NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!

Lezlie



Tuesday, January 27, 2009

WHAT IS THE WHAT

by Dave Eggers



Sudanese civil war refugee Valentino Achak Deng tells the harrowing story of his life in Africa, his years in refugee camps and realizing his dream of coming to America.

One of the many things I love about books is how they mean not only different things to different people, but how they can mean different things to the same person depending on when it is read and what is going on in that person's life at that moment in time. What Is the What is a book that has the ability to speak to the reader in a hundred different ways, all of them containing lessons in courage, acceptance, and perseverance. It can make you wary of strangers, and it can make you want to reach out to them. It can make you thankful to live in your own country, and it can make you see your country's flaws. It can make you hug your loved ones tight and never let go, and it can make you happy to set them free. It can make you comfortable in your own skin, it can make you squirm with doubt, and it can make you want to reach for forgotten hopes. But don't only reach up. Reach deep.



Also reviewed by:
Tip Of The Iceberg

18 comments:

Andi said...

I started this one a while back, and I was really impressed with the part I read, but life got in the way, yadda yadda (same old story). In short, I really need to pick it back up!

joanna said...

You really have a beautiful way with words Lezlie. Maybe it's time to write your own book! :-)

Lezlie said...

Andi ~ I was unsure about this one at first, because he chose what I thought was at first an odd method of advancing the story. Once I just went with it instead of trying to figure out "why", I loved it. I hope you get the chance to get back to it!

Joanna ~ Thank you so, so much! I would love to write one of those "books about books" one day. I think about it all the time. That possibility was a big driver in starting my blog.

Lezlie

Nymeth said...

What a lovely review, Lezlie. I agree, books can mean different things to the same person at different times. I loved everything I've read by Eggers and I need to pick this up!

Joy said...

I have this on my iPod - ready and waiting. Thanks for the encouragement.

Lezlie said...

Thank you, Nymeth! This was my first Eggers book, and I would like to try others. Any suggestions?

Joy ~ I listened to this on audio also, and the reader made it even more enjoyable. Is yours read by Dion Graham? He was great!

Lezlie

Charley said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this. I liked it, too. I started to read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, but I didn't get far. I'd like to pick it up again, because I enjoyed what I read, but it wasn't a fast read for me, so I always ended up reading other books.

Lezlie said...

Charley ~ It had to grow on me a little at first, but I did end up liking it a lot. I'd like to read another of his this year and Heartbreaking Work was one that I've been considering. I wonder if I can get it on unabridged CD. It makes slower works easier! :-)

Lezlie

Ladytink_534 said...

I'm impressed! It sounds like a neat book!

Lezlie said...

Ladytink ~ It is! :-)

Lezlie

Terri B. said...

I read this title last year as part of bookclub and was really moved. I didn't know much about the happenings in Sudan until reading this novel. Nice review, Lezlie!

Lezlie said...

Thanks, Terri! This was my first up-close look at that conflict, too. It's so hard to see what people do to each other sometimes. I can't imagine living in that kind of unstable atmosphere.

Lezlie

bermudaonion said...

I just bought this book and look forward to reading it.

Lezlie said...

Bermudaonion ~ I can't wait to see your thoughts on it!

Lezlie

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

What is the What was one of my most favorite reads from 2008 and I think everybody should read it! AND it's being made into a movie. That should be interesting.

Lezlie said...

Natasha ~ It would definitely be worthy of "required reading" status, in my opinion. I didn't know they were making a movie of it. I would think it would be difficult to capture the same feel and focus of the book, which I suppose is why most of us prefer a book over its movie version. :-)

Lezlie

Terri B. said...

I linked to your review over at my place.

Lezlie said...

Thanks, Terri! I am returning the favor!

Lezlie