Monday, November 2, 2009

A Different Kind of Book Club Posting for "Half of a Yellow Sun"...Before it Happens

So tonight we're reading Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It's an hour or so before we meet. Will I get one person like I did the first couple of months, or will this intrigue many and we'll get 12, our high point for Netherland?

The answer is likely somewhere in between. While we did cause a sales pop (we sold 20 copies this year of the book, compared to 4 for the Downer Avenue Schwartz last year), I fear that several regulars either had other engagements or didn't read the book.

It's a good book club book, right? If you get bored of talking about whether you liked the book, why the sisters had to be twins, were they different enough to make them fraternal in the end, did enough major characters die for a war story, and would the story have worked better if there was a major Hausa or Yoruba character (just about everyone of importance is Igbo or Caucasian)? Well, there is Mohammed, but what does it say about the story when his last appearance is in a letter, worrying about his polo game? Anyway, when the story is done, you can talk about the history. Or maybe, because the story is intertwined with history, you move back and forth.

I suspect most of my attendees (save two) would have been pro Biagran independence. But there's no question that Adichie's story does call attention to the Igbo excesses during the first coup, and the lack of enthusiasm for the Biafran leader by many of the characters.

So share my worry! I'm reading a bunch of reviews. Where's my insight? What's the legacy of the war in Nigeria today? What tribe were the folks in Little Bee?

December's worry--The Hakawati, on Monday, December 7th, 7 PM.

January's panic--The Post-Birthday World, by Lionel Shriver, Monday, January 4th, 7 PM. My sister Merrill will be so happy.

February's fear--Elmer Gantry, by Sinclair Lewis, Monday, February 1st. We're tieing in to the Florentine Opera performance.

No comments: