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