Summer Reading

As we move here in the US toward the Fourth of July holiday, I hope you are all keeping up with your Summer Reading List. I was one of those kids who loved that list of required reading over the summer–and we get to write reports about the books too? Yay!

The Washington Post has a great list of favorite books of their foreign correspondents for 2013. I share it here because it may be of interest in particular to international adoptees and to parents of internationally adopted children, but really it’s a fascinating list for anyone. The recommendations include books about Syria, India, North Korea, Jerusalem, China, Russia, and more.

The 2012 List is great too. Among the selections are these:


Recommended by: Sudarsan Raghavan, Africa bureau chief, who says this about the book: “It’s a wonderfully reported and written profile of Ethiopian dictator Haile Selassie’s last days, from the point of view of his servants, aides and others close to him. The book is considered one of the 20th century’s best works of nonfiction literary journalism. It’s a must-read for anyone who wants to understand Africa.”

And how about this one?

Recommended by: William Booth, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean bureau chief. “I am delightfully shocked to learn the sublime Mexico City taco as I know and love it — a shave of pork from twirling spit, made happy with onion and cilantro (y por favor señor! that chunk of pineapple) — only dates back to the 1950s. Of course, wrapping something in a tortilla is as old as tortillas, though they didn’t call them tacos.”

And this one is absolutely a must-read:

This is me speaking now, not a foreign correspondent lol: Behind the Beautiful Forevers is a beautifully written book about India–its incredible poverty, and its astonishing potential. A challenging, well-worth-it kind of book.

Not on either of these lists is the newest novel by the brilliant Afghan-born American novelist Khaled Hosseini, And The Mountains Echoed. (He also wrote The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.) Mountains has something of an adoption-related theme, in that one of the main characters was essentially trafficked, as a toddler, by her family, to a wealthier, childless couple, who never told her the truth of her origins. When Pari is a middle-aged adult, she re-connects with her family. In talking with a relative about her realization of what had happened to her, she says “You say you felt a presence, but I sensed only an absence. A vague pain without a source. I was like the patient who cannot explain to the doctor where it hurts, only that it does.” 

To me, that sums up the poignancy of the adoption journey.

I hope your summer time is one of rejuvenation and adventure, and one that includes lots of good books. Library cards are free. Enjoy.



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