Book Club: The Bees


My lovely friend & I occasionally send each other books we’ve loved knowing that the other will fall in love with the book as well. When I was living in Switzerland my friend asked me for my address & I knew to expect something wonderful in the post. I was not disappointed! When it arrived I opened the package & delighted at my shiny brand new book – The Bees by Laline Paull.

This is the story of a bee, Flora 717, & her incredible life in the hive. We follow Flora 717 struggling with bee life, caste controls & issues the human world wouldn’t expect a bee to endure.

This book is completely captivating & an absolute triumph! It is exceptionally warm & despite being about a bee, Flora 717 is strangely relatable. Laline has created a beautiful piece of work which immediately drew me in & kept me in suspense. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I’m thankful my friend gifted it to me as I’m not sure it’s a book I would have brought on my own accord. The fascinating world of bees gripped me & I couldn’t wait to escape into my bee life after work. I didn’t want the adventure to end & was sad to finish this book.

I highly recommend this book as one of my top reads in 2015. It’s currently available for £5.84 at Amazon.

In case you’re wondering, I sent my friend Shantaram in return – & she loved it too!

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Book Club: Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki & His Years of Pilgrimage

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Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki & His Years of Pilgrimage is the 13th novel by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. Murakami was on my radar as a writer whose work I needed to delve into. A few years ago I read one of his novels & was a bit disappointed to be honest. I appreciated his style of writing but the story was not captivating enough for me – I can’t even recall the title now. Another friend whom I trust with book recommendations just adores everything he writes so I made the mental note to revisit his work & not make my judgement based on one book.
I was sitting in a hostel & someone approached the table I was sitting at with hopes of finding this book a new home. The book peddler regarded the book highly & said he couldn’t put it down. I took this opportunity to add to my book collection currently breaking my back & added it to the pile. I’m ready to give you another go Murakami.
This is the tale of Tsukuru Tazaki who was exiled from his friendship circle for reasons unknown & his anguish & struggle to find out the truth. Friendships are extremely important to me & this idea of being completely cut off struck a chord. I felt so sad for him without his friends & his consuming sadness & loneliness. As informed, this was a quick read & I easily got drawn into the book. If you see it at a book exchange it’s worth picking up to get lost in someone’s story. It is currently available on Amazon for £3.99

Book Club: The First Bad Man A Novel by Miranda July

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The First Bad Man A Novel by Miranda July was a book recommendation from a blogger I follow – Estée Lalonde. She gushed about this book & said it was the best book she has ever read. Spurred on my her passion & enthusiasm I immediately purchased the book & selected it as one of the books I bring to New Zealand. Apparently I put more thought into my reading list than my itinerary. I have been carrying this around for over 6 months….
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To my disappointment it was not as inspiring as I anticipated. I did not get sucked into Cheryl’s world, I did not relate to or empathise with her struggle. I’m not sure if I’m still wallowing in my previous book, A Fine Balance, & this was too modern & alternative for my mood.
I’m sorry to say I read it as quickly as possible just to get through it – with hopes that it would improve (it didn’t). Does anyone else get this irrational need to finish a book they aren’t even enjoying? As soon as I finished it I abandoned it in the cafe I was sitting in in Dharamshala. I hope the next person enjoys it more. Apologies if you find it as underwhelming as I did.
If you want to try it you can click this link to Amazon where it is £8.99 at present.

Book Club: A Fine Balance

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I’ve purchased A Fine Balace by Rohinton Mistry several times at various second hand book shops around the world. I have one copy on my bookcase at home but am yet to get round to it. The others have been sacrificed to friends looking for something to read or deemed too heavy on my travels & donated to a book exchange prior to reading. I repurchased it for the fifth time in New Zealand with a steely determination to actually read it this time.
Now I know why I hadn’t read it yet. The forces beyond me were trying to save me from this heart breaking story. Next time I will let the gods lead the way & not let my steely determination get involved. I felt of average mental stability prior to this book & not I am definitely below norm.
My god do I feel depressed after finishing it. A Fine Balance is the story of 4 main characters living in 1970s India & how their lives become intertwined. These people have incredibly harrowing lives & we are not spared the heartache. Lives I couldn’t even imagine unfold in the pages & my heart sags in pain for the people I grow attached to. It seems India is not an easy place to be born to, grow & prosper. I even feel an irrational grudge towards India for letting this happen to her people.
The strength of the characters to trudge along in the face of what I would consider cruel defeat is admirable & arouses a certain awe & compassion.
The book spiralled me into a complete energy dip as I processed what happened to these poor people. It is a phenomenal read, a big book at over 700 pages, I really recommend it. I found it to be very emotional – though I do prefer books that affect & help shape me in some way. Since finishing it I have been messaging friends to see if they’ve read it – I believe I am seeking a support group response. It has certainly increased my urge to cuddle my wee dog (my happy safe place).
I’m keen to hear if you’ve read this book & what you thought. If you would like to buy it in empathy with me it is available at Amazon for £5.84.

Book Club: The Catcher in the Rye

I traded Mindy in for The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger at a hostel book exchange. I am always happy to find a classic I haven’t read. I feel that classics are a genre I haven’t given enough attention to so every now & then I make a conscious effort to incorporate one into my reading aperture. More often than not these turn out to be slow & disappointing. I even feel disappointment in myself as though I am missing something. As though I am a sub standard reader for not appreciating this literature. Are my expectations too high? Am I a literary reject? Does anyone else feel like this?
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Unfortunately Catcher in the Rye was no exception to this pattern of literary self demise. I found it lacking. It was bland. I prefer other books. Should I give up on my classics campaign? Can you recommend a good classic? Don’t judge me!
The Catcher in the Rye is currently available on Amazon for £4.99.

Book Club: Why not me?

I like variety in my reading selection & this is where Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling came into the mix. Mindy Kaling is an incredibly successful comedy writer having been part of The Office US team (writing & acting) & also producing & staring in her own show ‘The Mindy Project’. The first two series of this show crack me up, after this as the storyline developed, Mindy has become less relatable to me & the laughs are a bit more predictable. I really recommend watching it (The first two series for sure). Even Buzzfeed know how amazing she is!
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There she is at the side while I’m chowing down on AirAsia flight food – surprisingly delicious!!!

This is a follow up to Mindy’s first book ‘Is everyone hanging out without me?’. She speaks about her progress in the industry from The Office to creating her TV series The Mindy Project. Her writing style is laid back & funny. She sometimes tries to write with a bit of shock factor but I feel like I can be similar in thinking to her/her character so I don’t get as much comedy value out of this. Maybe someone straitlaced will feed off this more.

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It’s a nice easy read & she is fun company, available at amazon for £8.44. If you haven’t watched the show it is underrated. Start on series 1. If you are a Mindy fan I’m sure you will enjoy this book.