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Making this group useful part II

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message 1: by Kathy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:10PM) (new)

Kathy | 3 comments Mod
So let's get a discussion going....

What has been your favorite/most influential (or both) book that you've read in-country so far? Why?

p.s. I like your thinking, Eric and Kimberly...

message 2: by Adam (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:12PM) (new)

Adam | 1 comments Its impossible to narrow it down to just one book. Different books have influenced me in different ways but there are a few that stand out as being most influential to me...

Guns,Germs, and Steel and Colapse, in concert, create a breathtaking account of the development of human societies with a scope and depth I've yet to see in any other work on nonfiction.

Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope, while not truely great works of literature have nonetheless been personally very influential and my main man Obama has played a huge role in me deciding to pursue my MPA and a career as a public servant. So they have honestly and sincerely changed my life.

Just for fun and the sheer joy of literary prose it doesnt get much better than Tim O'Brien's In the Lake of the Woods, Herman Hesse's Damien, or Miguel De Cervantes' Don Quixote!

There you have it, my favorite books in country so far.

message 3: by Matt (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:12PM) (new)

Matt | 1 comments Yea, "Germs, Guns and Steel" put a face to some of the things that I see in village every day. That's kind of a strange thing to say, given that "Germs" is regarded as a history book.

I read and really enjoyed "Great Expectations" while living here, and really got a lot out of it.

I'm finishing "A Brief History of Time" by Dr. Hawking. Will leave it in the Bamako Office this week (hopefully). A good read for any PCV looking for a good science (physics) read. I'm not particularly religeous; however, I feel that Dr Hawking does marvelous work in trying to understand (or atleast not discount) the role of a creator within in the order of a scientific universe. He really does a wonderful job writing about relativity and quantum theory in a laymans manner. Any above average person (like a PCV!) will have no troubles with his approach.

Cheers All!

message 4: by Kathy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:17PM) (new)

Kathy | 3 comments Mod
Okay, I'll respond to my own question...

"The End of Poverty" is definitely one of the most influential books I've read over here, because it introduced me into the economics of sustainable development. I don't necessarily agree with everything Sachs wrote, but nonetheless it pointed me down the path of going back to grad school and studying sustainable international development.

Both "Lonesome Dove" and "Angela's Ashes" were very entertaining and engrossing, although neither were life-changing.

"Cry, the Beloved Country" by Alan Paton was interesting to re-read here, because it focuses on the cultural changes in generations (although it's set in S. Africa).

And "Guns, Germs and Steel" is moving up on my to-read priority list now!!

message 5: by Eric (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:23PM) (new)

Eric (anderoy) | 5 comments Normally, I would just have to disagree with Adam just for the sake of disagreement; but this time I will go with him and the rest of you and give another notch to "Guns, Germs, and Steel." A very strong and informative argument.

"A Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems" by Fritjof Capra was the first book I read in Mali and was an incredible book evaluating what I would call "sustainable living." It discusses the present paradigm shift in Scientific thought and gives a positive glimpse into what's important in life. I have a copy of this book and would love to share it.

I would also have to add the book "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison not for any reason relating to Peace Corps, but for the simple fact that it is an amazing book. A fantastic evaluation of racial tension in the mid-20th century.

I might also add some various fantasy novels...but I'm afraid that no one would be interested.

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