Summer Reading Staff Picks…Part 8!

Check out today’s picks from Jenny A.!

THE POISONWOOD BIBLE by Barbara Kingsolver

A good read for… fans of Steinbeck. Anyone who appreciates a gentle challenge to think about our priveledged lives. History buffs (colonialism), those with an interest in women’s studies.

A brief synopsis… The Poisonwood Bible follows a Christian missionary and his family into the heart of Africa. This epic story is narrated through the psyches of three coming-of-age girls and their mother, who are bound to one man and his obsessive mission. They are pitted against the the life-giving (and life-taking) forces of the jungle, against tragedy, and challenged by love across cultures. 

So why is it a top pick?  It’s better than a movie! I love books that follow a family through a long period of time–by the end you feel like you’ve truly grown with them. There are times when I laughed out loud reading about the sensibility of the African villagers. It questions the practicality your posessions and makes you laugh at the absurdities of life. So well done. And the writing is just delicious.  Seriously. 

**Special endorsement from the blogger:  The Poisonwood Bible is easily one of my ultimate top picks.  Kingsolver has a keen ability to capture each character’s desperation for love and healing in the midst of extraordinary circumstances.

One of my favorite quotes from the book… I’d lost my wings. Don’t ask me how I gained them back — the story is too unbearable.  I trusted too long in false reassurances, believing as we all want to do when men speak of the national interest, that it’s also ours.  In the end, my lot was cast with the Congo.  Poor Congo, barefoot bride of men who took her jewels and promised the Kingdom. 

ORYX AND CRAKE by Margaret Atwood

A good read for… Anyone who loves their sci-fi laced with  thought-provoking environmental and humanitarian issues.  It  boldy explores what is “natural” through beautiful language and dark humor.

A brief synopsis… In the quest to create a new Eden, what is lost? The narrator, now called “Snowman” looks back on the events of his life that lead up his current isolation, involving a chidhood video game turned serious, the evolution of a world literally centered around products that feed off of people’s insecurities, and a strange relationship with a mysterious woman. 

So why is it a top pick? Atwood avoids an overwhelming feeling of fatalism in her painting of our future by creating a world that is exquisitely detailed, oddly familiar, and charged with genuine emotion. The mystery of how things got to be this way keeps the pages turning (though in true Atwood style, it has its moments of tangential flashbacks. Stick with it. It gets amazing.)