Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Two Great Reads! One, Not so Much

There's nothing like a long flight to aid and abet an avid reader. I took the holiday weekend to fly to Massachusetts for a long overdue visit with my dear aunt Jackie and Cynthia, "the blogger's sister." I got to finish The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton. For those of you who don't know this, I was a Bookmobile Librarian for two years while I was in graduate school and it was one of the most satisfying jobs I've ever held.
Much like Fiona Sweeney, the character in the book, I was convinced that I was saving the world, one child at a time. Except that she's doing it in Africa! I had high hopes for this book and, while it did touch lightly on the problems that arise when one brings the outside world to remote, arid environs where hunger and disease are the primary worries of the people, it certainly doesn't have the depth of, say, The Poisonwood Bible.
What Hamilton does do though, is bring attention to the actual camel bookmobile which does indeed exist and needs our help. I had no idea of this when I began the novel but have since looked Ms. Hamilton up online - don't you just love the way one thing leads to another when you're reading? Her website tells the other side to this story. Take a look:

So what were the great reads you might be wondering. On the flight back home I began and couldn't put down Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love. I'd been saving it ever since I'd read the review last year - kind of as a treat - the way some people (me too) save certain foods for a guilty repast. So many of us dream of this but Gilbert actually did it - took a year off from the daily grind - to travel and write. And oh, how she can write! The subtitle of this book is "A Woman's Search for Everything, Across Italy, India and Indonesia." At only 30- something you might think that she hasn't lived long enough to know what "everything" is, but I love how she makes no bones about it and offers no apologies for wanting it all. To get to know her better you can read a Q & A at her website:
I've got to get back to the book!

Tomorrow I'll try to take time to write about the other fascinating book I'm in the middle of, Gore Vidal's Point to Point Navigation.

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