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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Twenty-three more Books of Senegal

    Now that Peace Corps c'est fini, it's time to wrap up my short reviews of the books I've read while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer. The other 100 on the list can be found here.
    1. Bryson, Bill. In a Sunburned Country
  • Bill Bryson travels around Australia 
  • I loved it so much that I decided to also take a trip around Australia (particularly the Darwin area, in the north) upon my completion of Peace Corps. 
  • But then my friend Laura invited me on her COS trip instead, so here I am in Athens, which is also cool. 
  • Anyone want to go to Australia with me? 
  • Five stars. 

    2. Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness
  • Very short and very good tale of a scary and suspenseful journey into the Congo 
  • Four stars 
  • Zero percent overlap with my African experience. 

  • 3. Donoghue, Emma. Room
  • A five-year old boy has spent his entire life in a garage-sized room - he and his mother are held captive there by a man who kidnapped the mother. 
  • Does a very good job of telling the story through the eyes of a five-year-old 
  • If you don't like five year olds, the narrator could be really annoying. 
  • I like five year olds. 
  • Five stars. 

  • 4. Dugard, Jaycee. A Stolen Life
  • Reads like it was written by someone with a 5th grade education 
  • Because it was. 
  • Heartbreaking. 

  • 5. Egan, Timothy. The Big Burn
  • About the history of the US forest service and the massive fire that caused colossal damage during its first years. 
  • Deepened my confusing long-standing crush on Theodore Roosevelt 

  • 6. Gladwell, Malcolm. Blink
  • About the decisions that people make without thinking about it 
  • It's fascinating that instant likeability is a skill that can be practiced and perfected 
  • Made me want to be a professional face-reading lie detector. That sounds so badass. 

  • 7. Heath, Chip and Dan. Made to Stick
  • About why some ideas thrive and others don't 
  • Interesting for anyone interested in behavior change or understanding their own behaviors 
  • Behavior change is hard. 

  • 8. Jiles, Paulette. Enemy Women
  • A southern woman flees with a horse after the civil war while battling "consumption" 
  • The woman who recommended I read this loves horses 
  • If you love horses, you'd probably love it too. 
  • Three stars, as I am indifferent to horses. 

  • 9. Johnson, Adam. The Orphan Master's Son
  • A North Korean plays the government to get ahead in life 
  • North Korea is scary 
  • I wish it had more history and facts, but since North Korea is so closed off facts are nearly impossible to come by, so I guess this is as good as it can get. 
  • Four stars. 

  • 10. Lamott, Anne. Traveling Mercies
  • A woman's journey toward discovering her faith 
  • It's OK. 

  • 11. Lappe, Frances Moore. Diet for a Small Planet
  • Vegetarianism is better than carnivory, ecologically speaking 
  • That idea is so elementary now that it's hard to remember it was ever groundbreaking 
  • Very interesting, but very dated 

  • 12. Larson, Erik. The Devil in the White City
  • A serial killer does his thing at the World's Fair in Chicago 
  • The serial killer part was interesting, and the part about the men putting on the Worlds Fair was interesting, but it seemed like two short books randomly smashed into one. 
  • Still very good, just not the most cohesive. 

  • 13. Lawry, Lois. The Giver
  • I think I read this in middle school, but that was a long time ago. 
  • Good, but too short. 
  • The cover had a picture of Taylor Swift on it, so apparently they made a movie of it at some point. 

  • 14. Martel, Yann. Self
  • A man turns to a woman than back to a man 
  • Very strange. 
  • I guess I'd recommend it to a stranger but it's too weird to recommend to friends. 
  • If you're a stranger read it and let me know what you think. 

  • 15. Piercy, Marge. Woman on the Edge of Time
  • A woman in a mental health facility can communicate with the future 
  • The future's full of hippies. 
  • I would be happy living in this hippy future. 
  • Four stars 

  • 16. Rand, Ayn. The Fountainhead
  • Almost the same book as Atlas Shrugged 
  • I liked Atlas Shrugged more 
  • But both are very good 
  • Dominique perplexed me. 
  • I can't unsee unnecessary columns in architecture now. 

  • 17. Roach, Mary. Bonk
    18. Roach, Mary. Spook
  • Bonk is about sex, Spook is about ghosts/the afterlife 
  • Both are very funny, very well researched, and highly recommended. 
  • Both are full of fun little tidbits you can bust out during lulls in conversation 
  • Professional pig inseminators are trained to stimulate the pigs during the process because if the pigs climax they have higher fertility 
  • I probably wouldn’t bust that one out in conversation unless my goal was to end it. 

  • 19. Robbins, Tom. Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates
  • A man named Switters goes on adventures 
  • I loved it. Tom Robbins is a very creative man and I'm gonna read many more of his books when I return to the land of libraries. 
  • Seriously, where does he get his ideas?! 

  • 20. Schlessinger, Laura. Ten Stupid Things Women Do To Mess Up Their Lives
  • All of the ten stupid things have to do with mate choices 
  • "don't marry an elephant and expect it to curl up and purr in your lap" 
  • "don't jump in an empty swimming pool hoping that water will materialize before you hit bottom." 
  • Sound, logical advice. But she also encourages women to take time off work to full-time mother, which I don't agree with. 

  • 21. Vonnegut, Kurt. Breakfast of Champions
  • Short and full of pictures. 
  • Good, but doesn't live up to the hype 
  • Three and a half stars 

  • 22. Zafon, Carlos. The Shadow of the Wind
  • A young man tries to protect his favorite book from a villain set on destroying it 
  • It sounds lame, but it’s actually a really good, suspenseful book. Four and a half stars. 
  • The young man thinks that every woman he comes in contact with is in love with him, which is annoying. 
  • If Mr. Zafron writes from experience, he must be either gorgeous or have a really overinflated ego. 
  • Google images tells me it's the latter. 

  • 23. Zelinski, Ernie. The Joy of Not Working
  • If you’re bored while not working, find hobbies you enjoy. 
  • Done.