Skip to main content

Books Read in June

I read only two books in June and both of them were novels!    This has been a busy summer for me so I haven't had the mental energy to read more than novels.

So, the first book I read was called Quentins by Maeve Binchey.  Maeve Binchey is an excellent story-teller and she's a prolific author, but I don't read her books that often.  Of the ones I've read, this probably wasn't my favorite.  The basic story line was good, but even that was kind of sad since it was based on an affair the main protagonist was having.  Thankfully Ms. Binchey didn't have steamy sex scenes. The thing that really kind of annoyed me about the book, though, was that there were stories within the story and that kind of annoyed me because it was hard to make the mental switch, reminding myself, "OK, now, different characters, we're not in the main story any more."

The second was called The Garden of Burning Sand by Corban Addison, which I liked a lot more.  I have both good and bad things to say about this book. And whether you end up liking the book or not, it will make you think.

Zoe is a young American lawyer working with a Zambian NGO devoted to combating child sexual assault. She works with a team of Zambians to work for justice for a young girl with Downs Syndrome who has been raped. All evidence points to the rape having been carried out by the son of one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in Zambia. And as the book goes on, the reasons for the rape become more clear.

I liked this book because it was well-written, kept me involved in the story, and showed the complexity of life in Zambia. The love story is tame and thankfully there aren't any steamy sex scenes. Likewise the violence of the rape and the demeaning of women through prostitution is necessarily there, but it's not graphic. This is a book you could let your older teens read.

Some things I didn't like were: 1. A rich American assuming she can save the world. Thankfully this was balanced by the team of extremely competent Zambians she worked with. 2. Painting Africa in very stereotypical ways (but then stereotypes come from frequent observations, so there is perhaps a grain of truth): corrupted powerful people, witchcraft controlling life, more problems than good things happening, westerners as rich, etc. 3. I'm not sure the answer to justice in the world is best provided by western governments.....but at least the author gives you something to think about. How do we get involved without acting like the saviors of the world? 4. The book has some anachronisms, such as I've never heard anybody here in West Africa use the term "SUV". Maybe they do in Southern Africa, but it seemed like an Americanism being used in an African setting. 5. Simplistic solutions to Africa's problems and to America's involvement in those problems. 6. They risk life to get Anna's story and then she never appears in court???

That said, I would still recommend reading this book.


Popular posts from this blog

Practice Hospitality

My mother-in-law, Jean, is an amazing person with many gifts.  One of the first things I noticed about her when I was but a young bride, was her gift of hospitality.  It was nothing for her to invite a large group of people over, make each one feel welcome, cook a big meal,and seemingly do it without stressing herself out.  I don't know if hospitality just came naturally to her or if she learned it.  In this picture you can see Jean throwing a party for a class she taught in Nigeria.  

I believe that for me it has been a learned skill.  My parents were hospitable and it wasn't unusual for us to have guests over (though usually not as many at a time as my mother-in-law would do!).  But when I started living on my own, I had to learn hospitality.  The first time I invited somebody over for a meal, the lid got stuck on the pot of vegetables, I put too much salt or soda or something in the muffins, and I forgot to serve milk and sugar with the hot drinks.  I've gotten much bett…

Graduation Season

It's the season for graduations!  Yesterday I attended two graduations.  Thankfully one was in the morning and one was in the evening.  There were differences and similarities.  

The morning graduation was at the flight controller and meteorologist training school.  Six of the graduates attended our Bible study regularly and a seventh came occasionally.  We grew to dearly love this group.  

The evening ceremony was at our MK school and all of the graduates this year were missionary kids and one pastor's kids; the majority of the missionary kids were from our mission.  So I've known most of these kids since they were little. 

The similarities were:
1.  Both groups were fairly small (30 for the flight controller school and 13 for our mission school).  Both groups were very close to each other; at the flight controller school they have all classes together and live in dorms together for 14 months with only a few days off and no real vacations; at the mission school the kids have …

Beyond Our Ability to Endure

I've been working on our home assignment audio-visual presentation.  It's been a lot of work, especially since it requires sorting through hundreds of pictures to choose the ones we want to use.  I was hoping to put together something that would be really "Wow!"  Well, in the end it's just a power point with some music and a few slides coming in with a fancy spin.  But it's our story, and our story is nothing more than God's story when it comes right down to it.  In fact, I have used Big Daddy Weave's song, My Story in part of the presentation.  If you're not familiar with the song, you can listen to it here
As I looked over the past four years of this term there were days that we felt we had reached our ability to endure.  We started the term in July 2013 and we were still recovering from the flood of 2012.  We have all of our "normal" stresses such as living in an extremely hot climate, living in the poorest country of the world, livi…