Update (3.5.15): I went back and filled in this list as best as I could (I know I missed a few). In total I read 78 books during my time in Senegal! Plus I read the Bible cover to cover in 2014 with another volunteer (most of that was while I was in Senegal). Some of my best memories are reading some of these books in one day: serious accomplishment!

Below is a list of books I have read/am reading in Senegal.


Chocolat, Joanne Harris

The Rules of Attraction, Bret Easton Ellis

In the Garden of Beasts, Erik Larson

When Calls the Heart, Janette Oke

The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom

Stoner, John WIlliams

The Sugar Queen, Sarah Addison Allen

The Like and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, BIll Bryson

Someday, Someday, Maybe, Lauren Graham

The Defining Decade, Meg Jay

Sula, Toni Morrison

The Mermaid Chair, Sue Monk Kidd

The Financial Lives of the Poets, Jess Walter

The Unbareable Lightness of Being, Milan Kudnera

Superfreakanomics, Levitt and Dubner

Forgotten Girls, Storm and Rickett

The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery

Running with Scissors, Augusten Burroughs

Fall on Your Knees, Ann Marie Mac Donald

Day After Night, Anita Diamant

Little Bee, Chris Cleave

Freakonomics, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

What is the What, Dave Eggers

Ishmael, Daniel Quinn

There’s no Toile Paper.. on the Road Less Traveled, Edited by Doug Lansky

Scarlet Song, Mariama Ba

What Girls Learn, Karin Cook

Girls Night In

The Winter Palace, Eva Stachniak

One Thousand White Women, Jim Fergus

Paris to the Moon, Adam Gopnik

The Madonnas of Leningrad, Debra Dean

So Long a Letter, Mariama Ba

Love, Life, and Elephants, Dame Daphne Sheldrick

The Beans of Egypt, Main, Carolyn Chute

Eleven Minutes, Paulo Coelho

Blood of the Prodigal, P.L. Gaus

Flight Behavior, Barbara Kingsolver

Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe

On the Road, Jack Kerouac

The Last Days of Dogtown, Anita Diamant

Sometimes a Great Notion, Ken Kesey



The Lady of the Rivers, Philippa Gregory

One Day, David Nicholls

The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain

Searching for God Knows What, Donald Miller

The Bookseller of Kabul, Åsne Seierstad

The Chronicals of Narnia, C.S. Lewis

In a Sunburned Country, Bill Bryson

Welcome to the Monkey House, Kurt Vonnegut

The Best American Travel Writing 2010, Edited by: Bill Buford

Born to Run, Christopher McDougall

The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis

Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese

The Places in Between, Rory Stewart

The true account of a man walking through the mountains of Afghanistan shortly after the fall of Taliban rule. Written in daily accounts, the author doesn’t romanticize the difficulty of his walk, in physical demand and in dealing with people along the way. Again, I am loving reading things that make living in a hut in Senegal seem easy, at least less physically demanding.

Daughters of Fortune, Isabel Allende

Again, I am a sucker for historical fiction, but this book gave a new spin on a historical event I know “alot” about. Beginning in Chile in the mid  1800s the book covers multiple love stories, family drama, class distinctions, and individual complacency. Then, with the discovery of gold in California the characters change scenery, problems, and identities in the “wild” hills of California. Reading about my hometown, though not mentioned specifically as “Placerville” made me miss home. But I loved reading about the Gold rush from a totally new perspective!

Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), Mindy Kaling

I love the honesty that Kaling approaches her insecurities, and the humor she brings to even the most bland stories in her life. I also appreciate that the book is not very crude compared to similiar comedic autobiographies. Also a plus, it can be read while on a loud bus in the heat of the day, cant do that with Virginia Woolf!

Running the Rift, Naomi Benaron

So I have to take a minute to tell basically everyone I know to read this book. It is fiction and reads easily, but the content: a coming of age story of an olympic bound 800 runner in Rwanda gives an excellent human perspective on the hutu-tutsi conflict.

The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis

The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin

Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis

Daughter of Joy (Brides of Culdee Creek Series), Kathleen Morgan

Christian fiction set in Colorado late 1800s. Im a sucker for historical fiction, and after reading this book I am eager to download the rest of the series! For christian non-fiction it felt very REAL dealing with issues such as forgiveness, trust, temptation. But of course totally entertaining in that love story in hard circumstances kind of way

Homeland, Barbara Kingsolver

I have to admit, I like Kingsolver’s true short stories best, novels second, and short stories third. But as a fan of all things Kingsolver I still myst recommend it! I also liked reading about her male main characters, which was a nice change.

Jewball, Neal Pollack

Historical fiction about real people. A little (ok, alot- mom you probably shouldnt read it) crude, but a captivating novel about a different side of pre/during WWII anti-semitism in the U.S. and basketball.

The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom

Amazing, Corrie’s faith is inspiring. She makes living in a hut in Africa seem like cake compared to what she went through. But instead of feeling guilty I was inspired by her families ability to love people no matter what, and trust and thank God in ALL circumstances.

The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East, Sandy Tolan

Hey dad! look who reads non-fiction too! Excellent personal/human story about current and historical conflicts in Israel.

Cry, the Beloved Country, Alan Paton

The Pact, Jodi Picoult

This book was about as much thriller as I can handle. There are a few mysteries but mostly it is the complicated love story of two 17 year olds that grow up together, dated, than had a suicide pact that goes awry. I read all 500 pages in less than 24 hours, but that had more to go with being sick than anything else. It is riveting and I’d recommend it if you are looking for something to occupy some time.

Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier

Great Short Stories by American Women, edited by Candace Ward

Excellent. Included less known short stories by authors I had read better known books: Louisa May Alcott and Willa Cather, as well as some well known short stores “The Yellow Wallpaper.” The subject matter runs the gamete: domestic problems to racial issues to “finding yourself” as a young person. Each story is pregaces with a short author bio. An excellent intro to some authors I now want to read more from!

Wild at Heart, John Eldredge

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

A classic, I couldn’t even recommend it properly if I tried. The truth is I have owned this in paperback for years but never had the patience to go through it. While reading about british “high society” feels weird in Africa, it puts me in a different place which can feel really good sometimes. I plan on reading through the rest of her novels while I am here.

Life Without Limits, Chrissie Wellington

This was seriously an amazing book, and excellent timing for me to read it here in Senegal. Chrissie tells her adult life story, from post college to winning her most recent Ironman World Championships, including the ups and downs of figuring out “what you want to do with your life” as a 20 something. This book hit me in the perfect place and at the perfect time, because it recounts her life working for an NGO overseas, and the extents she went to to bike and run simply because she LOVE to and couldn’t think of life without those things. I would highly recommend it to pretty much anyone, but especially for my triathlete friends. Her detailed accounts of racing made me cry realizing how much I miss my triathlon family in San Luis Obispo and how racing (running and triathlon) have been a huge part of my life.

AWOL on the Appalachian Trail, David Miller

So a middle aged man quits his unfulfilling job and takes 5 months to complete the Appalachian Trail. I’ve never been to Appalachia and I loved hearing about all the small towns along the trail and of course the interesting people you meet when through hiking. Also, this reminded me that there are all sorts of “tough” things you can do in life. Living in Africa is one, hiking for 5 months straight is another. And as it turns out, when you are hiking you are more often hungry, dirty, and hurt than in Africa. But I would definitely recommend this one, especially to my Dad!!

Grace Unexpected, Gale Martin

Chick lit, plain and simple, my mom will understand, every thing you read cant be insightful and thought-provoking, sometimes reading has to be like watching bad TV.

Captivating, John and Stasi Eldredge

The Stranger on the Road to Emmanus, John R. Cross


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