The Seattle Public Library’s Summer Reading Bingo has been a great inspiration for me to finish a lot of books on my 2016 reading goal list and a lot more. Each square of the board, for those of you not playing along, has a specific kind of book you need to read to fill in a square.
On my quest to blackout their bingo card, I read a memoir, a book that was written over 100 years ago and a book translated from another language. It turned out that the memoir my mother gave me about a year ago was I Am Malala, the book I had from over 100 years ago was Kim by Rudyard Kipling and the book I bought, because I liked the blog a year of reading the world, but I hadn’t read yet was Hurramabad by Andrei Volos.
I didn’t plan to read these books in the order I did and as you will see in my reviews, probably wouldn’t have read all of them without the inspiration of the Summer Reading Bingo Card, but I feel like the coincidence of the connection and the story of the three books is interesting enough to share.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
It took me a long time to get past the first few chapters of this book, but I am very glad I did. The second part of the book is about the rise of the Taliban in the Swat area of Pakistan and the events that led up to Malala being shot. This section is full of important historic, religious and cultural information from the point of view of the people living it every day. I recommend the middle section of this book to everyone.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
The back of this book says “Magical, mystical, bristling with danger and excitement. . . . I claim shenanigans! That was false advertising–yes, it might have been very exciting in 1911, but that back cover of my paperback was written in 1984, so they knew they were lying. The book has many interesting things to say about the history and culture of India, but it is so boring and full of polite and impolite dialogue that if I hadn’t needed to read “a book from over 100 years ago” for Summer Reading Bingo, I would have gotten rid of it. That said, I am glad I read it directly after I Am Malala and before Hurramabad because that made for interesting mental travels.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is amazing! Written as a series of stories about the people of a town called Hurramabad in Tajikistan, it takes the reader into the daily lives, thoughts and troubles of a few specific characters. When I finished the chapter called “A House On The River”, I said Wow aloud to my living room. All of the stories are about leaving in one way or another, arriving at the message that we are foreigners wherever we are. I recommend this book to everyone.
Why is this grouping read is this order interesting to me?
Because Malala’s story mentions that Pakistan was not so long ago a part of India and if you look at the map of India from 1940 it looks like this:
This map might be close to what Kim traveled. The hills in the north that he visits could very well be lands that Malala talks about and are mentioned in Hurramabad. All three books talk about joy of nature, being a stranger in one’s own home and the horrors that humans have done to one another over and over again.
One thing I did get from Kim by Rudyard Kipling was the message of life on the Wheel and not on the Wheel. The idea that life keeps repeating until you learn, until you find a better path (are enlightened). These three books tell the tale of the Wheel and how humans can’t seem to stop being horrible to each other.
From over 100 years ago to now this minute issues of misinterpreted texts, are brainwashing people into horrible, even murderous behaviors and I am so glad to not live in a place where I could be shot for going to school, or murdered for making a house, or beaten to death for being a woman walking without a family male escort. My poor brother wouldn’t ever get to work; he has a wife, a daughter, an unmarried sister, a mother, a niece. How would anyone ever do anything?
I have thinking to do. I want all people to have free education and never be misinformed by the selfish wants of powerful leaders, or gun-holding murderers. I hope Malala will some day return to a peaceful Pakistan and the people of Russia and Tajikistan will call each other brother and no longer live in poverty. Mostly, I wish that all Americans will take advantage of their freedom and read and learn and discuss. Stop being cruel to each other when you have everything, more than everything.
As a person who was in the Peace Corps in a small village, The Ivory Coast, West Africa I have to say: Imagine yourself spending your days not letting the fire go out because if you did, you couldn’t eat or even have tea. You might look at life differently.
Happy Education Everyone!
P.S. It was easier than I thought it would be to transfer my Goodreads book reviews to WordPress. You just have to copy the html of your review on Goodreads then switch to html view in your draft on WordPress and paste it in. When I switched back into Visual view I chose to erase the link that said “See all my reviews” and then went to my next review, copied the html and switched back to html view in WordPress and pasted it after the first one. Hope this inspires those of you who haven’t tried it yet. I’m sure I can make the reviews have stars and make the images larger, etc. with just a little html. There are guidelines on Goodreads just above your review box. Hope this helps others who haven’t tried yet.