BOOK THREE: Little Bee by John Cleave. A friend recommended this story and I picked it up at the library. A page-turner, I finished it in a couple of days because it was hard to put down. A story of intertwined lives, troubled and horrific pasts, and questions about the future, it made me wonder, what is is really like to be an immigrant (when you don't hold a U.S. or U.K.--or Western for that matter--passport)? Told from two points of view, Little Bee let's you see into two very different worlds. One (of many) favorite quote(s): We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived. In a few breaths' time I will speak some sad words to you. But you must hear them the same way we have agreed to see scars now. Sad words are just another beauty. A sad story means, this storyteller is alive. The next thing you know, something fine will happen to her, something marvelous, and then she will turn around and smile.
BOOK FOUR: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. I'm so glad to have friends who love to read, because another friend recommended this book! Based in small town Maine, each of the thirteen stories are based around a central character, Olive Kitteridge, though at times she only makes a momentary appearance or is referenced in a story. And yet, her character is alive and raw, ever-present; she is someone I feel like I know but who I don't think I'd want to spend time with. Strout's characterization is poignant, and I did laugh out loud a couple of times. Favorite quote: "...she had not known what one should know: that day after day was unconsciously squandered....It baffled her, the world. She did not want to leave it yet."