Friday, October 9, 2009


I had the good fortune to read two excellent books in the past week that grabbed me and didn't let go.

This first was Little Bee: A Novel by Chris Cleave. The publisher's description is unusual; basically we can't tell you anything except that it's about two women and a terrible choice. That's it. I am such a sucker for things like that, but in this case I'd say it paid off. This is the story of two women. One is a teenage refugee from Nigeria who has been living in what is basically a jail for people trying to immigrate. The other is a typical British woman, working mother and wife. They first met two years ago under horrific and unbelievable circumstances and now they meet again in the present. This was an intense and serious read and I thought the author did an excellent job conveying the issues in Nigeria and the disturbing way people trying to flee their countries are treated. He also excelled at giving each woman a distinct and unique voice. I would certainly recommend this book.

The other book I finished in about a day was The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Wow, what a ride! I think everyone knows what this is about, right? It's life in the future, and teenage contestants are forced to participate in a televised 'game show' in which everyone must die - except for one. Talk about compelling reading! And this despite the fact that I sort of assumed the ending from the beginning - this is the first of three in a series - after all. If you like some sci-fi with your reading along with great characterization read this! I now really want to get my hands on the follow up, Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games). I'll be waiting awhile; I'm number 24 on the library waiting list.

Have a great weekend! We are expecting freezing temperatures and flurries! Lucky us. I can never belive that I moved here.


JoAnn said...

Glad to hear you enjoyed Little Bee as much as I did! I'm still puzzled by a marketing strategy that keeps the plot a secret though.

Carrie K said...

Sounds like a refreshing marketing strategy. Normally I've read so many reviews or blurbs I don't need to read the book itself, similar to movies.

Little Bee (and Those Who Save Us) both are going on my TBR list.

And brr! we turn the heat on here when it hit 65 degrees. :)

Kathy said...

I am reading Little Bee now and have almost put it aside several times because it hits so close to home especially right at this time for me. Somehow, though, I find myself unable to leave it. I can't quite articulate why but I see myself and a loved one in these pages and I am unable to look away. I probably would not have chosen to read this book if I had known what I would be facing inside, but the writing is lovelyl and there seems to be a reason that I continue to read, though the story is wrenching.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Little Bee and The Help are in my top 5 books for 2009. Such a great engrossing story (both of them).

Karen said...

Little Bee (called The Other Hand in Australia) is amazing isn't it?? I fell totally for the publisher's blurb too!!
I have yet to read The Hunger Games but I think I am going to have to - I literally have not heard one bad thing about it in the bloggin world.

Danielle said...

I'd actually not heard of The Hunger Games, but it does sound interesting. I could use a page turner or two at the moment!

Ti said...

It's nice to read a good page turner every now and then. I haven't read either of these. I feel as if I am a tad overhelmed with my pile again. I was making good progress and then decided to re-design my blog and now I am bit behind with my reading.

Anonymous said...

I chaired the book fair at the junior high school a couple weeks ago, and Catching Fire was FLYING off the shelf!! I loved The Hunger Games (I also read it in about a day!) and can't wait to read Catching Fire, but my daughter got to it first, so I'm patiently waiting my turn.

Tara said...

JoAnn, it makes me wonder if they think that people would find the plot too upsetting to read.

Carrie K, I know what you mean! 65?? My bedroom heat is set at 64!!

Kathy, what a strong connection you are making to Little Bee. It is indeed a heart wrenching story.

Diane, The Help was one of my favorites of this year, too.

Karen, if you're interested, definitely read The Hunger Games - what a ride! The Other Hand, huh? That gives a bit more away, no?

Danielle, really?? Give it a try!

Ti, I think so too. Though it's sort of hard to come down from if you know what I mean, to begin reading a slower moving book.

LisaMM, I am not surprised! I think I will suggest this series to my neice. Hopefully your daughter won't be too long!

Les said...

Tara - Glad to hear you enjoyed Little Bee as much as I did. I need to go back and re-read the last chapter. I've already forgotten how Cleave wrapped things up!

And regarding the weather, I can never believe that I moved here, either!!

Samantha said...

I ended up liking the first half of Little Bee more than the second half but overall would recommend it.

I have had Hunger Games on my shelf for some time - I just need to pick it up .... (I even have the second instalment already ... naughty me!)