I like an eclectic reading list, and aside from a month post-surgery where I couldn't concentrate on anything longer and more taxing than a magazine article, I've been devouring books at a rate of one every two days. Some are sticking in my mind more than others and I thought I'd recommend them.
On top of 'bucket list' things to do before shuffling off this mortal coil, if I actually made a bucket list that is, is to go on an African safari (sans guns, of course). Two books I loved that detailed this life and how guides live and interact with the wild animals around them have only served to whet my appetite. Don't Run Don't Look Behind You is hilarious and hard to put down. The guide writes of just starting out, learning to be a guide (think being thrown into the deep end of a pool with no instruction how to swim), and is now teaching in Africa on how to be a guide. Often funny and, on occasion, sad, particularly for people like me who can't stand to see an animal suffer, is the occasional story of animal abuse or endangerment. Fortunately, it doesn't occur in the book often.
The Elephant Whisperer, by the founder of the World Organization and former safari lodge owner Lawrence Anthony, is excellent and totally absorbing. He wrote two other books, one about saving animals in the Bagdad zoo, and another that is coming out about rhinos. Think those are actually called The Bagdad Zoo, and The Last Rhino. You may know his name because when he died of a sudden heart attack this spring, his rescued elephant herd walked more than 12 miles out of the bush to hang around his house for two days and pay their respects. They showed up within hours of his death, and his family was baffled as to how they just 'knew.' Go to YouTube or Google him.
The Few, by Alex Kershaw, is the true account of seven American pilots who snuck into Canada and then sailed to England under false identities to fight with the RAF (Royal Air Force) against the Nazis in the Battle of Britain, a year before America was drawn into WWII. Eventually there were almost 30 Americans flying with the RAF. But of these seven, only one survived and returned to America. And their American citizenship, which had been revoked, wasn't reinstated until the '80s, which was crummy. They would have been jailed had they been caught while leaving America to fly for the RAF. Most of them saw the writing on the wall as far as war went, but they also were aviation obsessed and just wanted to fly the fast planes.
You might like to read the newest Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Positive. It has some great stories. My essay on living with vHL is on page 335. If you aren't up to buying the book, read it at the bookshop!
One book that is on the NY Times list and getting tons of publicity, is Gone, Girl. I really enjoyed it --right up until the final chapter, and then it really bombed. I cannot believe the editors didn't mind the huge gaping holes in the plot that made it fall short for me. If anyone has read it please let me know whether you had a problem with the ending as well.