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Reading Little Bee

Last call for the Books Giveaway to win the book of your choice by December 1.

The Sunday Salon.com

lbee“I was realizing, right there, that it was one thing to learn the Queen’s English from books and newspapers in my detention cell, and quite another thing to actually speak the language with the English.” [4]

The back of the ARC reads: “It is a truly special story and we don’t want to spoil it. Nevertheless, you need to know something, so we will just say this: It is extremely funny, but the African beach is horrific…Once you have read it, you’ll want to tell everyone about it. When you do, please don’t tell them what happens either. The magic is in how it unfolds.”

This book rocks. Innovative, tantalizing, and addictive. No sooner had I opened to the first page was I completely taken into the world of Little Bee, the Nigerian refugee girl who spent two years in a detention center in Essex. But there is more to her story that the book will only unfold it at its own pace at the right time. She was one of the few surviving victims of a three-way oil war that annihilated her village.

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) As for Little Bee (and some of us), it’s far better not to know the truth, to have that painful ruminations of what happened on the Nigerian beach deleted from her brain for good. It’s better to not be in the know unless you’re fully prepared to cope with it.It’s like a wife who finds out about her husband’s affair and she is not angry at the adultery but the cover story. More to come later, I have to sop up this book before the weekend is over.

Reading Personality & Chris Cleave

I’m fulfilling my jury duty today, which actually only involved checking in with the clerk at the assembly room and informing them of my teaching duty at Berkeley. The teaching entails that I have to be excused from jury duty in the event of a prolonged trial. I wrote part of this post while I was waiting at the juror’s room, where the city and county of San Francisco thoughtfully provides free wifi.

One of the ARCs in line is Little Bee by Chris Cleave. The book is inspired by the author’s own experience—he went to a concentration camp by mistake. As a student at Oxford University he’d take any paid work during the vacation, so one morning he climbed into a minibus with some other casual laborers, destination unknown. The minibus dropped him into a crush of agitated people, pleading with him in half the languages on earth. Despair and confusion reigned. I’m looking forward to reading it.

I also want to introduce his debut novel, Incendiary, which was published in 2006 and has been adapted into a feature film. It won a 2006 Somerset Maugham Award (tell-tale sign of a must read). When a massive suicide bomb explodes at a London soccer match a woman loses both her four-year-old son and her husband. But the bombing is only the beginning. In a voice alive with grief, compassion, and startling humor, Incendiary is a stunning debut of one ordinary life blown apart by terror.

According to Bookbrowse quiz my responses show that I am both a serial reader and an eclectic reader, which indicates that I both read widely and frequently.

“As a serial reader you’re loyal to your favorite authors, but as an eclectic reader you’re also open to new ideas and new writers, and are not wedded to a particular genre. That you manage to both keep up with your favorite authors and explore new writers indicates that you are likely to be what the research companies like to term a heavy reader.”

Curious now? Find out about your reading personality.