Let's Talk About Books Baby!

June

Books Bought:
 A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier By: Ishmael Beah (audible)
The Shadow of the Crescent Moon By: Fatima Bhutto
Interpreter of Maladies By: Jhumpa Lahiri
The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty By: Vendela Vida
The Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan By: Rafia Zakaria (audible)
Killing Monica By: Candace Bushnell

Books Read:
 Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal By: Connor Grennan (audible)
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier By: Ishmael Beah (audible)
The Shadow of the Crescent Moon By: Fatima Bhutto
Flappers and Philosophers: The Collected Short Stories By: F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty By: Vendela Vida

Since July is more than halfway over, I should probably get to wrapping June's post up.  And, let me just say that's EXACTLY what I finally did with F Scott Fitzgerald's mammoth short story collection: Flappers and Philosophers.  It may have taken half of a year, but it feels good to have this one checked off my list.  I love the way Fitzgerald writes but spending 6 months in the Jazz Age was a little overwhelming. 

Speaking of overwhelming... so was the rest of the reading (or listening, if you will) that I took on this month!  Heavy topics... we're talking boy soldiers, and human trafficking.  The world is a scary place, and I know some people don't like to be brought down by learning about these things; but I thoroughly love being educated when it comes to global human rights campaigns and issues, that's why these two books have been on my radar for a while, and like they say there's no time like the present...

First up, Little Princes, this book was so sweet.  It's literally kind of an ideal dream for someone who works in study abroad.  Here's a guy, traveling out of country & volunteering and the people he meets and the place he goes so affects him that he finds his mission in life, and he sets out with a goal to change something that needs changing.  When I listen to stories like this, I am so inspired--- but I always wonder how do these fortunate people who've found their calling maintain their focus?  How does one decide that THIS, and only THIS is going to be the one cause I champion.  I always feel like I have OCD about human rights, I know a little about most topics, but maybe it's the experience of going somewhere and having it strike a chord deep within that is so resounding that you have no choice but to act.  Anyways, I loved this book, and I love Connor.  If you want to learn more about his organization, you can do so by clicking here.

Second was a book that I have wanted to read for so long now.  The author Ishmael Beah is also very active in International Education and has been known to make appearances at NAFSA conferences.  His story of being a boy soldier, is so honest and heartbreaking.  His story is one of also learning to not let the past define you or be your compass for your future.  You can learn more about Ishmael on his website by clicking here.  Also, if you are ever having a day where you are pulling the "woe is me" card.   Buy the audio version of his book and start listening; when you imagine that your whole village could disappear in one afternoon, and that you will lose your whole family, and live a life on the run... you will choose to look at your life and it's many blessings with so much gratitude.

Next, I turned to fiction, but it was still a heavy topic.  I had been waiting for this book to come out in English for awhile, so when I saw it at Barnes & Noble I instantly had to buy it.  Fatima Bhutto, niece of Benazir, had made a beautiful entry into the world of fiction.  She takes a family of 3 brothers living in Pakistan on the border of Afghanistan and heading out into the world to celebrate Eid, a Muslim holiday.  The three brothers have to pray in different mosques, knowing that it is too dangerous in the violent political climate for all 3 brothers to pray in the same place.  This book gives the history of each brother, which helps you to understand how each one of these people seem to be so different from each other.  Sometimes I feel such a compassion for the people of the Middle East, their countries have been through so much.  I hope and believe that there is a way for there someday to be a peaceful Middle East without losing it's culture.  Sometimes, it can seem like we (as in the "US") is so wrapped up in the goings on over there, and sometimes I think people are so quick to wrap all of it's people up into one box that is easy for us to understand.  I think there is a beautiful, rich history there and there are people that want to preserve their culture, and I believe they are just as tired of the radicalism that threatens their lives as we are.  Anyways, this is just another beautiful book, but it kind of leaves you hanging, and maybe that's the point.  The story in the Middle East is still unfolding...  it's up to all of us to help write an ending.

After all this heaviness, I had to take a step back and what better way to do that then to read the new one out by the lovely Mrs. Eggers (I'm talking the one and only Vendela Vida).  Her new book still took me to faraway lands (Morocco), but it was lighter than the previous books of the month.  What happens when you are looking to travel and find yourself but you lose your identity and are afraid of conspiracy theories?  This book was quick and entertaining.  Loved it!

What have you been reading lately?