Welcome to the next installment in my Around the World in 80 Books Challenge! It’s exactly what it sounds like: I’m trying to read 80 books from 80 different countries/cultures around the world, and to add a frugal spin, I’m trying to do it all for under $20.
Here’s my running tally so far:
$0- Library books: Russia, Norway, Sweden, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Spain
$0- Free eBooks: Scotland, England
$0- Gift: Turkey
$0- Won in a Giveaway: Jerusalem
$1.99- eBook: Basque Country
$0- Paid, and interesting, review: Financial Inclusion at the Bottom of the Pyramid
Grand Total: $1.99
Today’s book was another birthday gift, so more freeness! Hopefully I won’t still be working on the challenge for too many more birthdays, but as long as I am, I’m loving that I’m getting these as gifts. The giver knows me well and always picks perfect reads, so if you’re reading this, THANK YOU!
If you haven’t heard of Malala Yousafzai yet, she is a girl from Swat, a region in the northern part of Pakistan. She is Pashtun, which is the same people as a large part of Afghanistan. When the Taliban started moving into her region, she and her father were very vocal about not restricting education. Her focus was not restricting education for girls. While everyone else was rightfully scared to speak out, she did it anyways.
As a result, she was shot. In the head. By some miracle, combined with a lot of medical expertise, she survived. She woke up in Birmingham, England without her family. They were still in Pakistan trying to secure proper documentation for her mother and brothers before they made the trip. They are still in England today, and Malala continues to be vocal about girls’ right to education not just in Swat, but in all parts of the world.
After I read this book, I read some reviews on Goodreads. It looks like a lot of people weren’t too happy with the coauthor’s role in this book. The consensus seems to be that she threw in a lot about Pakistani history and politics, and it made the ride uneven.
That wasn’t my experience. I’ve honestly always been confused about Pakistan. It seems like they’re our ally. And then it seems like they’re not. And that’s just about all I knew. Apparently, it can be just as confusing over there. There have been dictatorships and assassinations. Seizures of power and, not so long ago, essential kings or walis. The government isn’t always watching out for the people, but then sometimes they are. In Malala’s view, we’ve also been confusing, as we’ve been talked about as allies and then bombed parts of their country.
The relationship is a mess. So having background on it was not only enlightening, but felt necessary to the story as Malala’s mission is so heavily intertwined with politics and couldn’t have been properly understood without reading a bit about the region’s history.
Malala herself is the epitome of bravery. You know that quote that says, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing?” Read it with “men” being representative of any gender. Because Malala is one of those good human beings, bringing the quote to life. A large part of what happened in her part of the world could be attributed to very few standing up and saying, “No.” But she stood up and said it anyways. There were very real potential consequences. She said it anyways. There were very real consequences that came to fulfillment. She continues to say it anyways.
She doesn’t need my endorsement. She’s won the Nobel Peace Prize. The youngest person ever.
But she’s going to get it anyways. Highly, highly recommend this one.
As for what’s next, I may have to swing by my local library to find out. I’ve got a long list of recommendations to choose from. Want to add one of your own? Leave it in the comments!
Canada: The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be by Farley Mowat recommeded by Messy Money
Afghanistan: The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg recommended by Savvy Working Gal
Nigeria: I Do Not Come to You by Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani recommended by Guiltless Reader
Philippines: May Day Eve and Other Stories by Nick Joaquin recommended by Guiltless Reader
Iceland: Scarcity in Excess by Arna Mathiesen & Thomas Forget
Sudan: The Wedding of Zein by Tayeb Salih recommended by Kate Wilson
Kenya: Out of Africa by Karen Blixen recommended by Christine from The Wallet Diet
China: Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China by Leslie T. Chang
Japan: Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi recommended by Suburban Finance
Ethiopia: The God Who Begat a Jakal by Nega Mezlekia recommended by Based On a True Story
French Antilles: Victoire: My Mother’s Mother by Maryse Conde recommended by Based on A True Story
Suriname: The Free Negress Elisabeth by Cynthia McLeod recommended by Based On A True Story
Costa Rica: The Ticos: Culture and Social Change in Costa Rica
France: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr recommended by Our Next Life
Italy: If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino recommended by Middle Class
Germany: In the Garden of Beasts or Devil in the White City by Erik Larson recommended by Emi from AIP Around the World
Haiti: All Souls Rising by Madison Smartt Bell recommended by Tre from House of Tre