I went to the library this weekend and checked out some books to read.
Before I headed there, I went to two different places on the internet.
Firstly, I stopped at Amazon.com and typed in titles of some of my favourite novels.
Amazon always has a recommendation; "If you enjoyed reading BOOK A, then you will enjoy reading BOOK B".
The second place I visit for reading options is stephenking.com. I've always loved reading his books, and am always on the look out for a new release. But I discovered a while back that Stephen King himself is a voracious reader, and on his web site, he sometimes lists what he is currently reading and if he likes the book or not. I've found some very captivating stories this way! (Incidentally, I also found that he does indeed have a new release - but, alas, the library had all of their copies checked out. I may have to buy it.)
However, I found "The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd while searching Amazon and typing in "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith. Betty Smith is a wonderful author. I've read all of her novels and am now looking for someone new. I absolutely LOVE "The Secret Life of Bees". I hated to finish the book because it was so captivating and well written.
The story is set in the early 60's and it is obvious that the author did a great deal of research while writing the story in an effort to keep it accurate. But there are so many very subtle things that the author added into her story that really warmed my heart. It is a talent to do such a thing. In this day and age, we often feel that we must be blatant and obvious to drive a point home. Sue Monk Kidd sneaks her point around the corner of your heart in such a soft way that it tickles your senses for a moment and then you catch it. And then a tear comes to your eye.
The star of the book is a 13 year old girl named Lily who is portrayed to us in a very real manner. As she tells you things about her life in the first person, you just want to climb into the book and just hug her until it is all better.
Lily goes on an amazing journey that is highly taboo in the early 1960's, and bees play a subtle side-story throughout the entire journey. My Uncle Ben used to keep bees. It takes a special type of personality to be able to do such a thing. And Ms Monk Kidd captures that personality perfectly in her novel.
The story is so beautifully written that it transports you into it (And isn't that what we hope a
good story would do?). At one point, I was reading it in the cafeteria at work and had to stop. "Can't cry here! I'm at work!" I had to tell myself. So, indeed, you will need kleenex when reading this beautiful tale. But it is absolutely worth the effort.