The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
Personally, 2011 has been a wonderful book year! I always enjoy keeping track of what I’ve read, rating books, and sharing recommendations. Similar to Word Press’ daily post, goodreads encouraged readers to set a reading goal for 2011. Mine wasn’t as daring as other readers, but I completed and read beyond my goal. I’m now going to share my favorite books from 2011. These aren’t full book reviews, instead just mini highlights.
True this book was huge, but it’s been on my ‘to-read’ list for a very long time. I’ve always enjoyed the movie and since the book is normally better, I decided to conquer the book. Well, I can’t watch the movie anymore since it doesn’t give the book justice. There’s a little of everything: romance, revenge, suspense, murder, and more. The book took me about a month to read, but it was highly worth it. I also listened to the book, which added to the excitement.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
I would describe The Shadow of the Wind as a book lovers book. Many scenes are within an old bookstore where all the books have a soul. The book is full of suspense and mystery. I don’t want to share too much, but this is a book that I couldn’t put down and I was sad when it was finished.
A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron
Perhaps I was attracted to the book, since the black Labrador on the cover is similar to my own dog. The entire book is from the dog’s perspective how he tries to please his owners with a purpose. The book had me laughing aloud and crying. I enjoyed A Dog’s Purpose so much that I’ve already read it again. If you’re hesitant to read this book, since all dogs in dog books seem to die I’d reconsider this book. It has an interesting twist.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
This book is a coming of age story about a girl living in Brooklyn, New York. She experiences struggles and takes comfort in reading. She’s very curious about her world and wants to gain information.
Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland
This book takes place the turn of the twentieth century in New York City. It is the true story of a woman’s relationship with Louis Comfort Tiffany and stained glass.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
I first read this book, because my library had a community reads together. It is the true story about a young boy living in Malawi, who deals with poverty, famine, and daily struggles to survive. He’s forced to leave school, since his family can’t afford the tuition. He continues to read and learn from the library. He desires to help his family and community and creates a windmill to produce electricity. The story is very inspirational and makes you want to keep trying to reach your goals.
New Authors: A new and enjoyable author that I read this year is Lisa See. I read Shanghai Girls, Dreams of Joy, and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. Her books focus upon family relationships, historical fiction, and Chinese influences.
In 2011, I purchased a kindle and I never thought I would read from an electric device. I read about twenty books on my kindle, but I still enjoy ‘real’ books.
I also started this blog in the middle of 2011, which encouraged me to read more diverse books and write reviews. It gives me great pleasure to recommend books for others to enjoy. I’m always looking for new books, so please feel free to share your own recommendations. Hopefully, 2012 brings more wonderful books to enjoy!
by William Kamkwamba and Brian Mealer
Non-fiction, 288 pages
I really enjoyed this book and thought it was inspirational. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind was the selected book during the Tacoma Reads Together Program which started briefly after 9/11. The purpose was to bring the community together through events that hopefully lead into discussion. Other cities also began similar programs. I was lucky enough to attend a book talk with the author.
William Kamkwamba grew up in a small village in the struggling country of Malawi. Malawi is an African country known for its poverty, high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, food shortage, low life expectancy, and based with an agriculture economy. The book describes a boy who wanted to improve his family and village. Kamkwamba was forced to drop out of school, since his parents couldn’t pay the tuition. However, this didn’t stop him from learning and he constantly visited the library. There was a major food crisis and the book went into detail about death and daily struggles that people went through to get food. Kamkwamba was only 14 when he stumbled upon a book about electricity from wind power. Malawi’s strong wind charged Kamkwamba to design a windmill to harness the wind to provide electricity. Nobody understood what he was doing and thought he was going crazy, but nothing stopped him. He finally designed his windmill with various scrap metal, including a bicycle, and was able to light a bulb and power a radio. Journalist noticed the success and Kamkwamba gained positive recognition and traveled to the United States to share his story. He continues building windmills to help his village with water for irrigation and electricity. I highly recommend this book for everyone.
There are so many times when individuals may want to give up or become discouraged from struggles. Kamkwamba’s story was so inspirational and moving even when others continually told him that he was wasting his time. They told him he was wasting his time, because others didn’t understand his vision. His simple windmill vision improved his village. Keep your vision alive and strive through life’s challenges.
William Kamkwamba’s message: If you want to do it, all you have to do is try.