Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. Half of a Yellow Sun. Read by Robin Miles. New York: Recorded Books, 2008.
Reason read: Half of a Yellow Sun was made into a movie – read in honor of the Academy Awards sometimes being in February and sometimes in March.
This is the story of five individuals during the short time of Biafra’s secession from Nigeria in the early ’60s. First is Ugwu, a young village boy sent to be the servant of a university mathematics professor. He knows his situation in Professor Odenigbo’s home is very good compared to other servant boys so he is careful not to “rock the boat” but all the while he keeps his ears and eyes open. His is a coming of age story of sorts. Professor Odenigbo is passionate and outspoken about the plight of the African continent, especially when it comes to political influences. Despite his strong opinions he is easily dominated by his mother. This weakness leads to his undoing, starting with his romance with Olanna. Olanna’s relationship with Odenigbo defies her parents and their thinly veiled wish for her to be used as a pawn to marry wealth or royalty. Her strength comes from acceptance and forgiveness. Much like her twin sister, Kainene (my favorite character in the group). Kainene has defiantly fallen in love with very British and very white, Richard Churchill. While the twins appear to be very different from one another they share the same underlying vulnerabilities. Finally, there is Kainene’s Richard Churchill. He has come to Nigeria to write a book about Igbo art. Instead he finds himself caught up in the secession and hoping to immerse himself in the new Biafra as one of its new citizens. Then there is the violence of war…
Swirling around these characters are issues of race, identity, and sense of belonging. There is one poignant scene when Richard admits to never feeling danger despite being in the midst of a brutal massacre. His white skin allowed him to remain outside the violence. Even his romance with an Igbo woman did nothing to threaten his sense of being merely an innocent outsider.
Author fact: Adichie did a TED talk in July of 2009 on feminism.
Book trivia: Half of a Yellow Sun won the Orange Broadband Prize.
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “Africa, the Greenest Continent” (p 9).
What can I say about March? Personally, it’s the St. Patrick’s Day 10k road race. I’ve been injured so it’s hard to anticipate how well I will or won’t do. I went for my first outdoor run this weekend and ran 7.5 with a steady sub-10 pace. That felt strong! Happy girl! And speaking of strong, here’s what’s on deck for the books:
- Naked Lunch by William Burroughs – in honor of Jack Kerouac’s birth month. Jack and William were friends…
- Family Man by Jayne Ann Krentz – in honor of Krentz’s birth month
- The Brontes by Juliet Barker – in honor of March being literature month (over 1,000 pages!)
- Means of Ascent by Robert Caro – to continue the series started in honor of Presidents Day being in February (EB)
- Gilead by Marilynne Robinson – in honor of Maine becoming a state in March
- The Assistant by Bernard Malamud – Malamud died in March.
- Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Adichie – in honor of the Academy Awards being in February and March (HOAYS was made into a movie)
- Confessional: still reading Center of the World by Jacqueline Sheehan
- I am supposed to receive Why the Grateful Dead Matter by Michael Benson as a January Early Review book sometime in the month of March…As an aside, there are a few other books I haven’t received and feel bad that I never read or reviewed them. I am sure they have all been published by now and so (I can’t believe I’m saying this) I’m going to see if a library has them. If they do, I will read and review as if I got them as Early Reviews from LibraryThing. The first non-early review I am going to tackle is a book I was supposed to received in 2009 – Sanctuary of Outcasts, a memoir by Neil White.
So, February was a weird month. Being sick and injured didn’t help except that both ailments gave me more time to read. Turning 47 turned out to be not a big deal. Just another number in the grand scheme of things. The groundhog didn’t see his shadow either so there are less numbers in winter… And speaking of numbers – here are the books:
- A.D.: After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld
- Beautiful Place to Die by Philip Craig
- If You Lived Here You’d Be Home By Now by Sandra Loh
- Rocksburg Railroad Murders by K.C. Constantine
- As She Crawled Across the Table by Jonathan Lethem (AB)
- Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchan
- Her First American by Lore Segal
- Down Where the Moon was Small or And I Shall Sleep…Down Where the Moon was Small by Richard Llewellyn
- Path to Power by Robert Caro – finishing TODAY!
- Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder (AB)
- Tom Brown’s School Days by Thomas Hughes (DNF)
- Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (AB) – will finish in March
- The Art of Dying by Patricia Weenolsen
- Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano
- Center of the World by Jacqueline Sheehan
- The Ultimate Treadmill Workout by David Siik
For LibraryThing’s Early Review program:
- Liar by Rob Roberge
I also spent some time revisiting the Challenge list. Because of all the missed individual titles I wanted to redo the schedule. That took up a great deal of my time!