What I’m Reading Wednesday

3 Sep


I remember someone who once said they weren’t going to get any more books from the library until she read the ones she already has.

I know.

You big fat liar.

Those were the loving words spoken from my husband Tuesday evening as I came home with my bag weighed down with books. I had swung by the library to pick up a book on hold for me and ended up leaving with three. And I already have two library books in the house!

What is wrong with me?

Which leads me to my book question of the day: How do you pick your book?

Do you read what’s popular on the New York Times Bestseller list? Do you keep pace with the Goodreads newsletter? Are you reading in preparation for the latest movie release?

I was at the library a few weeks ago picking up another book on hold (I know!), when the spine of a book on a shelf caught my eye. It was just one magical word on a green sticker that made me stop and pick it up.


A quick glance at the inside of the book jacket and I was convinced. Thus began my South African adventure in the 1880s.

The Fever Tree is the first novel of Englishwoman Jennifer McVeigh. The character lineup was my typical selection: upperclass woman destined to marry someone she does not love, (but this time) goes abroad on a grand adventure only to live in near squalor in a desert. There’s a love affair, the injustice surrounded by blood diamonds, a medical scandal, and a painted landscape of a land I can only imagine.

It didn’t take long for my obsessive personality to take hold. In fact, I was almost late for work one morning because I couldn’t put the book down, eager to find out how it ended.

There were a couple times where the story line and characters reminded me of Naomi Watts and Edward Norton’s characters in the film The Painted Veil. But instead of remote China the setting is the diamond mines of South Africa.

McVeigh studied English Literature at Oxford and while researching the history of English colonials in South Africa she came across an old diary written by a doctor at the end of the nineteenth century. The diary told the story of a smallpox epidemic that ravaged the diamond-mining town of Kimberley. Rather than try to control the disease, which would halt work in the mines, it was covered up, killing thousands, and was later reported as the greatest medical scandal in British medicine.

Pretty riveting stuff.

And so reader, how will you find your next book? Or how will the next book find you?

3 Responses to “What I’m Reading Wednesday”

  1. Marlisa September 4, 2014 at 2:50 am #

    I would say I usually find my next books based off what the people I follow on Twitter say. If my favorite authors post about a book they loved I usually place a hold on it at the library.

    I have also come to learn that husbands just don’t understand how difficult it is to go to the library and return without a book.

    • somerbhanson September 4, 2014 at 2:52 am #

      Two very valid points! Thank you for understanding the struggle 🙂


  1. What I’m Reading Wednesday | A Writer's Purpose - September 10, 2014

    […] reading The Fever Tree (if you missed my post, check it out here) I was disappointed it had to end. It wraps up semi-abruptly and gives you little time to process […]

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