Friday, December 26, 2014

Bees and Bushes

I realize that, as a former English major, no one expects me to be able to count, but I am very much aware that I skipped book number five on the list. I accidentally bought the large print version.  The combination of the overlarge type and the slim margins makes me feel like the book is yelling at me. I don’t like books that yell at me. So I had to skip it until the regular size version shows up at my door.  

#4 – A Book of Bees – Sue Hubbell
Recommended by: MC

This is a lovely, soothing book, best read in the heat of summer while the bees buzz past your glass of lemonade. Reading it is like soaking in a warm bath – it is calm and luxurious and comforting. The author details her experiences keeping bees throughout an entire season and while it doesn’t make me want to keep bees, it does certainly make me appreciate them far more. The author takes such a loving tone with them, and explains their behavior so carefully, that you can’t help but come to understand them. The tone of the book is quiet and respectful, with a gentle drop of humor and good spirits. The author isn’t trying to convince the reader to do anything more than just sit back and enjoy the process of beekeeping and that restful and respectful tone does much to make this book so pleasurable.

#6 – American Wife – Curtis Sittenfeld
Recommended by: MS

I read this book a few years ago with my book club. It is a thinly fictionalized look at Laura Bush and her life. The first time around, I was more sympathetic to Alice/Laura. She seemed like a quietly moral person who kept finding herself in situations that tested her moral fiber. The second time around, I was less inclined to like her because I felt that she didn’t fall so much as stop herself from falling. Time and time again, she could have made a choice, but seemed to prefer to let others make the choices for her. When she finally did find her voice, it was so far past the point of reason that I found it infuriating. Now you are going to speak out? Now? However, I did love her rendition of the Bush family, and Charlie/George is particularly well written. He leaps off the page, as does his entire family, and they totally make the book worth reading. Excluding the name changes, I think it would be very easy to forget that you are reading fiction and that this isn’t Laura’s own memoir, which is another reason this book is a worthwhile read. Any author who can create such solid characters, not caricatures, of such well-known people gets a solid stamp of approval (even if I did absolutely hate her first book, Prep.)

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