February 13, Saturday night -- Reading Chris Cleave

During intermission at a literary event hosted by Charlie Anders -- Writers with Drinks
Reading Little Bee, by Chris Cleave -- so gripping you can't even put it down during a night out. It's about a Nigerian teenage refugee named Little Bee and a British suburban woman who runs a women's magazine. The story is really good.

She reads about 5 books a month, or about 200 pages a night. She has no television and is a family physician. Books help her unwind in the evenings. She just read Dubliners for her Classics book club and also Away, by Amy Bloom, about a Jewish woman, who, in the 1920s, fled Russia during a pogrom, and later returns to Siberia to find her daughter.

I showed her the book in my bag -- Musicophilia, by Oliver Sacks and she remarked that Oliver Sacks was the first person to write medical narrative. I asked her if she'd read Atul Gawande's book, Complications, which is also medical narrative, and not only had she read it, and also read his other book, Better, she has met the author. Medicine is a small world.

Books that were a turning point for her -- in high school she began reading Russian novels, and loved them for their sense of humanity and their emotional depth.
Sorry (to everyone who I blinded) for the bright flash! The room is actually dark -- picture disco ball spinning flecks of light against a ceiling of ribbon-like tinsel....and bear skin rug.


Anne said...

I love your blog! Just want to say Away is by Amy Bloom.

Liza P. said...

wow 5 books a month and 200 pages a night? i need to do that

Anonymous said...

Sylvia, I love your blog too! It was so nice to meet you and I hope to see you again soon. You should come to book swap at Booksmith on haight if you get a chance one of these months. I got so excited talking to you about books that I might have exaggerated; I do average about 5 books a month but only 200 pages a night if I'm on holiday/weekend/can't sleep or so captivated that I can't put it down. I have to be honest:)
I love what your doing to engage community and support literacy. All the best to you! Danielle

Anne-Marie said...

I have never hated a book so much as Little Bee by Chris Cleave [which is known here as The Other Hand]. Hated the characters, hated the story. I loathed the publishers' blurb which was along the lines of: "We can't tell you anything about this book because it is so so SO amazingly good" - but still expecting me to shell out $40 for it. I would never have touched it except that my book group was reading it.

=End rant=

It is one of those books that polarises people. You love it or you hate it.

Sonya said...

Anne, I will definitely change the typo. Thanks for that. I'd had it stuck in my mind that it was "Wood' and not Bloom, and then, when I finally found a write-up about the book on the web, "Wood" was already so imprinted.

Thanks, Danielle, for your comment. I have swap on my calendar -- 6:30 March 5. I like that you need to bring a book that you loved, and not just any old book. Not sure what I'll bring yet...Lately, my favorite books have been ones friends have loaned me or I've gotten at the library.

I'm now intrigued to read Little Bee after Anne-Marie's comment.....maybe Danielle will bring it to the book swap : ) ?

Sonya said...

Anne,just opened my computer up and saw the "did not save" error message. Amy Wood is now Amy Bloom. ....have been on vacation : ).

Liz said...

I just finished this book yesterday. : )