I’m happy to comply with the Scandinavian custom of eating these buns on the last Sunday before the Lenten season….. or really on any day for that matter.
Liv shared an excellent recipe with me – but it’s in Norwegian and metric and I’ve already had to translate it once in my head – two times in 2 days would be too much for my brain. So my suggestion if you want to try some – find a good dependable sweet bun recipe. Add a hint of cardamom and anise. Make up the recipe and once done, stuff with whipped cream. You don’t have to wait all year to give them a try. I think it’s also common to eat these on Tuesday – or Fat Tuesday.
The story is a riveting saga of twin brothers, Marion and Shiva Stone, born of a tragic union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Orphaned by their mother's death in childbirth and their father's disappearance, and bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution.But it's love, not politics -- their passion for the same woman -- that will tear them apart and force Marion to flee his homeland and make his way to America, finding refuge in his work at an underfunded, overcrowded New York City hospital. When the past catches up to him, wreaking havoc and destruction, Marion has to entrust his life to the two men he has trusted least in the world: the surgeon father who abandoned him and the brother who betrayed him.
I loved this book. LOVED it! One of the best books I’ve read in some time. It is an epic novel about family, community, betrayal, parental love and estrangement, sibling bonding and rivalry, personal bravery, not-so-uncommon acts of kindness, the heroic practice of medicine, suffering and compassion and irony. And I loved it. Did I say that already? The characters were so well developed that for days afterwards I’d catch myself thinking about them. I actually cried at the tragic times and felt so inspired by some of the exchanges. A powerful book that you should put on your ‘Must Read’ list right now.
When Germany invaded Poland, Stuka bombers devastated Warsaw—and the city's zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into empty cages. Another dozen "guests" hid inside the Zabinskis' villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing, and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts. Jan, active in the Polish resistance, kept ammunition buried in the elephant enclosure and stashed explosives in the animal hospital. Meanwhile, Antonina kept her unusual household afloat, caring for both its human and its animal inhabitants—otters, a badger, hyena pups, lynxes.
A fascinating true story of strength and courage. And the story itself is amazing to read and know that amidst the craziness and fear that must have enveloped all of Warsaw that good, true people existed and did what they felt was right – no matter what the consequences might be. The author used Antonia’s diaries to piece together their story and interviewed a few remaining Jews that had stayed in the zoo. But to be honest, I became bored of all the animal references. Antonia was in fact a zoologist, so her diary entries must have reflected those interests of hers – but I felt like it was brought to attention in the book a bit too much. The animals sleeping habits, feeding, sounds, etc…. a bit over-written in those areas. Ackerman her self comes from a scientific background and has previously written several books about nature, science and animals.
Campbelle’s class had been doing a unit on writing and fairy tales for the past week and at the end of the unit they had a fairy tale ball with Reader’s Theater and invited families to attend. Her group performed a spin-off of Cinderella. She read the part of Cinderella, who was not going to get married so young, but wanted to study and have a career first (gotta love that Cinderella).
Then they could share their own ‘fractured fairy tale’ that they wrote.
Take a look at that sweet dedication on the front cover. “Just like a real book.”
Finding a good book description is a bit difficult with this book. It is being marketed in a very unusual, highly secretive way. Most summaries say things about ‘not wanting to Spoil’ the story line and swearing readers to codes of silence, ect … all leading you to believe this story is going to be something fun, or a bit of a crazy, riot adventure.
That could not be more wrong.
My book club read this book for February, and I think we all came to a bit of a consensus that although the book was intriguing and interesting in its own right, it was being marketed terribly inappropriately.
Little Bee is a story about a 16 year old Nigerian orphan and a well to do British couple that are trying to repair their failing marriage. Something terribly brutal happens on a beach in Nigeria (I wouldn’t give that part away) and it forever intertwines the characters. Its really a story about sadness and living in a world that symbiotically shows its vast extremes. It makes you ask yourself, (given our safety in the world which we assume is our birthright) “Would I do that??” “Could I do that??”
So overall I would recommend this as a very compelling read, do buy into all the strange, mysterious hype you may read when looking at the publishers summary. It’s a far more serious affair than it makes it out to be.
Key Issues that are touched upon in the booK:
Oil exploration in the Niger Delta (area which Little Bee is fictionally from).
The slide show was made by Friends of the Earth to highlight the environmental and human cost of Western oil companies’ exploitation of the region.