The best for last. This book is just as beautiful and tragic as one would expect from Hosseini. In the opening chapter, a father tells a tale to his children that frames the whole story as one of sacrificial parental love. Hosseini is a real artist, and the style of this book is amazing. Each chapter is a different part of a connected story told from a different character's point of view. He is able to write believably in many different voices. As with his other novels, this one gives a glimpse into a country (Afghanistan) we would otherwise be hard pressed to know much about on this side of the world.
One week, seven books. Several of those books were recommended by my newest book-loving friend, Ann M. One was a gift from Bethany F. I was able to borrow several electronically from my old library in Virginia, which is a great way for missionaries to read current literature. I bought the first and the last and am glad I did, they are worth it. A book a day at the beach is pretty much my definition of a great rest.
Previously this summer I read two books which were both written by different missionary colleagues here at Kijabe (both left in July for good, after longish terms of service). I'll mention those two here as well, since I rarely review books on the blog.
Harry Kraus is a surgeon from Virginia who spent the last several years working at Kijabe. He has written a slew of books in a genre I have heard described as "medical realism meets Christian romance." They feature doctors, with page-turning fast-moving plots, mysteries that turn on a medical detail, and characters that struggle with spiritual dilemmas. This one though is unique, because it is actually SET IN KIJABE. Some of the details are recognizable lore from this place, but he weaves a fascinating plot involving witchcraft and politics and corruption. Fun read for those of us who live here, and worth reading for others.
Steve and Nancy Peifer moved to Kenya more than a decade ago, intending a year filling in as dorm parents to provide space for healing from the loss of a baby with Trisomy 18. Instead they stayed on and on, taught French and Driver's Ed and did College guidance counseling, adopted orphaned Kenyan twins, and eventually started a program to provide needy Kenyan schools with food for kids' lunches and solar-powered computer centers that have touched the lives of thousands and thousands of kids. What makes this book a treat is that Steve writes with Dave Barry-like humor and self-deprecating honesty, always giving credit to God and to others. This is a book about GRACE in the life of an ordinary family who did something extraordinary in God's hands. A definite must-read.
If those aren't enough, I bought for my kids Orson Scott Card's Gate Thief/Mither Mages series (only 2 so far, very good, but more of mid-late teen to adult level), Andrew Peterson's Wingfeather Sagas (haven't read but Julia devoured them), and Josh Trott's Illumen's children (fantasy with a Christian allegorical bent, excellent). And for Scott, A Rumor of War, which I haven't read yet. So the total book consumption at the beach was considerable.