Sunday, February 20, 2011

Back to 30 Days -- Day 13 A Book I am Reading Now

I know, technically I should be writing about Day 21 or 22, however, I'm writing in dog years and it is Day 13.  I simply did not want to detract from the incredible accomplishment last weekend of Adrien and his Olympic win.  I wrote the piece for the blog and then wrote a piece for Tell Me About Africa.   I also wrote a marketing proposal for Banque Populaire du Rwanda and a media kit for the team.  Priorities in "team writing" trump the mundane musings about my days.  

That being said, Day 13.....

I have, for the most part, always been a reader.  I am sure there were days in Honors English in high school when we had to read War and Peace in two weeks, that I condemned reading for the time sucker I felt it was.  I was 17, had multiple music and sports activities, straight A student and held down a part time job to put fuel in my car to get to all my activities.  Seriously, time for War and Peace?  I "Cliffed" it like I did 80% of the books required for Honors English.  Someday I will get the reading list from Mrs. Turk's AP English class at Shawnee Mission South and read the classics I should have read 25 years ago.  Except Austen and Bronte, I simply would rather sit through an African dictator's three hour self aggrandizement speech in their native African tongue then read either of those authors.   Old school "chick lit" is all I think about when beginning anything written by these two.  Sorry Mrs. Bean and my Vegas book club women. 

So what do I read?  Anything I can get my hands on for the most part.  Since moving to Africa two years ago and being without TV for the first time in my life I have found a vast amount of time to read.  Funny how that goes.  If you find yourself making the excuse, "I don't have time to read" turn off the TV.  We are all guilty of that oh so mindless, guilty pleasure.  I also read multiple books at all times and it all places.  I always carry a book with me and even have a book or two on my iPhone to read in the event I get stuck in a bad spot of Nairobi traffic.  

Currently this is what is in my daily read rotation:

Every morning I start with a daily devotion in Oswald Chambers, "My Utmost for His Highest".  This man of God died in 1917 in his early forties of a ruptured appendix.  His wife assembled all of his writings into this book and 39 others.  It is interesting to me how "timely" his writings from almost 100 years ago are for me today.  They are short daily devotions that cover a myriad of topics.  Today's devotion was, The Initiative Against Dreaming.  

Dreaming about a thing in order to do it properly is right; but dreaming about it when we should be doing it is wrong.

How many of us are guilty of that?  I want that new job, I want to travel, I want to give my kids more time, I want to pursue my dream of owning my own business....BUT....God doesn't want to hear your "buts".

I am also reading the Bible in a year long reading program.  It's straightforward.  I read several chapters each day.  When I started in September I began in Lamentations and went through the new testament.  I did have a lapse of about a month during the Tour of Rwanda and my trip to Zanzibar but I have picked it back up and read daily.  I finished Numbers today.  Leviticus was brutal.  I thank God every day for sending his Son to die for our sins because if he didn't I would be out daily looking for bulls, goats, sheep and doves to slaughter for my sins.  It would be a full time vocation of atonement and sacrificing!  The first four books of the Bible are not easy reading but I have found my favorite verse which I latched onto during some bumpy times.  

Exodus 14:14  The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.

I have always had a bit of a problem with the "still" part.  

Of course in my rotation at all times is some book on Africa, history or African History.  I just picked up Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux, a noted travel writer.
I'm in trouble with this is about his travels from Cairo to Cape Town via various modes of transportation from bus, to canoe to train.  In the first chapter, Lighting Out, Theroux pines for the anonymity of travel through Africa.  He wanted to drop out.  "Africa is one of the last great places on earth a person can vanish into.  I wanted that."

This is a very scary book for me at the moment as I face the prospect of living in the US from April until ?  THAT scares me.  I miss Africa every day.  I miss the craziness, the stories, the people, the wide open spaces and the crush of the crowds.  The reason I picked up this book is to keep me connected and to also keep the dream alive in me to someday drive me own motorcycle from Egypt to South Africa.  

Then I have my mindless, entertaining reads that I use as my own personal Ambien.  I cannot read books like Theroux's before I go to sleep otherwise, I'd never sleep and would be up scanning maps, figuring out my finances and signing up for motorbike classes in the deserts around Las Vegas to secure my license and gain some skill for my epic dream trip.

For this purpose I was reading and just finished, Left Neglected by Lisa Genova. 

Left Neglected is the story of a mid thirties career woman and mother of three who has a car accident and suffers a traumatic brain injury that results in her inability to use her left side.  Her vision is intact, however, her brain cannot "see" anything to her left.  In the book, prior to her accident the pace of her life is frenetic.  The pace of the writing makes the reader actually feel the pace of the protagonist's life.  This was my life before Africa.  Enough was never enough, time was always running short and I worked non stop at the expense of my relationships.  Near the end of the book, as she has struggled to come to terms with the realization she will never be the preaccident Sarah again, she states, "Maybe success can be something else, and maybe there's another way to get there.   Maybe there's a different road for me with a more reasonable speed limit."  I couldn't agree more....

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