Grownup Book Review

  'Half of a Yellow Sun' by Chimamanda Adichie. Remember Biafra? This novel is set during the civil war in Nigeria. Not for the squeamish: terrible things happened in the 60s in Nigeria and the short-lived Biafra, but the story is so beautiful and well written, the characters so excellently portrayed, that it is well worth it. I loved this book, and bought it recently to re-read.

'A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian', by Marina Lewycka. Nikolai, aged eighty-six, has fallen in lust with a very much younger woman and she and his two daughters scheme and counter-scheme. I loved this book from the first sentence! The story is sweet, the characters real, you will learn about the history of tractors, and there is some laugh-out-loud humour there too.

'Mother Tongue' is another wonderful book by Bill Bryson. Here, he follows the history of the English Language and explains why we have such idiosyncratic spelling. I learned some very useful and interesting things about the written word, and Bryson's way of looking at the world just cracks me up.

I read some chapters from 'Mother Tongue' aloud to the kids and they laughed out loud. Now they know why words like 'ought', 'bough' and 'though' are pronounced  differently but spelled the same!

What are you reading? Recommend something to us here! 


The Mother said…
Mother Tongue sounds like Spellbound (Essinger) which the boys and I really enjoyed a few years back.

Just got my copy of Damp Squid (Jeremy Butterfield), also about the English Language. I'll keep you posted.
Anonymous said…
I've not read the first, but the second two were sooooo good. And funny! I have Lewycka's second book, but haven't read it yet.
Thanks for these recommendations, Nan. I'm in the middle of a jim- dandy read right now: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson. It got "Crime Thriller of the Year in 2009" and deserved it! It has a quirky heroine and presumes a smart reader. I like that in a book.
Just finished re-reading an old, wonderful book: "I Heard the Owl Call My Name" by Margaret Craven. It's a lovely and simple story of a seeker dropped into the midst of an indigenous tribe who finds his way. It would be appropriate (and inspirational) to read and discuss with kids.
Anonymous said…
THe Hakawati. I'm about 1/5th of the way through. It's not bad, but it's mostly retellings of Arab tales interspersed with modern-day Beirut and a son who's just returned from LA after the civil war. It's for Book Group this month. I might end up liking it a lot but I might not. Time will tell! said…
Would you believe I am into Rob Roy? The version by Sir Walter Scott. It's a kinda tough read, but very interesting. All this started when my mother, who's doing the whole family genealogy thing, found we descend from the MacGregor clan.