August 31, 2014
Flora 717 is a worker bee and the protagonist of Laline Paull's The Bees. It may sound completely far-fetched to write a story from the perspective of a bee but insanely it worked amazingly well. This author clearly did her entomological research. The story revolves around a sanitation bee born to a hive where she is at the lowest rung of society (in fact, others in her kin have not developed speech and she is marked as an oddity). At every turn, she defies convention and strikes out on her own course. Fraught with class division, religious fanaticism, and sexism The Bees gave me an entirely new insight into bee behavior...and made me crave honey. If you're looking for a book unlike any other then I encourage you to give this one a shot...unless you're terrified of bees in which case you'd best steer clear.
My next book won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction last year: The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson. Pak Jun Do is a loyal Korean citizen fighting to stay alive in an ever-changing and violent society. He is a professional kidnapper and eventually the rival of Kim Jong Il. The book purports to be a tale of corruption, violence, and also love. Well, I'm certainly intrigued!