Sunday, December 30, 2012


I don't typically write year-end posts or make New Year's resolutions or Top 10 lists or anything like that.  But for those of you who know me, you know I love to read. And to mark the end of my" read during my free time for pleasure and get lost in a book" period and enter my "read text books not so much for pleasure however useful they might be during my free time" period, I have decided to list some of the books I have read this year that I really enjoyed.  I know that I am probably behind in most of these--remember, I live in Africa.  But still, maybe you'll see one that piques your interest.

These are in the order I read them this year.

1.  Country Driving -- A Chinese Road Trip  by Peter Hessler.
           Narrative non-fiction at its best.  This is the third book in a series about China.  Perhaps I liked it even more because of all the memories of my time in China coming up as I read, but I still think anyone would find it interesting.

2.  Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
            A beautiful book about the relationships between hostages and their kidnappers.  The book is a little slow.  I didn't realize how much I was invested in it until the very end when I found myself weeping.

3.  The Help by Kathryn Stockett
             I was hesitant to read this book just because of all the hype surrounding it.  I usually find when a book is super popular I end up disappointed.  But this was great.  Not sappy at all.

4, 5, and 6.  The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
             Some people don't like this series assuming it's all about kids killing kids, but really it's about an oppressive government and the people who rise against it.  I couldn't put them down.

7.  Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese
             This book is set at a mission hospital in Ethiopia.  It is the story of the physicians who work there.  I will say, this book might not be for everyone - the medical explanations are in great detail, often a little more than I would have wished.

8 and 9.  Progeny (the Children of the White Lions) and Prophecy (the Children of the White Lions) by R.T. Kaelin
              It's been a long time since I've read a fantasy series this good.  It's creative and is even clean;  I'm not a fan of graphic violence, even in battle scenes.  The only downside is that I'll have to wait a long time to read the third one, as the second one only just came out.

10.  Dead Man's Folly by Agatha Christie
             I love Agatha Christie; particularly Hercule Poirot stories.  This one was a lot of fun to read (provided you think murder mysteries are fun).


  1. Hi, I know this is rather random, but I am a student from Lafayette College (Easton, PA) studying abroad in Kenya, and I'm currently going around Tanzania. I'm majoring in Geology, so I am particularly interested in the gold mines in Geita, just to understand how these activities go. Since you live there, I was wondering if you know if it's possible for outsiders to visit the mines? I'm currently in Mwanza and still deciding whether to stop by at Geita. Also, do you know of budget hotels in the area? Thank you!

  2. Sorry it's taken me so long to respond. I didn't realize I had a comment. It is possible for outsiders to visit the gold mine but difficult. Especially at this time of year, many of the employees are not here for the holidays. But if you're still in mwanza and wanting to try, I'll find out who you should talk to about visiting. Actually, if you go just to swim or golf, it wouldn't be too hard; but I'm assuming you want a tour, which might be more complicated. and there are A LOT of budget hotels here. Depending on when you want to come, you might could stay with one of the families on our team for free:), but some of us will be traveling this month so we might not be here. Just let me know.