Sunday, July 22, 2012

100 books

I finished my 100th book in Uganda last night. The End, the 13th book in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events.  I was hooked on the series and reveled in finally getting to the last one, but was still left with a ton of questions and promptly got on wikipedia to search for all I could find. Then I realized what a nerd that makes me. Whatever.

I've relished having the time to read to my heart's content.  I am tickled when a book I'm reading relates to something in another book I've read, and even more so when both of those books relate to a conversation I'm having.  I am absolutely that annoying person who chimes in with "oh, that's like in this book I just finished!" Sorry about that. 

Looking at the list of one hundred, these are the ones that stick out at me, though I have enjoyed almost every single one (except Lolita. Ridiculous book.)

Aboke Girls - This is the story of one nun who worked at St. Mary's College in Aboke, Uganda during the war between the Goverment of Uganda, and the Lord's Resistance Army (see my friend Jacque's post for a much fuller, better account of it.) 139 girls were abducted and this woman worked tirelessly to bring them back.  St. Mary's is about an hour from where I live. 

Lamb - A satire, looking at the 30 years in the life of Jesus that the Bible skips over. It's told from the perspective of Jesus's close childhood friend, Biff, and gives an account of travels they took together and influences to the eventual teachings of Christianity. I'm not sure how someone much more religious than I am would see it, but I think it was done tastefully and respectfully and definitely recommend it.

Molokai - The story of one woman's lifetime spent in Hawaii, in a leper colony that is hardly ever talked about. (I didn't even know there was one until I heard about this book.) It's a novel, but the colony is a real place and its history is heartbreaking.  I cried myself to sleep almost every night for the week it took me to read this. It weighs on you, but it's amazing.

The Shadow of the Wind - This is just a fantastic mystery novel written by a Spanish author which was then translated into English.  Normally some of the original awesomeness can be lost in translation, but not in this case.  A young boy discovers a book that he falls in love with, but when he tries to find other books by the same author, he finds that they are all being destroyed... suspense and mystery ensue! 

The Fountainhead - Ayn Rand is a suberb author, and while her political leanings tend to lean opposite mine, I really enjoyed this book.  Another book I read referenced Fountainhead and the boy reading it was told to "be a filter, not a sponge," which is spot on, but that's good advice in almost all cases.

The Lost City of Z - The account of one of the last expeditions into the Amazon River Basin when it was being mapped by Europeans and Americans.  There is something magical about diving into a world where maps were only estimates of what continents looked like and where being an "explorer" was an actual career.  It takes place in the early 1900's, which is all the more interesting since that's the world my grandparents lived in.

The World According to Garp - Not sure why this one is so good, it just is. Read it!

To Kill a Mockingbird - This is the only re-read I'm putting here because it's so so touching.  It serves as such a good reminder of what it means to be a decent person and have a strong moral compass.  It's one of those books that will stick with you forever.

Guns, Germs, & Steel - A long and tedious but beyond fascinating history of the world and why we ended up the way we did.  So many things relate to this book when I am having conversations with people in my community on why America is different from Uganda.

I have 50 books and 9 months left to reach my goal of 150 in Peace Corps. Again, I'm a nerd.  Books in my immediate future include The Long Walk to Freedom (I want to read this before going to South Africa in December!) Atlas Shrugged, The Red Tent, The Game of Thrones series, Little Bee, Quiet, The Three Musketeers, The Man in the Iron Mask, The Book Thief, and any others you want to send my way :) 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

your book goal is 150? you can definitely hit that, no doubt! you can add lonely planet cape town after next weekend - oh, wait - does that count?