Start date: 11.11.13
Blurb:At twenty-six, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of
her mother’s rapid death from cancer, her family disbanded and her marriage
crumbled. With nothing to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her
life: to walk eleven-hundred miles of the west coast of America – from the
Mojave Desert, through California and Oregon, and into Washington state – and to
do it alone. She had no experience of long-distance hiking and the journey was
nothing more than a line on a map. But it held a promise – a promise of piecing
together a life that lay in ruins at her feet.
What made me pick it from the bookshelf: It is my one of the books that is on my autum reading list. My idol Sophia Bush (actress and activist) recommended this book through her website so I thought I would give it a bash.
Start date: 10.11.13
Blurb:Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany. One rainy afternoon on a city bus, she realised
that she wasn’t as happy as she could be. In danger of wasting her days – always
yearning for something more, waiting for problems to miraculously solve
themselves – she realized her life wasn’t going to change unless she did
something about it. On January 1, she embarked on her Happiness Project, and
each month she pursued a different set of resolutions: to get more sleep, quit
nagging her husband, sing in the morning to her two young daughters, start a
blog, imitate a spiritual master, keep a one-sentence journal. She immersed
herself in everything from classical philosophy to contemporary psychology to
see what worked for her-and what didn’t. Illuminating yet entertaining, profound
yet compulsively readable, “The Happiness Project” is one of the most thoughtful
and prescriptive works on happiness to have emerged from the recent explosion of
interest in the subject. Filled with practical advice, sharp insight, charm, and
humor, her story will inspire readers to navigate their own paths to happiness.
What made me pick it from the bookshelf: Who doesn’t want to be happier?
Start date: 1.11.2013
Blurb: Who are you? What have we done to each other? These are the questions Nick Dunne finds himself asking on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they weren’t made by him. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what really did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife?
What made me pick it from the bookshelf: This book is on my autumn reading list. I also picked this book because the whole wide world seems to be talking about it! I love thrillers so am really excited to get started on this. I can’t believe I haven’t already read it!
Start date: 1.10.2013
Blurb: ’In the early 80′s Gregory David Roberts, an armed robber and heroin addict, escaped from an Australian prison to India, where he lived in a Bombay Slum. There, he established a free health clinic and also joined the mafia, working as a money launderer, forger and street soldier. He found time to learn Hindi and Marathi, fall in love, and spend time being worked over in an Indian jail. Then, in case anyone thought he was slacking, he acted in Bollywood and fought with the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan…Amazingly, Roberts wrote Shantaram three times after prison guards trashed his first two versions. It’s a profound tribute to his willpower…At once a high-kicking, eye-gouging adventure, a love saga and a savage yet tenderly lyrical fugitive vision’ Time Out
What made me pick it from the bookshelf:
Having spent time in Southern India (living in the jungle with a tribal family and trekking for days on end) I have always had a fascination with the country, its people, its colours and smells. I got it as a Christmas present in 2011 from my sister and she has also been bugging me to read it! So far I’m just over half way through its 933 pages and I am absolutely addicted to it.
Start date: 18.1.13
Blurb: This extraordinary book is about what happened when the Rwandan government in 1944 implemented a policy that called on everyone in the Hutu majority to murder everyone in the Tutsi minority. Though the massacres were low-tech, done largely by machete, they were carried out at dazzling speed, and 800,000 people were killed in a hundred days. Pastors in one Tutsi community sent a letter to their church president, a Hutu, that included the chilling phrase that give Phillip Gourevitch his title.
This haunting work is not only an anatomy of this genocide and what Rwandans call its ‘genocidal logic’, but also a vivid history of the background to the tragedy and an unforgettable account of its aftermath: the mass displacements, the temptations of revenge and the quest for justice, the replacement of elites and the plight of survivors, the impossibly crowded prisons and militant refugee camps. Philip Gourevitch’s intimate portraits of Rwandans in all walks of life as they cope with the psychological and political challenges of survival make their tragic situation unexpectedly immediate and familiar; his dramatic narrative also shows how resurgent genocidal forces threatened to plunge central Africa into total war, and how his sparked the drive to oust Mobutu from power in the Congo. Lastly, he contrasts the Rwandans’ provocatively original political response to the horror with the wholly inadequate reactions of international humanitarian organizations and foreign governments.
What made me pick it from the bookshelf:
Having spent a lot of time working with Rwandan refugees I have developed a fascination with the country, its history, its people and how the events of 1994 were ignored by all those that had the power to help. I also run the Amnesty society and teach Human Rights at the school that I work in so I am hoping this book will help to educate those younger than me….most who have never heard of what happened in Rwanda just 19 years ago!
Blurb: William Kamkwamba was born in Malawi, a country where magic ruled, modern science was a mystery, hunger and drought were a daily reality, and hope and opportunity were hard t find. Faced with crippling adversity and unable to afford the tuition to pursue his passion for science at school, William had a ‘crazy idea’.
With only a few old text books and incredible determination, William constructed a crude windmill. This unlikely contraption would prove to be the small miracle that would eventually bring electricity and water to William’s village, changing the community and transforming the lives of those around him.
What made me pick it from the bookshelf: This book was recommended to me by the lovely Jackie who I met in Zambia this summer whilst volunteering in both Meheba Refugee Camp and in local schools in Livingstone. On my return to England I got a copy from my local bookshop and on my shelf it has sat for 10 months. I picked it up because I feel I need reminding of the great power that we humans possess, how we can use it to not only better life for ourselves but much more importantly we can use it to help others. I picked it up to learn of a new culture, a new country and a new person. We can learn so much from others stories. They can inspire us to do great things. They can make us realise how important we are. They teach us and we must never stop learning.