Since I have had some time on my hands, I’ve been catching up on some reading. There has been some work-related/professionally-leaning non-fiction in the mix, such as How to Fly a Horse, and Customers Included—both excellent reads. Mostly, I’ve been reading African-themed books.
I finished West with the Night, Beryl Markham’s autobiography. I really wanted to like it. Everything about the book and about Beryl Markham seemed as though it should make for a great story. A non-conformist and ahead of her time, she was one of the first bush pilots in Africa and she was the first pilot to fly non-stop, east to west across the Atlantic from England to North America. Sadly, she was a better pilot than story teller.
The book wasn’t written well. It could have used a solid editor to guide Markham on what elements would have made for a more interesting read. Even the salacious bits were boring.
Meanwhile, I am about one-third of the way through Circling the Sun, a fictionalized account of Markham’s life. There is plenty of truth in the story. As I compare sections of each book, I can see the areas that take creative license and the areas that are fact (only expressed so much better). I am absolutely loving this book!
The other book I’m reading is Exile, by Jakob Ejersbo. The book, about growing up as an ex-pat in Tanzania, is the first in a triology. It’s an interesting book and I like it. But, I’ve been reading it off and on. It will only hold my interest for a while. I’ll read, put it down, and then pick it back up again, say a week later. I’ll get right back into it, but only for a little while before I put it back down again. It hasn’t captured me the way Circling the Sun has.
After Circling the Sun and after I finish Ejersbo’s Africa Trilogy (Exile, Revolution, and Liberty), I’d like to read some work by African authors. The fact that all the books on my list have been by and/or about ex-pats hasn’t escaped me. I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t know of many writers from Africa.
I’ll need to change that. I’ll post again once I’ve got my next reading list ready. It won’t be African themed; it’ll be African.