September's Brazilian Book & Something New :o

Some of you noted in our survey that you aren't participating in our monthly read because the book you wanted wasn't chosen. So we're going to try something new.

What's Changing

This month, if you want to read the official book chosen below, great. If not, we urge you to choose one of the other Brazilian books. Mia will be reading the main book. I'll be reading another one. And I know members are excited about some of the others. So read what you want & we'll later have a fun discussion about ALL the Brazilian books!

So What's September's Brazilian Book?

If you like the main book below, read it. If not, choose any of the other Brazilian books below & we'll discuss them all at the end of September.

The main book as chosen by members & being read by Mia:

Genre: Young Adult (Sub-genres: Fiction, Magical Realism)

Amazon: 5 out of 5 (4 ratings)

Goodreads:  3.87 out of 5 (380 ratings) 

Pages: 192

Of note: A 2017 LA Times Book Prize Finalist. A NY Public Library Best Book for Teens. The author was selected to take part in a workshop by Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez himself based on this book's synopsis.

View on Amazon (US) | (UK) | (Canada)


All the other Brazilian books you can choose to read & discuss instead:

Genre:  Science Fiction (Sub-genres: Dystopian, Cultural)

Amazon:  5 out of 5 (3 ratings)

Goodreads:  4.18  out of 5 (182 ratings)

Pages: 374

Of note:  In the tradition of Nineteen Eighty-Four, but written in a strikingly Brazilian way.

View on Amazon (US) | (UK) | (Canada)


Genre:  Urban (Sub-genres: Classic, Historical)

Amazon: 4.2 out of 5 (20 ratings)

Goodreads:  4.17 out of 5 (9,244 ratings)

Pages: 280

Of note: Considered a Brazilian Lord of the Flies. The NY Times called the author "Brazil's most illustrious and venerable novelist."

View on Amazon (US) | (UK) | (Canada)


Genre: Literature (Sub-genres: Urban, Historical)

Amazon: 3.9 out of 5 (20 reviews)

Goodreads: 3.92 out of 5 (1,229 ratings)

Pages: 452

Of note: Became an internationally acclaimed hit film. Novelistic account based upon real events.

View on Amazon (US) | (UK) | (Canada)

 


Genre: Autobiography (Sub-genres: Special Groups, Down Syndrome)

Amazon:  Not rated

Goodreads:  3.74 out of 5 (365 ratings)

Pages: 232

Of note: Won every major Brazilian literary prize. Shortlisted for Dublin's International Literary Award. Won France's Charles Brisset Award. (If you're curious, this is the book I'll be reading. )

View on Amazon (US) | (UK) | (Canada)


Genre: Psychological (Sub-genres: Fiction, Avant-Garde)

Amazon: 3.4 out of 5 (3 ratings)

Goodreads:  3.73 out of 5 (279 ratings)

Pages: 98

Of note: Best Book of 2014 by NPR. The translator won the Susan Sontag Prize for Literary Translation with a section from this book.

View on Amazon (US) | (UK) | (Canada)

We can't wait to hear which Brazilian book you've decided to read & hear your thoughts on how we set up the reading this month!

10 Great International Audiobooks

We're of course fans of global reading, but finding a great international book with a wonderful translator...that's also available as an audiobook with a compelling narrator? That's difficult! 

However, we've managed to compile a list of 10 great international audiobooks below for some happy listening.

 
 

VOTE: Which Book Do You Want to Read From Brazil?

Based upon your feedback, we're going to be trying out some new things over the next few months. (If you haven't yet taken the anonymous 4-question survey on how to make our book club better, please do. Take it & you might win an Amazon gift card!)

In the surveys submitted so far, many of you are appreciative of how we select the country's books. You liked that:

  • We included different genres
  • Members could suggest books
  • The books Mia & I find are often readily available in both ebook & paperback formats to borrow/buy

No system is perfect, but we're glad that the majority of you seem to enjoy our book selections as well as reading books from other countries.

Now onto the vote!

Vote on Which Book to Read in September

A big shout to Kathryn Fox, Caity Greig, & Kaman Maxwell for their suggestions! Since the book club votes from a list of 6 books every month (2 from me, 2 from Mia & 2 from members), we chose which of the member-suggested books would be included via lottery. Click here to view a 1 minute 29 second video & turn up the sound to see which books were suggested & watch the lottery draw as it occurred. 

For September, we have 2 new genres in the list which we've never included before: Psychological & Young Adult. In addition, there are 4 other genres to choose from: Science Fiction, Autobiography, Literature & Urban. 

You can vote until Sun., Aug. 20 11PM ET. (That's NYC time. See this converted to your local time below.)

Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com

 To participate:

1. Review the books.

2. Then, click here to vote.

We'll publish the anonymous results afterwards so you can get the book in advance.

Silent Reading Parties for Adults

It's called many different names around the country & the world. Regardless of the program title, the intent is the same—to develop fluent readers by providing time during the school day for kids to read quietly for an hour.

But did you know that silent reading parties for adults are a thing as well?

Thought to be invented by Christopher Frizzelle of Seattle 7 or 8 years ago, silent reading parties were created as a way to promote the fun/importance of reading & generally take place monthly. Often held at cozy bars with couches & plenty of other seating, you can grab a drink & read in comfortable silence for an hour or two among fellow book lovers.

BYOB has a different meaning for these events--it's Bring Your Own Book as attendees don’t read the same novel. Most of the time, attendees are not even expected to discuss what they’re reading. It's just pure reading as a community in a shared space. 

These "parties" are perfect for people who like companionable silence while they read. They are also inclusive without being intrusive. You can show up, read & leave without saying a word if you wish. Some events are quiet with only a occasional hushed question or comment.  Some merge the ideas of reading & party with a time for introductions to your fellow readers/their books, an hour of quiet reading & then optional mingling afterwards. A few events even offer a free book swap. Occasionally, people even end up hanging out reading & discussing books all night long.

If a silent reading party appeals to you, look for one in your area on the Silent Book Club site, through an online search (using phrases like silent reading party & silent book club) or via social media. The Silent Book Club also offers tips to help you create a club in your area if none currently exist.

I'm sad to say that though two such silent reading groups exist in NYC where I reside, neither have any new events planned so let me know if attend a silent reading party so I can live vicariously through your bookish self. 

Happy reading!

Book Suggestions for September?

Mia choose September's country to read because she's recently been listening to a lot of this location's music. I love the music too along with this country's passion for soccer (or football as many call it).

Still unsure which country we're talking about? Play the video below for some great background music while you read on. (It's a catchy song from there which translated into English is titled, "The Telephone Rang Again.")

Ooh! Samba, funk, rock & bossa nova merged wonderfully together. Nice choice, Mia! :)

Any guesses as to the country we're adventuring to next month? Well, if you know where samba & bossa nova are from, you've probably guessed correctly. Brazil!

Their main language is Portuguese. It's the largest country in South America covering 3.3 million sq. mi. (8.6 million sq. km) which is around 47% of the continent & it has one of the longest coastlines in the world at 4,655 mi. (7,491 km) long. In addition to music, Brazil is most famous for it's Amazon River, the annual carnival in Rio de Janeiro & seriously huge football/soccer stars like Pele, Ronaldo, & Ronaldinho not to mention their successful World Cup team who has won an astonishing 5 times.

And don't get me started on the food! As this gorgeous cookbook by a Rio de Janeiro native notes, "Brazilian food is an explosion of color and flavor—the mixture of three distinct cultures, Portuguese, African, and native Indian."

Brazilian cheese bread (pão de queijo) is crispy on the outside while soft & chewy on the inside filled with a cheesy tang. Fritters, croquettes & empanadas are deliciously-fried guilty pleasures while dulce de leche cake with a sour cream sorbet makes the perfect Brazilian dessert. 

The very addictive caipirinha made with cachaça, sugar & lime is the national cocktail. 

Brazil will be an amazing country to read & we'd love to hear book suggestions from you. Just let us know by Mon., Aug. 14 11PM ET. (That's NYC time. See this converted to your local time below.)

Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com

Please note - We're specific in the books we read, they must: 

  • Largely occur in the country specified unless the world described is an alternate universe
  • Be written by an author born there who has spent a good portion of their life there
  • Exist in paperback & ebook available on both Amazon & Kindle at least in the US & hopefully elsewhere

A Fantastic Replacement for OverDrive is Here

Meet Libby.

I adore OverDrive. I've used it to borrow books from my library for years. I listen to borrowed audiobooks on the OverDrive app & borrow ebooks from the app to then read on my Kindle. But there's a new kid in town & her name's Libby. She's looking to replace OverDrive in your heart & on your mobile device/laptop.

You may be surprised to find out that OverDrive is even welcoming her to the world. That's because they're the ones who built her. Yep, they're replacing OverDrive with Libby!

So What's the difference between OverDrive & Libby?

You get all of the same basic functionality you've learned to love with OverDrive, but a far better experience with Libby. Libby has a cleaner user interface & is less confusing. Since she's more streamlined than OverDrive, she's also quicker to use. In addition, you can easily toggle between libraries if you hold cards from multiple institutions & Libby even allows for different cardholders within the same family. She's also pretty d*mn cute! Even the name "Libby" is sweet since it's also short for library.

Like any new product, there is some room for improvement such as more sophisticated formatting options. However, I loved Libby so much that she has replaced OverDrive on my phone & my computer.

Happy reading!

 

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Is It Really a "Fun" Quiz If You Get All the Answers Wrong?

Quiz

I never seem to do well at the literary quizzes. Most of the time, they seem to focus on books I haven't read or details that just didn't seem important enough for me to remember.

Can real people actually remember the opening or closing lines of books?

I swear I'm well read, but I seem prefer books which aren't often hugely popular with my peers. No Jane Austen or Kafka for me. I love Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn & Isaac Asimov!

So it was a huge relief to take a basic literature test & just get a single question wrong.

Do you do well at these literary quizzes? Take this quick quiz & tell me how you did. 

Adventuring by Book to North Korea in August

North Korean flag

It's likely this will be the only way we see North Korea...through the eyes of someone else. 

Our next book was written by someone who has been called "North Korea’s Solzhenitsyn" comparing the author to the Russian Nobel laureate whose writing helped raise global awareness of the Soviet regime's injustices.

The parallels with North Korea are obvious.

The Accusation is thought to be the first fiction published abroad by someone still living in North Korea. In fact, this is the only fiction we found written by a North Korean author period. Smuggled out of the country in 2013, this work of fiction is a dystopian thriller. But the book is no fantasy. It’s the reality for 25 million people living out unparalleled human rights abuses in North Korea today.

"The Accusation is a deeply moving and eye-opening work of fiction that paints a powerful portrait of life under the North Korean regime. Set during the period of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il’s leadership, the seven stories that make up The Accusation give voice to people living under this most bizarre and horrifying of dictatorships. The characters of these compelling stories come from a wide variety of backgrounds, from a young mother living among the elite in Pyongyang whose son misbehaves during a political rally, to a former Communist war hero who is deeply disillusioned with the intrusion of the Party into everything he holds dear, to a husband and father who is denied a travel permit and sneaks onto a train in order to visit his critically ill mother. Written with deep emotion and writing talent, The Accusation is a vivid depiction of life in a closed-off one-party state, and also a hopeful testament to the humanity and rich internal life that persists even in such inhumane conditions."

Note: The author of this book is anonymous, but it's believed that he was born in China. Usually, the author's birth in another country would exclude this book from our list of North Korean suggestions. We made an exception because:

1. This work of fiction is unique & we found no other genres aside from memoirs.
2. The author was born of North Korean parents.
3. It seems likely that the author moved to North Korea as a baby. 

A special thank you to book club member, Aisha Esbhani for the suggestion and Yeonsang Cho, who lives in South Korea, for her impassioned plea to include this important work.

View on Amazon (US) | (UK) | (Canada)

Results of vote

Soothing Music...for Reading?

Soothing music for reading?

A friend of mine swears that playing spa music in the background while she reads helps her delve deeper into her book. That it not only soothes her, but adds some white noise blocking out everything else happening in her house.

I'm not one of those people who can easily listen to music & do other things at the same time. However, I must admit that Pandora's New Age Spa Music station wasn't as distracting as I thought it would be. I don't think I'll be listening to music when I read in the future (sorry, Denise), but it's still fun to try new things.

How about you? Do you listen to music when you read?

VOTE: Which Book Should We Read From North Korea?

Vote here

North Korea has always fascinated me because of it's isolation & the scary articles/photos I've seen about escapees. But inflammatory news articles can be very different from books.

We were only able to find memoirs from North Korea which exactly match our requirements for the types of books we read. However, we made an exception & included a single work of fiction in the list of books. The reasoning as to why is noted in this particular book's description.

A special thank you to book club members, Elke Richelsen & Aisha Esbhani for making North Korean suggestions as well as Yeonsang Cho (who lives in South Korea) for her impassioned plea to include a specific book. I'd also like to give a shout out to gold star member, Ivor Watkins who was kind enough to test a large number of back-end changes on our web site. 

You can vote until Thurs., July 20. To participate:

1. Review the books.

2. Vote by ranking each book in order from most want to read to least want to read.

We'll publish the anonymous results afterwards so you can get the book in advance.

13 More Reasons You'll Love an eReader/Kindle

Your eReader replaces are those heavy books you had to lug around

I've offered 12 reasons you'll love an eReader/Kindle, but below are 13 more which are bound to convince you if haven't yet made up your mind.

1. Book reviews & suggestions available from your device. No need to look them up separately. 

2. More comfortable to hold in your hand than a book.

3. You can loan eBooks out on many eReaders.

4. No lugging around heavy books. Store hundreds on your eReader. 

5. It's one click to add your book to Goodreads.

6. The Kindle & many other eReaders recognize how fast you are reading so at a glance you can understand how long it will take you to finish a chapter or the book. 

7. Depending upon the eReader, you can save special pages throughout the book, make notes & highlight passages...& export these as a simple file for book club. If you ever re-read a book, everything remains available.

8. Some eReaders have a glare-free screen & automatically adjust your screen brightness to your current light condition so your eReader can go from full sunlight to dusk to nighttime with the screen showing the correct brightness for your eyes automatically.

9. With a Kindle & many other eReaders, words you look up in the dictionary are automatically added to a Vocabulary Builder which you can review to reinforce retention. 

10. Your eReader will automatically save your place in the book.

11. Many eReaders also have apps which allow you to pick up where you left off on your eReader & snatch a few minutes of reading on your phone.

12. With some eReaders, you can lookup word definitions, characters, settings, footnotes & many translations without losing your place in the book. 

13. Less clutter around your home. No more books stuffed everywhere or boxes hidden away. Keep only a smattering of special books on your bookshelf & coffee table.

I went from an eBook hater to a huge proponent. Try out an eReader & I'm sure you'll become an instant convert too.

Final note: I cherish my current Kindle Voyager & I loved my previous Kindle Paperwhite. Don't be snookered into the expensive Kindle Oasis. The Paperwhite? Delightful. The Voyage? A bit nicer, but pricier.

Want to Suggest a Book for Next Month's Country?

North Korea ICBM threat

Mia & I decided to choose our next country to read because it has been in the news of late for very scary reasons. They've recently performed a test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) & there have been implications of a possible nuclear threat.

<shudder>

As a last bastion of undiluted communism, North Korea is a unique country in isolation & one we think we should delve into further. Initially, we worried that few books would be available since North Korea doesn't promote freethinking & people don't often escape. But we managed to find enough books that we'll be able to provide a nice selection. One caveat: We won't have as large a variety of genres to choose from since every book we found with the exception of one was a memoir. However, all the North Korean books seem fascinating to us & we think you'll agree.

Book club members will vote on which book to read on July 15 from a list of 6 books. Before then, if you have any North Korean books to suggest, please let us know. Just remember that we are specific in the books we read. They must:

- Largely occur in North Korea unless the world described is an alternate reality
- Be written by an author born there who has spent a good portion of their life there
- Exist in paperback & ebook available on both Amazon & Kindle at least in the US & hopefully elsewhere

Until then, the questions on my mind are: Do the North Koreans really believe what they're told & do they truly revere their "Dear Leader"? We shall soon find out.

Easy Ways You Can Help #SaveTheBees (Action Book Club)

If we die, we're taking you with us. #SaveTheBees

Bees are dying around the world. But as a part of the Action Book Club Program, we've compiled 10 easy ways you can help #SaveTheBees.

The most recent book we read for our online book club, A World Adventure by Book spotlighted a future world where bee deaths created global food shortages. Our current world is not that far away from such devastation since bees are responsible for about 1/3 of the food we eat & horrifying bee losses are being reported with 33% of domesticated bees & 23% of wild bees dead in the US!

These same problems are occurring everywhere across the globe, but you can help #SaveTheBees:

1. Share this post.
Make your social network aware of the issue by sharing this post with the tag #SaveTheBees.

2. Sign a petition.
Make your voice heard using the largest global web movement calling on decision makers to save the bees & the global food supply.

3. Give thirsty bees a free drink.
Bees die of thirst, but you can make a difference by putting a shallow dish of fresh water outside with mini "islands" of marbles/rocks/cork. (Bees can drown so don't forget to include the islands!)

4. Buy local, raw honey.
Supermarket honey is a blend of honeys from many different countries & floral origins (& sometimes includes corn syrup!). There’s no way for you to know it's origins or composition. It's also processed, heated & filtered so that it has a color & translucence that we have mistakenly come to know as "honey." Real honey is locally-produced, raw honey which you can buy at farmer's markets, specialty grocery stores, local apiaries & even online from companies like Bee Raw. You’ve heard of wine flights where you try different wines? Bee Raw even offers a honey flight packaged in beautiful glass vials.

Breakfast bowl with honey

5. Use eco-friendly honey instead of highly-processed sugar.
Instead of unhealthy sugar in your recipes, use local, raw honey which is better for you & the environment. Here are some delicious honey recipes to try.

6. Avoid using garden & lawn chemicals.
Pesticides, insecticides & many fertilizers are not only decimating bee & other wildlife populations, but are linked to cancer in people. Switch to a strategy of integrated pest management or opt for organic fertilizers & biological controls. Better for your family & the bees.

7. Plant native, bee-friendly flowers & flowering herbs.
Bees are suffering from malnutrition. Any person who has even a postage-stamp yard (or a windowsill!) can put in native bee-friendly plants & leave some wild areas to give bees a place to nourish themselves & their hive. Butterflies & hummingbirds will love these areas as much as the bees do! Here are guides on which native plants are best: US | Canada | UK

Bee on white clover

8. Let clover, dandelions & other useful "weeds" bloom.
Before mowing your lawn, allow these useful "weeds" to bloom so bees can benefit from these important nectar & pollen sources. 

9. Encourage schools to promote bee-friendly programs.
Help expose students to new ideas about food, wildlife & plants through bee-friendly programs & school garden kits: US | Canada | UK

10. Donate (even small amounts help!)
Donate to an organization dedicated to helping protect/promote bees & other pollinators. We love The Pollinator Partnership which was given the highest rating (4 stars) from Charity Navigator.

Have You Ever Contacted an Author of a Book?

Contacting via mail

When I was very young, I wrote to Steven Spielberg as a part of a class project. All the other kids heard back from the people they contacted. Some received a form letter. Others received personal hand written letters & gifts!

I was the only one who didn't hear back at all & it crushed me. :(

Up until recently, this was my only experience in reaching out to someone in the public eye.

Then, I wrote to Douglas Rogers, the author of the May book our book club read called, The Last Resort. He responded back almost immediately & the little girl in me squealed with delight. 

I contacted him after our last book club discussion where we discussed the memoir piquing everyone's curiosity.  Was the resort (Drifters) still open & how were the author's parents doing? I thought Drifters was open pointing to a couple of links I found online. Club member Judy Shenk believed the links referenced a tour group instead.

So to find out the truth, I decided to ask the author directly & here is his response:

Email from the author

It was gratifying to hear back from Douglas, but even more so to know what actually happened to Drifters as well as Douglas' parents. (Special thanks to Judy whose discussion point made me curious enough to reach out to our Zimbabwean book author.)

So have you contacted an author you love or hate? If so, what drove you to send a message & what was the response?

Our Guatemalan July book is...

Guatemala flag

Thank you to all who voted! All votes have now been tallied. I'm excited to read Guatemala & support an author from a country with such a low literacy rate.

I hope that you'll be excited as I am to read this book, but I also want to note for all our new members that we want reading to be fun. We hope you to read the book & participate in the discussion. However, if this doesn't happen, that's ok. Mia & I will love you anyway. :)

So without further ado, the winning book chosen by our book club members for July is...

"'Right from the start I picked her for a thief, although that day she didn’t take anything. . . . I knew she’d be back,' the narrator/bookseller of Severina recalls in this novel’s opening pages. Imagine a dark-haired book thief as alluring as she is dangerous. Imagine the mesmerized bookseller secretly tracking the volumes she steals, hoping for insight into her character, her motives, her love life. In Rodrigo Rey Rosa’s hands, this tale of obsessive love is told with almost breathless precision and economy. The bookstore owner is soon entangled in Severina’s mystery: seductive and peripatetic, of uncertain nationality, she steals books to actually read them and to share with her purported grandfather, Señor Blanco.
 
In this unsettling exploration of the alienating and simultaneously liberating power of love, the bookseller’s monotonous existence is rocked by the enigmatic Severina. As in a dream, the disoriented man finds that the thin border between rational and irrational is no longer reliable. Severina confirms Rey Rosa’s privileged place in contemporary world literature."

View on Amazon (US) | (UK) | (Canada)

Voting results

VOTE: Which Book Should We Read From Guatemala?

Vote here

It was difficult to discover book suggestions for Guatemala. Many of the books found weren't written by Guatemalan authors, weren't available in both electronic & paper format, were only in Spanish, or were from authors who left Guatemala as young children. However, we persevered & together came up with 6 wonderful Guatemalan books.

But before I get into the books, I'd like to introduce the book club member who made a Guatemalan book suggestion this month which fit all of the criteria, Aisha Esbhani. We have a wide variety of passionate book club members, but Aisha is pretty special. Just like Mia & I, she realized that her book shelf was filled almost entirely with books by North American & British authors so she set out to change this by reading the world. But her story is a bit different from ours in that she made this decision when she was just 12 years old last year. Here's her full story if you want to find out more. We're happy to have Aisha as a book club member & pleased that she helped us craft our list of Guatemalan books this month!

You have a number of genres to choose from for our Guatemala book: nonfiction, literature, history, poetry & testimonio (the latter of which is described in more detail in that book's description).

You can vote until Tues., June 20. To participate:

1. Review the books.

2. Vote by ranking each book in order from most want to read to least want to read.

We'll publish the anonymous results afterwards so you can get the book in advance.

 

 

Our New Book Suggestion Method & New Country

Flag of Guatemala

With our book club growing, we're adjusting how we compile the monthly book list. We'll now create a list of 6 books per month as follows:

  • I will suggest 2 books
  • Mia will suggest 2 books
  • We'll use 2 suggestions from members*

(This list is later voted on by members & the most popular book becomes the book we'll then read.) 

*Notes:

  • If more than 2 books are suggested, the entire list of suggestions will be entered into a lottery with 2 randomly chosen.
  • If fewer than 2 books are suggested, than Mia/I will add to the list to ensure a total of 6 books is compiled.
  • If more than 1 suggestion is provided by a single member, Mia & I will choose the book we feel will work best for the book club.

With all of this in mind, we'd love to hear book suggestions from you. Just let us know by Wed., June 14 11:59PM US ET. Also, please note we're specific in the books we read, they must: 

  • Largely occur in the country specified unless the world described is an alternate universe
  • Be written by an author born there who has spent a good portion of their life there
  • Exist in paperback & ebook available on both Amazon & Kindle at least in the US & hopefully elsewhere

But what country will we be reading?

Vista of volcanos

We'll be adventuring to a place we haven't been before as a club: Central America. Known for its volcanoes, ancient Mayan ruins, coffee & crazy bus rides, we'll be reading Guatemala!

Toy buses from Guatemala

Voting Is "Finnished" ;) & Here's Our June Book

Finnish flag

When your votes were tallied, there was a tie for 1st place: The Summer Book & The Blood of Angels. Because of this, we created a new rule: Mia & I will break any tie by choosing the novel we think is best for the book club.

Both books were suggested by club members & looked fantastic, but we chose The Blood of Angels because it's science fiction which we haven't read much of & it's an eco-thriller (with a hint of magic) which we haven't read at all.

"Another novel from the award-winning author of Troll & a powerhouse of the Finnish science fiction & fantasy scene.

It is claimed Einstein said that if bees disappear from the earth, mankind has four years left. When bee-vanishings of unprecedented scale hit the U.S., Orvo, a Finnish beekeeper, knows where it will lead. And when he sees the queen dead in his hives, it's clear the epidemic has spread to Europe, & the world is coming to an end. Orvo's knowledge of bees just may enable him to glimpse a solution to catastrophe: he takes a desperate step onto a path where only he & the bees know the way but it propels him into conflict with his estranged, but much-loved son, a committed animal activist. A magical plunge into the myth of death & immortality, this is a tale of human blindness in the face of devastation—& the inevitable."

(A special thank you to book club member, Caity Greig for the suggestion.)

View on Amazon (US) | (UK) | (Canada)

Final results of Finland book vote

VOTE: Which Finnish Book Should We Read in June?

Finnish flag

In June, we're adventuring by book to a very different place this month's Zimbabwe book: Finland, a stable country with cold winters, thousands of lakes & a view of the Northern Lights.

Including our suggestions as well as those from book club members (thanks Caity, Ivor & Stéphanie G.!), we have sci fi, short stories, literature & satire for you to choose from for our Finland book.

You can vote until Sat., May 20. To participate:

1. Review the books.

2. Vote by ranking each book in order from most want to read to least want to read.

We'll publish the anonymous results afterwards so you can get the Finnish book in advance.

Curious What Country We'll Read in June or Have a Book Suggestion?

Bag of Finnish candy


Well, this candy is made there. Apparently, you can make a "medicine" from it which is a "cure for all ailments" by crushing 2 bags & combining it with 1.5 liters of vodka. :o At least, that's what it says on Amazon.

Just knowing this makes me want to read...

...FINLAND all the more. Yep, we're going to a place quite different from May's Zimbabwe book.

We'll vote on which book to read on May 15 from a list of at least 6 books across genres. Before then, if you have any Finnish books to suggest, let us know. Just remember that we are specific in the books we read. They must:

- Largely occur in Finland unless the world described is an alternate universe
- Be written by an author born there who has spent a good portion of their life there
- Exist in paperback & ebook available on both Amazon & Kindle at least in the US & hopefully elsewhere