Books Books

Here is a list of books that I have/am reading while I am traveling along with a short description. Starting with my most recent read:

73: What the Day Owes the Night
By: Yasmina Khadra
I love books that look at the history of other countries and was intrigued by this one in Algeria. It started off rather promising but after half the book the story became increasingly heavy and over complicated and in the end I never finished it

72: The Fortune Hunter
By: Daisy Goodwin
A relaxing read looking at the life of socialites and royalty in the late 1800’s England.

71: The Overseer
By: Jonathan Rabb
A rather intriguing book that gives a whole new outlook on modern politics… a very interesting read considering the political situation in the US these days.

70.The Rapture of Canaan
By: Sheri Reynolds
A very interesting book that is easy to read and quite riveting, a look into the world of religious cults so to speak….

69. The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party
By: Alexander McCall Smith
Book number 12 in the series following the adventures of Mma Ramotswe chief proprietor of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. Again an easy read with lots of fun quirks and insights into the lives and culture of the people of Botswana.

68. The Double Comfort Safari Club
By: Alexander McCall Smith
Book number 11 in the series following the adventures of Mma Ramotswe the Number 1 Ladies Detective in Botswana. Wonderfully written we continue the saga of Mma Makutsi and her fiance, while Mma Ramotswe sorts out cheating spouses and finds a game guide who has been left an inheritance by a former guest. A great easy read.

67. The Servants’ Quarters
By: Lynn Freed
Set in post WW2 South Africa it looks like at the relationship between an injured airman and a young girl and where that leads. Interesting read with nice short chapters to keep you intrigued.

66. Hope in a Ballet Shoe
By: Michaela and Elaine DePrince
A wonderful easy read that tugs at the heart strings, occasionally tissue is required. The true story of Michaela who was born in Sierra Leone at the start of the war and was adopted to the US at age 4, clinging to the hope of becoming a prima ballerina. A true inspiration for girls everywhere!!

65. Safe Harbor
By: Danielle Steel
A nice relaxing read all about finding love after loss.

64. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
By: Katherine Howe
A very interesting look at the Salem Witch trials bringing a connection into present day.

63. The Tower
By: Simon Toyne
The great thing about this book is the short chapters, it makes you feel like you can read just one more and end up reading twice as long as you planned. A very insightful book that looks at man’s need to destroy and control and what happens when that need disappears. It considers that we are all part of the same universe and are affected by the actions of the universe. Finally it takes a look at how religion may have misled many, but it is done in a very tactful way. Excellent thought provoking read.

62. Jenny’s War
By: Margaret Dickinson
An easy read reliving the days of WW2 when children were evacuated to the country out of London. It follows the tale of one particular young girl named Jenny, and her fight to find her place in the world despite her careless mother.

61. The Jewel
By: Amy Ewing
I read this in about a week, a phenomenal read that captures the mind immediately. Imagine a world where the royals cannot produce offspring and so girls from the poorest region are taken as surrogates with no choice. Fantasy with a touch of reality, can’t wait for the 2nd in the trilogy.

60. State of Wonder
By: Ann Patchett
At first a slow read, but within the first 5 chapters the reader is hooked. This is a great book for anyone in the environmental field, it combines intrigue and danger with research in the Amazon. It also looks at the delicate line between research into pharmaceuticals and going to far in the name of science. Fantastic!

59. People of the Book
By: Geraldine Brooks
A phenomenal read that I could not put down. All about the restoration of an ancient Jewish prayer, the Sarajevo Haggadah. As the restorer finds things like a butterfly wing or a seed the story reverts to the time that it fell into the book and learn about the people who were around it, as back as the 1400’s. A unique look into the history of the Jewish people and the hate they have faced. But at the same time a look at times when all religions could live in peace and even go out of their way to protect the other.

58. Serpent
By: Clive Cussler
An exciting novel full of intrigue and action and a intricate plot to break the USA. A definite read.

57. Overseas
By: Beatriz Williams
A creative and interesting love story that defies time and distance. From the trenches in WWI to Wall Street in the modern day, love finds a way. Excellent and easy read.

56. The Historian
By: Elizabeth Kostova
Absolutely brilliant and riveting. An historian’s view of the legend and hunt for Dracula. Even those not interested in his legend will find this book good. Focuses a lot on true historical facts and ranges from the US, to Oxford, to Istanbul and Bulgaria… truly fantastic!!!

55. Hollow City
By: Ransom Riggs
Book 2 following the peculiar adventures of the peculiar children under the care of Mrs Peregrine as they try to save their beloved matron and ultimately the world.

54. City of Veils
By: Zoe Ferraris
Another spectacular book by this author. Technically this is book 2 in a series, the first book “Finding Nouf” I read years ago and never realised when I picked up “Kingdom Of Strangers” that it was the same author. Now I have read all 3 and can’t wait for a 4th. It gives the reader a real insight into life in Saudi Arabia and into the Muslim culture. Not to mention the added intensity of a murder mystery with an unexpected twist.

53. 1356
By: Bernard Cornwell
Based on tales of the Black Prince of England and the search for a Holy Sword (what St. Peter used to try and protect Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane) equivalent to the Holy Grail in it’s value to the church. Great battle scenes and some interesting takes on history.

52. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children
By: Ransom Riggs
An interesting tale of oddities and mystery, using old pnotographs the author weaves a fanciful tale, one that was very difficult to put down. A great read.

51. Kingdom of Strangers
By: Zoe Ferraris
I could not put this book down. A fascinating look into the world of Saudi Arabia, with murder and intrigue as it’s story line, but the daily struggle of women in this male dominated world.

50. The Einstein Pursuit
By: Chris Kuzneski
Another fun read this time following our two heroes as they hunt to find a killer who seems bent on murdering some of the greatest scientific minds in the world.

49. The Secret Crown
By: Chris Kuzneski
A great easy read, following the adventures of 2 ex-marine type characters. In this book they follow the secrets of hidden art and gold, involving the Nazi’s and the long dead King of Bavaria – Ludwig.

48. The Wedding Season
By: Su Dharmapala
An fun read and interesting insight into the life of Sri Lankan expats living in Australia. Particularly on the a 30something’s adventures in trying to avoid her mother making an arranged marriage.

47. The Sunbird
By: Wilbur Smith
A great read, at least in the beginning. A search for an ancient city and release of an ancient curse. Loved the first half but kind of skipped through the second half.

46. The Dark Heroine
By: Abigail Gibbs
Apparently sticking to the vampire theme, I picked this up in our crew library. A fun and exciting read all about vampires and the existence of other dimensions.

45. The Blood Gospel
By: James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrel
Picked this up at the airport expecting an interesting historical read about Masada and Israel, having just spent a cruise season going there it seemed appropriate. What I got was an exciting read about vampires and supernatural beings with a religious and historical background. Excellent!

44. The Istanbul Puzzle
By: Laurence O’Bryan
A guest on the cruise ship I work on gave me this book at the beginning of the contract, but work schedule prevented me from really getting into it. During my break I couldn’t put it down. Full of twists and intrigue, history and international plots, its a great easy read for those traveling.

43. Deadly Harvest
By: Michael Stanley
Another Detective Kubu story based in Botswana. I love these novels using real life Botswana to create amazing twists and turns. Be aware this one deals with the practice of witch doctors using humans for muti. It is a very real issue and this book really brings it to light. Highly recommend any and all of this series.

42. The Curse of Chalion
By: Lois McMaster Bujold
An intriguing story set in the middle ages, with murder, magic and mystery.

41. Tea Time for the Traditionally Built
By: Alexander McCall Smith
Another volume of Mma Ramotswe and the no. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. I love reading this series because I can pick up a book at any point and continue it without feeling the need to read one after the other. An easy relaxed read with great story line and beautiful imagery of Botswana.

40. Babylon’s Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of Baghdad’s Zoo
By: Lawrence Anthony
Another brilliant book, the first Elephant Whisperer had tears in my eyes, now Babylon’s Ark finds me on the edge of my seat as Lawrence travels to Baghdad immediately after the war. His goal to save the Baghdad zoo, once the best zoo in the Middle East. He enters a zone still rife with combat and his journey over 6mths to make the zoo self sufficient again is truly heroic. A must read!!!!

39. Cruise Confidential: A Hit Below the Waterline
By: Brian David Bruns
What would you do for love? While Brian became the first American in Carnival history to survive an 8mth contract as a waiter. Survive being the key word. Keeping his good humor and upbeat nature through 90hr weeks and insane politics, Brian does all he can to be with the woman he loves. If you are thinking of working on a cruise ship (as I am about to), please read this.

38. That Bear Ate My Pants
By: Tony James Slater
The hysterical experiences of accident prone Tony during his adventures at a wildlife refuge high up in the cloud forest of Ecuador. Easy to read and written with side splitting humor, a definite read for those seeking to volunteer while traveling. It was also my first e-book.

37. Death of the Mantis
By: Michael Stanley
Once again these guys deliver, the duo that create the detective Kubu series are down right genius. Set in Botswana, this murder mystery has twists and turns and keeps you guessing, right up until the end. If you love Africa, if you love murder mysteries, hell, if you love books, you MUST read this.

36. Wrath of the Lemmingmen
By: Toby Frost
British humor at it’s finest. Laughed my way through the book and the puns were so bad they were fantastic! A definate suggestion for if you want something light and easy and involving inter galactic homicidal lemming with suicidal tendencies…

35. Serena
By: Ron Rash
Brilliant book about timber barons in the Smokey Mountains at the turn of the 1900’s. Excellent read!

34. A Long Way Gone…Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
By: Ishmael Beah
An emotional rollercoaster written beautifully, if you can say that about the horrors of war. The true life story of a boy who lost his innocence and his family to the war in Sierra Leone and how moved on. A definite read but be aware it is very graphic.

33. The Sword of Medina
By: Sherry Jones
The sequel to the Jewel of Medina, continues the story of Mohammad’s favorite wife and the struggles and politics of ruling Islam. Another fascinating read.

32. The Jewel of Medina
By: Sherry Jones
I couldn’t put this down. It was a fascinating tale of the wives of the prophet Mohammad and how Islam got started. An excellent read!

31. The Elephant Whisperer
By: Lawrence Anthony
A true story of a South African conservationist, from my home town, helping a herd of traumatised wild elephants to settle on his private reserve. The title is a misnomer as it’s the elephants who teach and whisper to Lawrence. Truly inspirational, a must read! Unfortunately Lawrence past away this year of a heart attack and conservation has lost one of it’s greatest warriors.

30. The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing
By: Tarquinn Hall
From the files of Most Private Detective Vish Puri, this is a great murder mystery set in India with lots of twists and turns. Also gives a great insight into life in Delhi.

29. The Miracle at Speedy Motors
By: Alexander McCall Smith
Book 9 of the series about the life of Mma Ramotswe proprietor of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency in Botswana. Always a great read.

28. Little Princes – One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal
By: Connor Grennan
A truly inspiring story that I recommend to everyone. Connor writes with an ease that makes this read a pleasure and very amusing. It talks about how he fell into helping the lost children of Nepal. After being in Nepal, it really opened my eyes to what the people of Nepal have been through. Please all take the time to read this.

27. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive
By: Alexander McCall Smith
Book 8 of the life and adventures of Mma Ramotswe a self proclaimed private investigator living in Botswana. The simple writing and easy read make this a great book with real insight into the life of people in Botswana.

26. The Last Battle
By: C.S. Lewis
Book 7 of the Chronicles of Narnia and the final one. Could this be the end of Narnia, will Aslan return to save this magical world????

25. The Silver Chair
By: C.S. Lewis
Book 6 of the Chronicles of Narnia, adventures continue with Eustace and Jill from our world being whisked into Narnia by Aslan the Lion to save a kidnapped prince.

24. Inheritance
By: Christopher Paolini
The final book to the series, and one I have been waiting for for 2-3 yrs if not more. All about good vs evil and the fight for a land with dragons, dwarfs, elves and humans. An enjoyable read, and a rather large book!

23. Kingdom of the Golden Dragon
By: Isabel Allende
An adventure story of how greed can affect the peaceful Kingdom Of the Golden Dragon (a mythical place in the Himalayas based on Nepal and Tibet). A fun read.

22. Painting Mona Lisa
By: Jeanne Kalogridis
A fictional story of the life of Mona Lisa painted by Leonardo Da Vinci. Full of intrigue and life during the tumultuous times of Italy in the 1400’s.

21. ry The Beloved Country
By: Alan Paton
Set during the time of Apartheid in South Africa. A must read for anyone interested in this time or who has a connection to Africa.

20. For Camelot’s Honor
By: Sarah Zettel
A story during the time of King Arthur, about magic and love and courage. A good read.

19. Half Broke Horses
By: Jeannette Walls
A brilliant story about growing up in America prior to the depression and onwards. Lily Casey is a true frontiers woman and the authors grandmother. I read this in 4 days and can’t to read another by this author.

18. Forbidden Love
By Norma Khouri
Based on the real life happenings of honour killings in Jordan. A very good read even if it turned out that Norma lied and was brought up in the US not in Jordan. Either way, it highlights the plight of women in Jordan.

17. The River God
By Wilbur Smith
This is only the 2nd Wilbur Smith book I have read and it was fantastic just like the last one. River God is set in Egypt and follows the life of Taita, a slave during the time of the pharoahs. It is apparently based on some real scrolls that were discovered in an unknown queens tomb. An excellent read.

16. The Power Of One
By: Bryce Courtney
After reading Tandia I had to read the original book, and as a South African is seemed to shock everyone that I hadn’t. The movie was great, the book is amazing. His way with words to describe life in South Africa is truly astounding, describing the life of a young boy brought up in Colonial South Africa and the racism he faced against others and himself, from all sides. The book has a different ending to the movie, and leads into Tandia very well. A must read for everyone!

15. Tandia
By: Bryce Courtney
Story continues of Peekay from the Power of One. We also meet Tandia a young colored girl. This book covers tumultuous time in South Africa where the black people finally rise up against the Apartheid regime. It has brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion. I highly recommend it.

14. Green City in the Sun
By Barbara Wood
An amazing story looking at 3 generations from the time when Kenya was first settled to independence and beyond. A remarkable tale that shows the true spirit of Africa and the nobility of the local people.

13. The Sunday Philosopher’s Club
By: Alexander McCall Smith
The first in his series set in Scotland. I loved his stories about Precious Ramotswe but so far this one has not grabbed my attention like the number one ladies detective agency. I never finished it.

12. Now Then Lad… Tales of a country Bobby
By: Mike Pannett
A collection of short stories about the life of a country policeman (bobby) in Yorkshire. Great fun and an easy read.

11. The Voyage of the DawnTreader
By: C.S. Lewis
Book five of the Chronicles of Narnia.

10. Prince Caspian
By: C.S. Lewis
Book four of the Chronicles of Narnia.

9. The Horse and his Boy
By: C.S. Lewis
Book three of the Chronicles of Narnia. Another classic.

8. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
By: C.S. Lewis
Book two of the Chronicles of Narnia. The story most of us know and love.

7. The Magician’s Nephew
By: C.S. Lewis
Book one of the Chronicles of Narnia. How Narnia began.
Am loving every minute of it and can’t wait for the next one.

6. Countrymen of Bones
By: Robert Olen Butler
Very interesting story set at the time of the making of the atomic bomb. 2 scientists, one an archaeologist the other a physicist and the woman they both love.
Not something I would normally read, but rather interesting all the same.

5. Thunder God
By: Paul Watkins
An adventure tale about a norse boy who is kidnapped by raiders, raised as a servant and trained in the knowledge of the Gods. He finally returns home discovers things much changed.
A very good read.

4. The Bishop’s Tale
By: Margaret Frazer
A murder mystery set in 1400’s England. The detective is Dame Frevisse, a nun.
Super easy read and very interesting twists, glad I found it on the book swop.

3. Llama for lunch
By: Lydia Laube
Based on her travels overland and by boat through S. America. I was very excited to read this book and then horribly disappointed, she is very judgemental on people’s looks and often has a negative feel to her writing.
I never finished it and opted to switch at the first book exchange. A fellow traveler borrowed it for a bit and had the same feeling.

2. Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet
By: Kashmira Sheth
Set in India, it explores the life of a girl battling with her mother’s traditional values and her own sense of independence.
Very easy read and very interesting.

1. The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu
By: Michael Stanley
Set in Botswana, beloved Detective Kubu is at it again discovering ‘who done it’ in a fascinating murder mystery with unsuspecting twists around every corner.
One of my favorite authors and characters.


One response to “Books Books

  1. Lee

    January 4, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    Don’t know if you read it while traveling, but don’t forget “Female Nomad – Living at Large in the World” as a recommended read. Along with Rita Golden Gelman’s new anthology “Female Nomad and Friends – Tales of Breaking Free and Breaking Bread Around the World”. Bon Journey, Kathy!


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