I thought I’d share the reading list/reviews from our time way back when in Kigali since they include several of my favorites.
Life is a bit slower here in Africa, which provides ample opportunity to read. Even Ben, the self proclaimed non-reader has swept through almost a dozen books. Here’s what I’ve been read so far, along with my amateur review.
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers
A Member of the Wedding, Carson McCullers
McCullers’ stories flawlessly portray one of the deepest human needs, our longing to be known. Her stories manage to be poignant yet unsentimental. She transports you to a deep south, more sticky than sultry, filled with loneliness.
Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut
The story of the accidental soldier Billy Pilgrim reminded me of Catch 22. The dark humor, quirky plot and eccentric characters were brilliant.
1984, George Orwell
Doubleplusgood. This book was wonderfully disturbing. It should be mandatory reading for any citizen of any nation.
Digital Fortress, Dan Brown
The dialogue was cliché, the descriptions were cheesy and the characters were all airbrushed delusions of perfection. It read more like an aspiring blockbuster screenplay than a novel.
The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
The enchanting tale is reminiscent of Le Petit Prince. It was simple, enjoyable and rich.
Animal Farm, George Orwell
A Grimm’s Fairytale / Paradise Lost prequel version of 1984. I think it was only the second book I have ever reread in my entire life (the 1st one being One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest).
Malaria, Stopping a Global Killer, Michael Finkel (National Geographic, July 2007)
So it is not a book. However, as someone living and traveling in areas at high risk for malaria, I felt it was reading worthy of mention.
The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
Wow. This haunting story lingered long after I closed the book, though perhaps the affect is proportional to ones relationship with Africa.
Twilight, Stephanie Meyer
Though I might not sport glitter make-up or micro-minis, there is a bit of teeny-bopper that remains. I thought this part of me would fall for Twilight like the throngs of teenage girls (and grown women) singing its praises. However, I just could not make myself fall under the spell of Edward’s ill-fated romance with Bella.
A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini
This is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read. It made my heart ache and filled me with empathy I have never before experienced for characters.
What have you been reading this year? Any recommendations? What do you think about these books?
The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
Left me feeling all depressed and lousy. Everyone said this book got better with age. I beg to differ.
The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd
A sweet little story – it’s Carson McCullers with a happy ending.
The Road, Cormac McCarthy
What’s the point? A guy and his son walk the gray road, food almost runs out, then they find more food, keep walking the gray road, food almost runs out, then they find more food, keep walking the gray road… I just don’t get what makes this great, or popular.
The Painted Veil, W Somerset Maugham
Maybe I would have liked it more if I weren’t already in the middle of another depressing adulteress saga.
Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
Oh, Anna. You’re so miserably annoying I actually found your demise quite relieving.
The Constant Gardner, John Le Carré
Glorified Dan Brown quality nonsense – I want plot, not action.