Sunday, September 13, 2009

Books to Read

I have never talked about books on this blog.  But seeing as I tell you where to eat.  Or what museums to go to, I feel the natural progression is to tell you about the fabulous reads I stumble across.

I won't lie.  I have pretty good taste in books.  I think almost better than Oprah.  Not that one can brag about that, it's like saying you have good taste in music.  Who says it's good taste?  It's what you like right?  I am a music nerd.  Once my friend needed a rock song to sing for an audition.  She asked me for my advice.  I told her I listen to Enya.

Anyways, I have two books I recently read that I would like to recommend.

Firstly, The Book of Negroes by (Canadian) Lawrence Hill.  It's called 'Someone Knows my Name' in the States.  It's very good.

It's so good, Mr. Hill will give you your money back if you don't like it.

But you will.  It's a long and very sad story about a girl named Aminata who is stolen from her African home, put on a slave ship, then sold to a plantation owner in South Carolina.  It follows her tale through the plantation, the working for a Jewish doctor, to her escape and freedom in New York, up to Nova Scotia, back to Africa to set up a colony in Sierra Leonne, and then to London.    

I don't want to tell you too much about the book.  But I will tell you this - you will stay up at night so that you can read it.  Which I always think is a good sign.  It is horribly sad.  Not only because it's true, but because places like Sierra Leonne are still f*&(cked up - so you can't even comfort yourself in saying, "this was so long ago".  However, it has a very happy ending.  You must remember this in order to keep reading it.  

Secondly, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society  by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows.

This is an epistolary novel (a novel of letters) telling the tale of post-WW2 England.  It starts off in bomb-blasted London and then travels to Guernsey, a part of the Channel Islands between England and France that were occupied my Germans for five years.

It's charming, funny, sad, lovely, terrible, and a page-turner all  in one.  It makes you see how the human spirit can be destroyed by war and tragedy but then put back together through love and faith. Every character in the novel has survived such remarkable sadness but have to find the strength to keep going.  And they do it by forming new friendships, and new families.

This is a lovely read.  And I believe it is only $13 at Chapters or Amazon.  

I especially loved it because it takes place in the year my mum was born.  So with each page, I think of my grandparents having to rebuild - even though they were in Northern England - with a newborn baby.  They were still in rations until the late 50's!!!

I promise to only tell you about books that you can't put down.  Because those are the best and yet hardest to find.

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