Thursday, July 27, 2017 | ePaper

Reading the road less travelled : A global journey

  • Print


Alyssa Walker :
"Think before you speak. Read before you think." ?Fran Lebowitz, The Fran Lebowitz Reader
Hear a voice from the past, from across an ocean, from the future, or maybe even one that you could hear on your own street.  Whether it's the crack of a new book's spine, the worn, well-loved pages of a favorite, or the soft glow from your e-reader, the act of reading a book transports you.  To another place.  Another time.  To a group of people whom you don't know.  And everyone is looking for something.  Join us on our journey around the world-in books.  Find something that speaks to you and tuck in.
Written in 2006, Adichie's wrenching tale chronicles five people's lives as they navigate politics, power, academics, journalism, women's rights, marriage, and the struggle for daily survival during Nigeria's Civil War in the late 1960s.  How blurred are the lines between life and death?  What does it mean to be in love?  How does war affect humanity-and its soul?
A Chinese classic on feminism, circa 1827.  While the Qing Dynasty period wasn't known for embracing femininity, the author was. Ruzhen offers us a subversion of gender roles in a fantasy classic-often with a humorous twist.  He believed in equal rights for men and women and wrote Flowers in the Mirror as one fantastical version of what that kind of world could look like.
Travel to Barcelona, on Zafón's meticulously detailed streets with young Daniel in 1945, just after the Spanish Civil War.  Pick up an obscure, tattered book in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and join Daniel on a dangerous mystery that will take you throughout past and then-present Barcelona-and the heartbreak of the human spirit.  Also Try Zafón's 2009 prequel, The Angel's Game, written in 2008, seven years after Shadow of the Wind.
Winner of the Cairo International Book Fair Prize, Egyptian author Radwa Ashour details the ethnic cleansing of Deir Yassini in April of 1948.  Using metaphoric "doubles," Ashour parallels the stories of two women, Shagar Abdel Ghaffar, and "Radwa Ashour" who live through atrocities-both personal and political-in a fractured time and place.  How much strength can the human spirit hold?
Winner of the National Book Award, The Corrections offers us an ironic and often funny glimpse of a multi-generational family fraying at the edges at the beginning of the 21st century.  With larger themes like economic collapse overshadowing the finer movements of a family's collapse, Franzen sets the stage with an older couple hosting "one last Christmas" with their middle-aged children.  Anxiety, uncertainty, and apprehension apply to the state of the family-and the state of the world.
1991 Winner of the Miles Franklin and NBC Awards in Australia, Cloudstreet details the bonds created between two families who flee rural life for different reasons.  Watch them scrabble, struggle, laugh and cry twenty years in the city before they find what they want. What do they want?  What we all do.  Love and acceptance.    
Marquez's magical realism does not disappoint in his 1967 epic that chronicles seven generations of the fortunes-and humorous misfortunes-of the Buendía family and their grandfather's town, Macondo.  The story of the family is the story of the town. History, for better or worse, consistently repeats itself.  With lyrical beauty, Marquez explores the ghosts of family and place-and what it means to be a part of both.
Find something that speaks to you?  Tickles your soul?  Makes you think?  Check it out and settle in.  Happy reading!
(Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family).

More News For this Category

Big data can change student lives

Joanna Hughes :Approximately 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created every day with a staggering 90 percent of the world's total data having been created in the last two

Higher math in lower grades: Hurting or helping kids?

Higher math in lower grades: Hurting or helping kids?

Cindy Donaldson :Every parent wants to see her child keep up with peers, and these days that means taking algebra in the eighth grade. But sometimes we forget that

Science is (also) for women

Science is (also) for women

Elizabeth Koprowski :There's no denying hard numbers. According to most estimates, men outnumber women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. In recent years, there have been concerted

Stuck on your master's thesis?

Stuck on your master's thesis?

Joanna Hughes :Even the most devoted scholars ultimately hit a roadblock at one time or another-sometimes at the least convenient times. If you're having trouble getting started on your

The responsibilities of a student

The responsibilities of a student

Touhid Ebrahim :The country which produces a generation of talented, hardworking, dutiful and responsible youth goes ahead along the path of development. It is difficult creating quality citizens across

Emerging fields for post-graduate studies

Emerging fields for post-graduate studies

Alyssa Walker :In the dynamic evolution of working and choosing a career, there's one constant: learning new skills that support emerging markets is critical to your success.  You can

Study in Southeast Asia

Study in Southeast Asia

Joanna Hughes :From its varied geography and breathtaking natural phenomena to its friendly inhabitants and their extraordinary cultures, Southeast Asia is perhaps best defined by one word: diversity. Let's

Eye-catching resume for science graduates

Eye-catching resume for science graduates

Elizabeth Koprowski :If you've spent the last few years working on your postgraduate degree in science, you've probably accrued a staggering amount of impressive experiences. You may have published

Changing face of international students in the US

Changing face of international students in the US

Alyssa Walker :Last year, nearly 1 million international students studied in the US.  Long considered the land of opportunity, the US has always attracted a significant percentage of the

Masters in Professional Studies

Masters in Professional Studies

Elizabeth Koprowski :Master's degrees are increasingly common - a report published in 2015 predicted that by 2022, at least 60% of all awarded degrees will be at the master's