Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Few Favorite Reads From 2009 That You Should Read Too

For my birthday in 2008, my friend Betsy gave me, Special Topics in Calamity Physics. It is a thick piece of fiction that I couldn't imagine opening till the summer. But when I read it, it took no time at all to get through, because the lyrical voice, of this girl coming of age, was so engaging. It is also a literary treasure, dropping references to every book in the world! It is truly a great story. Definitely it was one of my favorite books I read this past year.

As I browsing in a bookshop, trying to get ready for vacation, I came upon, The Thing Around Your Neck. I hadn't heard of it and picked it up and read about the author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. As I read about her, I was embarrassed that I hadn't read anything from this Genius award winning author. So I bought Half of a Yellow Sun first. What a wonderful piece of literature, taking us into the recent history of Nigeria. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy this acclaimed novel, but then I went on to read Purple Hibiscus her first novel and the recent anthology of short stories, The Thing Around Your Neck. What an author. What a speaker. I became obsessed- which is nothing new about my reading life and I started watching speeches that Chimamanda has given around the United States. All very beautifully crafted and delivered which such passion. Here is a clip of Chimamanda at the Ted Conference. Enjoy the speech and enjoy her books!

The Life You Can Save ,By Peter Singer, certainly is a fabulous book to help you reassess your life and how you fit into the rest of the global community. He gives you a lot of information and tools to reflect on the decisions and choices you make in your life. He truly does show how you can make a difference. It is a short read, but definitely not an easy emotional one. It truly does hit at the core.

I read, My Guantanamo Diary: The Detainees and the Stories They Told Me by Mahvish Khan, because I have wanted more information about Guantanamo. I have read a few accounts of US lawyers working with people in Guantanamo, and I thought this was a unique perspective. You really get to hear about the lives and the thoughts of some of the people detained. I really felt uninformed and without information I felt that I could not weigh in on this issue. This horrible issue that we face here in the US. Reading Mahvish's book really gave me another perspective to consider, which is critical in order to member of the global community. I really feel like this is a must read! It too is a tough, emotional read- but well worth it.

The last book that I would like to recommend to you I found on the Daily Show. I watched John Stewart interview Christopher McDougall about his new book Born to Run. I loved the interview so I went out I bought it and read it on a plane trip to Seattle. I was hesitant because I don't like to run. In fact given a choice to run and catch a bus or walk and miss it- I'd rather miss it. But reading about the journey that the writer took me on though races in Mexico and the United States, brought me to a new world! It's a fun read!

Post your favorites and "must reads".

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