Finished: Mr. Pip by Lloyd (thanks Jodi) and White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (thanks Valerie). Both are Booker nominated books. I finally realized how Booker books are different from Pulitzer books. I loved this years Pulitzer winner, Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout – a wonderful collection of short stories that tell the story of a small town in Maine. “The suns never sets on the British Empire” is used to describe an empire so large that at least part of the territory is always in daylight The books nominated for the Booker reflect just about everything in the world but America. Mr Pip takes place on an island in Papua New Guinea and White Tiger, in India. Literature at its best.
Then I read Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos. I’m not why I picked it up, it didn’t seem like the type of book that I’d be able to get past the first couple of pages. For one thing the cover is great. You might call it a beach read, but I cried, laughed out loud and was sorry when the book ended. I will read her again.
The Book of Dead Birds by Gayle Brandeis is the one that I have just finished. It’s an older book – 2003, but I saw that Barbara Kingsolver gave her the Bellwether Prize, an award in support of a literature of social responsibility, and decided to give it a try. It starts in my native San Diego at Balboa Park, where my mother had my 6th birthday party, and moves to the Salton Sea, also familiar to me. Her sense of place is wonderful , her characters are genuine and her writing is a powerful and spare ala John Steinbeck. Our library doesn’t own her second book so will have to order it.
Reading: Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
On the Nightstand: People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks and Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri.
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