Monday, July 11, 2011

My Vacation Reading

On vacation I listened to a book and read a book. Both are for grown-ups and good stories. But, I think I’ll go back to YA books.

Little Bee by Chris Cleave is an incredible journey of two women who become friends through a traumatic circumstance. Little Bee, a young Nigerian girl, is witness to atrocities committed by government soldiers securing land upon which newly discovered oil fields lay. Because she is witness, she is targeted for death. Sarah Sommers is a hip British magazine editor on holiday in Nigeria trying to save her marriage. When the women meet, they are bound together in a terrible event that will require them both to seek the strength of the other to survive.

As Little Bee tells her story she admonishes: “We must agree that scars are beautiful. Scars are beautiful because the wearer has survived. Likewise, stories, even difficult ones are beautiful because the teller has survived to tell the tale.”

Little Bee takes readers from Nigeria to England back to Nigeria through the journeys of an illegal alien and a wealthy woman. It’s tough to consider how much or little we in the modern, civilized, first –choose your adjective—world do or not do for the less fortunate. This fiction book was very prickly to listen to.

More about Little Bee:

Little Bee has earned the praise of many in the publishing world:

* Shortlisted for the 2008 Costa Novel Award

* Nominated for the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book

* Long listed for IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

* A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice

Cleave, C. Little Bee. Connecticut: Tantor Media. 2009. Audio

Burning Bright is written by Tracy Chevalier. The essential question of this book is fascinating. What was it like to live in England during the time of William Blake? Of course, the answer is not easy. Industrialization was beginning to drive the lives of thousands and across the channel; France was caught up in its Revolution. Poets such as Blake respond to their times as poets do….without the benefit of freedom of press.

“Tyger tyger burning bright”

Blake’s story is told through the eyes of neighbor children caught up in lives of their times. I picked this book up because Chevalier is one of my favorite authors. She wrote Girl with a Pearl Earring. However, this book didn’t hold me as others as hers have.

More about this book and author Chevalier:

Chevalier, T. Burning Bright. New York: Dutton. 2007. Print.

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