life like a ghost: wearing white, and from dawn to dusk she is not permitted to contaminate herself with human touch, not even to comfort her small children. Her son grows up to reject the principles of caste and welcomes the ways of a modern India, eventually causing a rift between them.

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (Random House)—Shifting between 1969 and 1993, this is the story of fraternal twins growing up in the state of Kerala. It’s a complex book that captures a lot of interesting points about the period, such as the Communism movement, the caste system, and the Syrian Christian way of life. The author also uses Malayalam words throughout which adds to the richness of the book.

So, there you have it. A few extras to take away after you’ve seen the movie. Do you have any recommendations for books, music, or films to go with Slumdog Millionaire?

P.S. I’m also loving the movie soundtrack.

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