Summer Reading

To prepare for our time in Maasailand, we read Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton's Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna. Given my "between cultures" perspective, I especially enjoyed the last chapter which described Lekuton's arrival in America. He hadn't eaten for days when his female hosts picked him up, but he didn't say anything about his hunger as a Maasai warrior never asks a woman for help or food. Finally, when he was about to faint, his female hosts realized he was starving and drove him to McDonald's.

I finished Harry Potter while on the plane from Boston to Nairobi. We're now reading it aloud to catch the wonderful Rowling-esque details I missed on my plot-seeking mad dash of a first read. I also read The Secret Life of Bees, which had been recommended to me about 200 times (possibly, I exaggerate.) Memorable characters, but the plot had a bit too much boomer-ish anti-male sentiment for my tastes. Did anyone else feel there was a bit of the "noble savage" stereotype going on when it came to a few of the African-American characters? No? Oh, well, maybe I'm just jealous of Sue Monk Kidd's raving success.

While in Africa, I enjoyed reading the most recent two installments in Alexander McCall Smith's Ladies' Detective Agency series. Quick, easy pleasure, like literary Hershey's Kisses. Finally, I read Lizzie Bright and the Buckminister Boy, which had me scratching my head once again about the reasoning behind the Newbery awards. Spoiler: everybody dies.

So what stories have you read this summer?


Anonymous said…
Well I spent my summer being a good, cross-cultural girl, and traveling with my . . . eccentric (for lack of a better word) . . . family all over India. I alternately clutched the seat of my taxi and worried myself over the insane habits of our driver, watched the sand of Rajasthan roll by, and buried my nose in Anna Karenina. If you have read it, please do tell me what you thought of it. Although its 923 pages are somewhat intimidating, it was quite good.
On another note, I have read The Secret Life Of Bees twice, and loved it. Being the non-critical person that I am, I guess I didn't think too much about your "noble-savage" theory, but instead relished the beauty of the book. Upon speculation now, I agree that some of the characters could be said to be slightly stereotypical, but I thought the book as a whole was far too delicious to contemplate the flaws.