A Few Really Good Reads

I have a goal again this year of reading 100 books. Last year I really surprised myself by exceeding my goal of 100 by 10 or 15 books. I’ve read 78 as of today. I thought I would share a few of my recent favorites here. I’d love to hear what you’re loving to read and why!

Hemingway in Africa: The Last SafariHemingway in Africa: The Last Safari by Christopher Ondaatje

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is not only about Hemingway in Africa, but a piece of art in biography form. The photos throughout the book are stunning, engaging and tell their own story of life in East Africa. I spent a summer in Uganda and Kenya, walked on some of the same places mentioned in the book…surprisingly, I have a photo of myself taken at Murchison Falls on the Nile River, unknowing at the time that Hemingway’s plane crashed there.

The life Hemingway lived on his first trip to Africa was so different from his second. I love how this book compares and contrasts his two visits, along with the author’s own observation about a land that gets in your heart and changes you from the inside out.

This biography is more than a story, more than art, it is also incredibly inspirational to me as a writer. I’ve never thought about hunting and writing along the same lines, but these thoughts will have me thinking for a long time.

I loved this book.

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Once Upon a RiverOnce Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an incredibly well-written, easily believable story about a young girl “trying to figure out how to live”. Margo is a lost soul, makes mistakes, learns from them and forges a life for herself out of sheer determination and will. I loved this story, and it got me to thinking about “What’s my river?” The river calmed Margo. The river was the one sure thing in her life, and she knew it. It’s not too often that I walk away from a novel asking myself deep questions about my own life, but this one left me pondering. It was a really great read.

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Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic RootsUnorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love this memoir so much I could not put it down. Deborah Feldman’s journey from the prison of other people’s ideas for her life to freedom is truly inspirational. I knew nothing of the Hasidic community before I read this book, so it was intriguing, yet heartbreaking to think how many girls and women are trapped by traditions that leave them powerless to do anything to improve their circumstances or protect their children from rigid law that demoralizes them.

I am proud of Deborah for taking a stand and leaving literally every comfort of home to rebuild a life for her and her son. If we all had her strength, we could make this world a much better place.

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