Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What’s the Buzz.

Besides watching the bees drifting from flower to flower, some of our readers may enjoy flitting from book to book for their summer reading enjoyment:

Little Bee by Chris Cleave (originally called The Other Hand in the U.K.) is a compelling book. While on a Nigerian Beach, British couple Andrew and Sarah encounter Little Bee and her sister Nkiruka. A brief and horrible moment of crisis changes life for all of them. Years later, Little Bee finds the couple again by way of Andrew’s wallet, which was left behind on the beach. What will happen to this illegal immigrant to England? What effect does it have on Sarah and her family? The novel will have readers pondering the mysteries of globalization, wealth of the "first" world and the emotional/courageous wealth of the third world. To quote the author "It’s an uplifting, thrilling, universal human story, and I just worked to keep it simple. One brave African girl; one brave Western woman. What if one just turned up on the other’s doorstep one misty morning and asked "Can I help?" And what if that help wasn’t just a one-way street?"

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. This is one of those books that is perfect to read for your book club selection or enjoy yourself. I was totally engrossed with the story. While the main character is just a young girl, it is the women in her life that make the story. In 1964 South Carolina, 14 year old Lily Owens is coming of age. Lily runs away from home to a place she only knows from her mother’s honey bottles. I find it interesting that the honey-makers names are April, May, June and August. I couldn’t help wondering why not one called July? These women’s adventures became very popular, selling more than 35 million copies in more than 35 countries, and was on the New York Times bestseller list for 2 ½ years.

A Recipe for Bees By Gail Anderson-Dargatz. I know you are not suppose to judge a book by its cover but I fell in love with this cover the same way I did for Eat, Pray, Love. This novel is an international bestseller, a Globe and Mail Notable book for 1998 and has over 40,000 copies sold in hardcover. This is quite an accomplishment. Just like the authors other book I recently reviewed (The Cure for Death by Lightning) this one includes recipes and remedies. After 48 years of marriage Augusta reflects on her life and her marriage to farmer Karl. As author Chris Bohjalin states :" A Recipe for Bees reminds us all it’s never too late to fall in love".

One of the last things I would think about in connection with Sherlock Holmes is bees, unless that was the method of death. Well, in Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell Series, bees are presented in a number of the titles : The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, The Language of Bees, The God of the Hive and Beekeeping for Beginners. The series take place between 1915 and 1925 mainly in England but also travels to Scotland, Wales, Palestine, India and California. The books begin when 15 year old Mary encounters Sherlock Holmes, now middle-aged and retired. He moved to Sussex and raises bees. Holmes is impressed with Russell’s power of deduction and makes her his apprentice, both with the bees and detective work. Seven years after their meeting Mary and Sherlock marry and their adventures continue.

Bee Season by Myla Goldberg and Akeelah & the Bee by James Whitfield Ellison are two books that I admit that I have gotten confused. Both novels involve young girls competing in spelling bees and the repercussions of each success on each family. It is interesting to compare the two books to see the similarities and differences.

I love the "Publishers Weekly" product description for Queen Bee of Mimosa Branch by Haywood Smith. "The only degree I have is a PhD in Southern Bitch, " proclaims Linwood Breedlove Scott, the feisty Prozac-popping, menopausal heroine of Smith’s hardcover debut". I know a few women whom this description could apply. The rest of the book goes like a country song. Her husband leaves her for a stripper and she retreats to her home-town to lick her wounds. There is a little bit of romance, a little bit of scandal and all sorts of southern charm. This is the perfect book to read in the sun (if it ever comes).

So whether you are enjoying these books outside or inside I hope that they bring some sunshine to your life.

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