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Half of a Yellow Sun


This week the library book club discussed Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the second book in our series “Around the World in 180 Days”. There were a number of things I uncovered on the web that I didn’t have the time to share during the course of the book club itself, so I am posting them here.

One of these is a talk given by the author as one of the Ted Talks entitled “The Danger of a Single Story” Well worth a listen even if you haven’t read her novels!

Another great discovery, thanks to this novel, was the music of Rex Lawson. You can hear him here.

I also have put out the July 12, 1968 issue of Life Magazine, which had a cover story on Biafra. You can read the whole article in the reference department, where the volume including the July 12, 1968 issue is on display. I’ve posted some photos of the Life Magazine issue on our flickr page, as well as some photos of other reference books that might interest you if you want to know more about the history of Africa. These include New Encyclopedia of Africa by John Middleton, editor in chief, Encyclopedia of African History by Kevin Shillington, and Encyclopedia of World Cultures (vol. IX, Africa and the Middle East) which has a long article of the Igbo (Ibo). Oh and here is a reproduction of the flag of Biafra from our reference book The World Encyclopedia of Flags.

And I mentioned Geoff Wisner’s book A Basket of Leaves: 99 books that capture the spirit of Africa as a great book to take a look at if you want to read more about Africa. In fact he wrote a short review of Half of a Yellow Sun on his blog. He writes:

“ …Half of a Yellow Sun … traces the impact of the Biafran war on twin sisters and their families. This is a quietly devastating story, told in assured, flowing prose that rarely draws attention to itself. It ends not with a bang, but with a haunting absence.”

This book had been considered as a possible town wide read for 2013, which is how I first heard about it when Barbara Stephens, FHS English teacher, told me about it. In the end we decided not to use it as the town wide read, but it does make fascinating reading. In fact it reminded me a bit of the best of James Michener (I am a particular fan of his novel Caravans which is set in Afghanistan), as Adichie has a big cast of characters and a big historical event that she is describing in this extremely readable (but long) novel. Thanks to all of our book club members for making it such an interesting discussion!

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