Monday, February 10, 2014

Discovering new writers- Falling in love with Kingsolver

I often find bookstores daunting. When you set foot inside, you find more books than you could ever read in a lifetime, and a myriad of authors just waiting for your attention. Bookstores fill me with both anxiety over how little I will be able to read in my lifetime, and exhilaration over all of the books I know I am will fall in love with.

Recently, I happened upon The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver in a used bookstore. Having heard the name many times, I picked it up and thought I would give her writing a try. This, as it turns out, was one of the happiest impulse buys of my life.

The novel is the story of a Baptist missionary who takes his wife and three daughters on an excursion to the Congo right as the country is struggling for independence from Belgium. The wife and daughters narrate their adventures, revealing both the cruelty and ignorance of the family patriarch and, in stunning contrast, the beauty and charity of the Congolese people. Ignoring sign after sign that his family is not needed, wanted, or safe, the Reverend refuses to leave and ends up forever changing the course of many lives.

I didn't read this book... I devoured this book. Told with quiet passion and nearly limitless eloquence, Kingsolver created five characters that I wanted to fly to 1950's Congo and rescue. As I finished the last pages, all I could think to myself was "why have I never read Kingsolver before?" However, now that I have almost her entire library waiting on my Kindle, I am sure I will quickly resolve this.

Anyone had some recent new author discoveries that excited you? Once I finish with Kingsolver, I am contemplating where to go next...

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