Barbara Kingsolver

All posts tagged Barbara Kingsolver

Flight Behaviour – Barbara Kingsolver

Published August 16, 2013 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Dellarobia Turnbow is a restless farm wife who gave up her own plans when she accidentally became pregnant at seventeen. Now, after a decade of domestic disharmony on a failing farm, she has settled for permanent disappointment but seeks momentary escape through an obsessive flirtation with a younger man. As she hikes up a mountain road behind her house to a secret tryst, she encounters a shocking sight: a silent, forested valley filled with what looks like a lake of fire. She can only understand it as a cautionary miracle, but it sparks a raft of other explanations from scientists, religious leaders, and the media. The bewildering emergency draws rural farmers into unexpected acquaintance with urbane journalists, opportunists, sightseers, and a striking biologist with his own stake in the outcome. As the community lines up to judge the woman and her miracle, Dellarobia confronts her family, her church, her town, and a larger world, in a flight toward truth that could undo all she has ever believed.

What did I think?:

Having read and loved Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible, I was eager to read her latest offering, in particular because it was shortlisted for the Woman’s Prize for Fiction 2013. (Please see my previous post HERE). When we first meet our main character Dellarobia, she is fleeing from a stale marriage to begin an affair with a man she barely knows. On her way to the rendez-vous point with her potential lover, she climbs the hills on the grounds behind her home to an amazing sight – multiple strange growths on trees and a valley filled with what looks like flames. Astounded by this, she takes it as a sign that she should return to her family and spurn the man she was escaping with. Later on, we learn that the growths and flames are colonies of Monarch butterflies, which have unusually chose the Appalachians as their spot to roost, instead of their usual spot in Mexico. The butterflies end up attracting scientists and media attention the world over due to this strange occurrence, and when it turns out that this may be all down to global warming, Dellarobia’s life changes beyond which she ever could have imagined.

I thought this was an absolutely beautiful book which manages to communicate the drastic issues of climate change without sounding in the slightest bit preachy. There is a quote on the front of the paperback copy that I own to the effect that the author makes us “think, feel and care” all at once, and I completely concur! This is a wonderfully told story of human relationships, family life, religion and science that all seem to mould together to form a cohesive whole interesting the reader enough that we feel connected to these fictional characters in some way (and the butterflies, of course, whom I formed quite an attachment to). Personally, I was concerned about what was going to happen to these individuals, and when a piece of fiction is not “action-packed,” it is hugely important for me that I felt sympathetic and understanding of the issues otherwise I would have just put the book down, bored to tears. The strength of the writing and of the characters prevents this from happening, and is made all the more poignant for the Afterword where Kingsolver tells us that climate change has actually affected the roosting places of Monarch butterflies (although she fictionalised the setting of the Appalachians). I would definitely class Barbara Kingsolver as amongst one of my favourite authors and consider this a worthy short-lister for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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A-Z Book Survey

Published August 15, 2013 by bibliobeth

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I came across this survey from my sister’s blog and it looked like a lot of fun! You can see her answers HERE.

This survey was initially compiled by Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner. Thank you to her! Check out her post HERE

Author you’ve read the most books from:

No surprise here, Stephen King. For me, there is a reason why his surname is KING.

Best Sequel Ever:

This is an easy question for me, it would have to be Tatiana and Alexander by Paullina Simons. Her first book is The Bronze Horseman and to be honest, took my breath away. The sequel definitely complemented the first book!

Currently Reading:

The Girl Who Fell From The Sky by Simon Mawer.

Drink of Choice While Reading:

Tea, tea and more tea!

E-reader or Physical Book?

Both! Kindle for convenience, real book for looky, smelly, touchy. (oh dear)

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

Fitzwilliam Darcy – Pride and Prejudice. (SIGH) His attitude might actually have made me more interested!!

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I really didn’t expect Sherlock Holmes to be this exciting!

Hidden Gem Book:

Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn. Ancient Rome, gladiators, a bit of gore and romance. What’s not to like? LOVED this book.

Important Moment in your Reading Life:

I have to say, it’s the same as my sisters. Starting this blog has been one of the best things I’ve done literally speaking (haha). I read from so many different genres that I wouldn’t have touched before, I’ve had some great recommendations, and met some really nice people!

Just Finished:

I’ve just finished Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver which was excellent.

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

I’d like to think I read quite a wide selection of things, but I don’t really enjoy anything too fluffy or chick-litty. A bit of fluff is okay (I suppose) but not if it edges into mature cheddar cheese!

Longest Book You’ve Read:

The Lord of The Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien at 1,216 pages, individually Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell.

Major book hangover because of:

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. I loved that book so much I just wanted it to go on and on.

Number of Bookcases You Own:

Uh-oh. This is where my book obsession borders into insanity. Two large ones in the sitting room jam packed to bursting. (I call it Book Corner). Two slim tall bookcases in the bedroom and er…. maybe one or two bookcases worth at my parents house?

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

It – Stephen King. Amazing and terrifying and never fails to give me chills every time I read it.

Preferred Place To Read:

I have quite a long journey to work so I love to just escape into a book on the tube. Saves me having to make eye contact with any dodgy people as well, haha.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

 
 “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
―     Eleanor Roosevelt,     This is My Story    
A great motto for life as well I think!

Reading Regret:

Spending so much time reading thrillers. Not that I hate thrillers, I love them! But at one time, they were all I read, I’m so glad I now read a mixture of different genres.

Series You Started And Need To Finish(all books are out in series):

I need to finish the Delirium series by Lauren Oliver. Pandemonium is coming up on my list pretty soon but I’ve just got so many books to read.

Three of your All-Time Favourite Books:

In no particular order..

  1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  2. Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
  3. The Green Mile – Stephen King

(Wow that was hard! I have too many all time favourites!)

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

Quite a few people (I promise I won’t mention King again…). I’ll say Philippa Gregory, I love almost all her novels and get very excited when one is due to be released.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

Dr Sleep – Stephen King. The follow up to The Shining. Oh damn, I mentioned him again.

Worst Bookish Habit:

Being maybe a bit TOO control freakish with lending my precious books. Please don’t break their spine, I can’t take it!!

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

This is based on my Kindle in alphabetical order as I’m not at home at the moment: Annexed by Sharon Dogar.

Your latest book purchase:

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (spoiler alert) J K Rowling!

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Amazing!
Please feel free to leave your link to your A-Z book survey and I’ll come take a look, I’d love to see some of your answers!

WWW Wednesday #13

Published August 14, 2013 by bibliobeth

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Click on the image to get to her blog!

I’ve been on holiday for two weeks in the beautiful Scottish Highlands, so this is my first WWW since returning, thanks as always to MizB for hosting!

To join in you need to answer 3 questions..

•What are you currently reading?

•What did you recently finish reading?

•What do you think you’ll read next?

Click on the book covers to take you to a link to find out more!

What are you currently reading?

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I loved Barbara Kingsolver’s previous book The Poisonwood Bible, and this, her latest novel, was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013.

What did you recently finish reading?

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This book really surprised me! I’ve read it before my pre-blog days and thought it good, but second time round I loved it! My post can be found HERE.

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This stand-alone by the great Margaret Atwood is part of my Short Stories Challenge this year. It’s also part of a series, which I didn’t realise so am looking forward to the next installment. My review will be up very soon.

What do you think you’ll read next?:

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I’ve only read one Simon Mawer book before, The Glass Room, and absolutely loved it so looking forward to this! It will be a review by myself and my book-blogging sister, Chrissi.

What are you reading this Wednesday? Please leave your link and I’ll come take a look! Happy Reading Everyone!

Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013 Shortlist Announced

Published April 16, 2013 by bibliobeth

The Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013 shortlist was announced today (formerly the Orange Prize), looks like a tough group – do you think Hilary Mantel can take them? And win yet another literary prize (and £30,000) for Bring Up The Bodies? Place your bets! The Chair of Judges, Miranda Richardson said “The shortlist for 2013 represents six tremendous writers at the top of their game.” 

I can’t wait to read them. I’ve only read On Beauty by Zadie Smith and wasn’t that impressed but it was a long time ago and here’s hoping my tastes have matured. The A.M. Homes book is on the Waterstones Book Club list at the moment and definitely on my TBR radar, and I have been meaning to read Kate Atkinson for a while, but not sure whether I should start with her older works? I have read The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and have The Lacuna to read pretty soon so looking forward to dipping into Flight Behaviour. As for the giantess that is Hilary Mantel, I will soon be attempting to read Wolf Hall again, was I the only person in the world that didn’t get it? I am a big fan of the Tudor period so am very disappointed in myself…. (slaps wrist). Finally, Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple  was also mentioned and recommended in a podcast that I listen to on a regular basis – Books on the Nightstand, so will be checking that out.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments on the shortlist!

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