'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!
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