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Bee Season
by Myla Goldberg

Overview - Eliza Naumann, a seemingly unremarkable nine-year-old, expects never to fit into her gifted family: her autodidact father, Saul, absorbed in his study of Jewish mysticism; her brother, Aaron, the vessel of his father's spiritual ambitions; and her brilliant but distant lawyer-mom, Miriam.  Read more...

 
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More About Bee Season by Myla Goldberg
 
 
 
Overview
Eliza Naumann, a seemingly unremarkable nine-year-old, expects never to fit into her gifted family: her autodidact father, Saul, absorbed in his study of Jewish mysticism; her brother, Aaron, the vessel of his father's spiritual ambitions; and her brilliant but distant lawyer-mom, Miriam. But when Eliza sweeps her school and district spelling bees in quick succession, Saul takes it as a sign that she is destined for greatness. In this altered reality, Saul inducts her into his hallowed study and lavishes upon her the attention previously reserved for Aaron, who in his displacement embarks upon a lone quest for spiritual fulfillment. When Miriam's secret life triggers a familial explosion, it is Eliza who must order the chaos.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780385498807
  • ISBN-10: 0385498802
  • Publisher: Anchor Books
  • Publish Date: May 2001
  • Page Count: 288


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Books > Fiction > Literary

 
BookPage Reviews

Reading group recommendations

This month's new paperback releases include several books that would make good choices for reading groups. Our recommendations on the best selections are listed below. We hope these titles will inspire lively discussion in your book club.

Double Down

By Frederick and Steven Barthelme

When their parents die, the Barthelme brothers inherit a considerable sum of money, which they proceed to gamble away during a reckless stint in the casinos of the Gulf Coast. For two years, they were unable to break the gambling habit. Now, they tell the true story of their descent into addiction in Double Down, a narrative as mesmerizing as the gambling life it describes. Co-authored by the brothers, both of whom teach writing at the University of Southern Mississippi, the book captures the allure of the gaming tables, blending humor, irony and melancholy into a searingly honest tale of how lives can unravel with the roll of a dice.

On the Rez

By Ian Frazier

Nonfiction writer Ian Frazier spends time with Oglala Sioux on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, delivering a vivid portrait of an American Indian community in which the past is a palpable part of the present. Populated with characters like Le War Lance, a beer-drinking story-teller who acts as the author's guide on the reservation, the book examines the lives of today's natives while making forays into their history. Seasoned throughout with Frazier's trademark humor, this is a beautifully written, sharply rendered depiction of contemporary native culture.

Bee Season

By Myla Goldberg

In her debut novel Myla Goldberg tells the story of nine-year-old Eliza Naumann, a mediocre student who never shows a spark of promise until she wins first prize in a school spelling bee - an honor that brings major changes to her life. Her father Saul, a scholar and cantor, begins to see her in a new light, and after she wins the statewide bee, he views her gift as a form of transcendence. When he encourages her to embark on a spiritual quest, Eliza follows his advice and the results have dramatic repercussions for the Naumanns. This national bestseller is a cleverly crafted narrative that explores a child's need for acceptance and the meaning of family. A reading group guide is available online at www.vintagebooks.com/read. For a printed version, ask your local bookseller.

Blonde

By Joyce Carol Oates

This finalist for the 2000 National Book Award, written with the sweep and scope of an epic, is based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. Reimagining the woman behind the larger-than-life persona, Oates probes the inner world of an icon. All the major characters from Marilyn's turbulent life make appearances here, though the names have been changed: Joe DiMaggio is designated "The Ex-Athlete," Arthur Miller is "The Playwright" and John F. Kennedy is, of course, "The President." This haunting look at Hollywood - Oates' most daring work to date - is sure to change the way readers perceive the world's most famous blonde.

The Human Stain

By Philip Roth

One of the masters of American fiction returns with the story of Coleman Silk, a 71-year-old professor forced into retirement by false accusations of racism. When Silk begins an affair with a woman nearly 40 years his junior, his life takes another unpredictable turn. But the surprises don't end there. Silk has a secret he has harbored from friends and family for 50 years - one that the book's narrator, writer Nathan Zuckerman, discovers. In a novel that explores the effects of society upon a single individual, Zuckerman sets out to tell the unknown story of the once-respected Silk. This timely, provocative book - a national bestseller - examines the boundaries that divide our public and private lives. A reading group guide is available online at ww.vintagebooks.com/read. For a printed version, ask your local bookseller.

Has your club recently read an excellent book that sparked good group discussion? If so, BookPage would like to hear about it. Contact us at reading@bookpage.com, and we'll pass your recommendations on to our readers.

 
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