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What Are Buzz Residents Reading?: Q&A with Celia Anderson

Cindy Burnett
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Celia Anderson

Buzz resident Celia Anderson says Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver is the best book she's recently read. 

This week, I interviewed Buzz resident Celia Anderson about what she has read recently and loved. She selected the book Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver, a title also chosen by Payal Chana in a previous column.

Set in the mountains of southern Appalachia, Demon Copperhead is the story of a boy born to a teenaged single mother in a single-wide trailer, with no assets beyond his dead father's good looks and copper-colored hair, a caustic wit, and a fierce talent for survival. Relayed in his own unsparing voice, Demon braves the modern perils of foster care, child labor, derelict schools, athletic success, addiction, disastrous loves, and crushing losses. Through all of it, he reckons with his own invisibility in a popular culture where even the superheroes have abandoned rural people in favor of in favor of cities.

Many generations ago, Charles Dickens wrote David Copperfield from his experience as a survivor of institutional poverty and its damages to children in his society. Those problems have yet to be solved in ours. Dickens is not a prerequisite for readers of this novel, but he provided its inspiration.

The book has garnered countless accolades including winner of the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, a New York Times "Ten Best Books of 2022,” Oprah's Book Club Selection, an instant New York Times Bestseller, an instant Wall Street Journal Bestseller, a #1 Washington Post Bestseller, and much more.

Here is what Celia has to say about it:

What is the best book you’ve read recently?

The book that stands out in my memory is Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver. Using David Copperfield as template, Barbara Kingsolver has amassed a cast of characters right out of Dickens, yet as contemporary as the evening news. The story is set in modern Appalachia and introduces Demon Fields, a young child who becomes an orphan. His journey to adulthood is filled with richly drawn characters – some good, some disappointing, some heartbreaking. Barbara Kingsolver lives in Appalachia and won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2023. 

What did you like about it? What made it stand out to you?

For many years I have read Barbara Kingsolver books. Her writing is never disappointing. I love her complex, atmospheric settings with characters you can’t forget. 

How did you learn about her book?

I follow her website. Always ready for a great book!

What are you reading now?

I am currently reading The Mistress of Bhatia House by Sugata Massey, fourth in a series of historical mysteries set in 1920s India. Perveen Mystry is an Oxford educated lawyer who is trying to make her way as the only woman solicitor in Bombay. She must wade through the complex and often frustrating customs of not only India but British prejudice.

For more book recommendations and bookish thoughts, see Cindy’s monthly Buzz Reads column, her Thoughts from a Page Podcast or follow @ThoughtsFromaPage on Instagram. Find upcoming Conversations from a Page events here.

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