Travelling the World with Books

A blog in which I describe a literary project to Travel the World with Books. I will include synopsis's of the books, historical context, conversations with my reading partner and my thoughts on the books. Feel free to comment any thoughts or recommendations for foreign books I can read.


3. 1st April 2018

Currently Reading

Last entry I mentioned the book I am Malala whilst talking about House of the Mosque, and this is the book I am currently reading. When the book came out a few years ago, after the whole world had just watched the events unfold, it was bought for my sister. At the time I wasn’t old enough to read and understand it but the book was kept on a shelf and now that I am old enough I’m really enjoying it. Though it is more an autobiography than a novel (so slightly outside our project’s parameters), this story has completely captured me - I am on track to completing it in a week, and if you’ve seen the size of it, then you’ll understand that that is pretty fast. I think I just like hearing about people’s lives and their experiences. I always thought that throughout our lives we amass so much wisdom, knowledge and understanding of life, and all that to goes to waste once we die if it isn’t written down. I also think that not using the resource of other people’s life learnings is also a waste. My enjoyment of biographical items is evident beyond reading I am Malala. I also recently enjoyed a documentary about the life of Ingrid Bergman, the famous 20th century actress called ‘in her own words’. This really struck a chord for me because hearing the words from her diaries combined with the images from her life taught me about growing up and the challenges life presents. Though I’m not a Swedish woman who has had three husbands and acts for a living, and never will be, part of my philosophy is that we can learn something from anything. So back to Malala - the book covers her life from birth to her late teens. She shows us the beauty of her home, Swat Valley, and the strong outspoken character of her father. Then we see the struggles of financing a girl’s school and standing up against sexism legitimized by religion. Next Malala retells how the Taliban slowly infiltrated their valley until they had enough power to stop having to act nice. The army then turn up, yet don’t seem to do much and no-one is sure which side they are really on. Natural disasters hit and the situation continues to deteriorate until the school is shut and the valley is evacuated. Eventually they return to a Taliban-less valley but soon realise that the extremists were still there, hiding and just picking off outspoken individuals. This eventually becomes Malala and, in the most famous part of the story, she is shot. I am currently reading the final section which describes her miraculous recovery in an English hospital. Again, this life story is far from my own but there is a lot to learn from it: one must stand up for what they believe, no matter the cost; keeping your head down and accepting what comes onto you never got anyone anywhere; we are all equal. It also is making me reflect on my situation in life. If you guys have read my story ‘Stretch’ you will know I had a very hard time at school, leading to my exit from the system around three (four in September) years ago. The idea that I am lucky enough to have a better (for me) learning environment to one that thousands of children don’t have feels odd. Like I can say nah to a luxury that many don’t have. But then I must remember not to compare - everyone has a different life situation and you just got to make the best of yours. That’s what I’m doing and that is what Malala did.

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