I had planned to have a flower-related subject today. After all, March hosts the beginning of spring. But considering that over the past three weeks, we had exactly one day with temperatures above freezing, I know it will be awhile before I can hope for something to grow in my flowerbeds. I don’t mind the snow and ice we have in the backyard; it makes for awesome sledding conditions. But I am craving color when I look outside. Any color. And because of that, today’s recommended reading is brought to you by the COLORS OF THE RAINBOW.
- The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane
Long been considered the first great ‘modern’ novel of war by an American—the first novel of literary distinction to present war without heroics—it tells the story of Henry and his transformation from scared, to terrified, to arrogant, and eventually to humble.
- Five Quarters of the Orange, Joanne Harris
When Framboise Simon returns to a small village on the banks of the Loire, the locals do not recognize her as the daughter of the infamous Mirabelle Dartigen—the woman they still hold responsible for a terrible tragedy that took place during the German occupation decades before. Framboise hopes for a new beginning, but she quickly discovers that past and present are inextricably intertwined. This is a novel of mothers and daughters of the past and the present, of resisting and succumbing.
- Yellow Crocus, Laila Ibrahim
Lisbeth Wainwright is born to white plantation owners, but is raised by her enslaved wet nurse, Mattie. As Lisbeth grows up, she struggles to reconcile her love for her caregiver with her parents’ expectations. When Lisbeth bears witness to a shockingly brutal act, the final vestiges of her naiveté crumble around her. Lisbeth realizes she must make a choice, one that will require every ounce of the courage she learned from her beloved Mattie.
- The White Woman on the Green Bicycle, Monique Roffey
When George and Sabine Harwood arrive in Trinidad from England as young newlyweds, their prized possession is Sabine’s green bicycle. George falls in love with the island, but Sabine is ill at ease with the racial segregation and unrest in her new home and takes solace in the freedom of her green bicycle. George and Sabine become entangled in their life on the island, until one day George makes a discovery that forces him to realize the extent of the secrets between them. An unforgettable love story, brimming with passion and politics, set over fifty years in Trinidad.
- Girl in Hyacinth Blue, Susan Vreeland
A professor invites a colleague from the art department to his home to view a painting he has kept secret for decades. The professor swears it’s a Vermeer—but why exactly has he kept it hidden so long? The reasons unfold in a gripping sequence of stories that trace ownership of the work back to Amsterdam during World War II and still further to the moment of the painting’s inception.
- Purple Hibiscus, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Fifteen-year-old Kambili’s world is circumscribed by the high walls and frangipani trees of her family compound. Her wealthy Catholic father, while generous and politically active in the community, is repressive and fanatically religious at home. When Nigeria begins to fall apart under a military coup, Kambili’s father sends her and her brother away to stay with their aunt, whose house is noisy and full of laughter. This is a book about the promise of freedom; about the blurred lines between childhood and adulthood; between love and hatred, between the old gods and the new.
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