Books, Books, Books

I’ve always read a lot. Since I was a little girl. I used to become so engrossed in books my parents had to take them out of my hands so I could join them at the dinner table. For the past several years I have set a reading challenge for myself on Goodreads and every year I surpass it. This year was no exception, except that I almost doubled my set goal!! I had several reading goals coming in to Peace Corps: 1) read about my country of service, 2) read general Peace Corps stories, 3) read a book from each of the countries that PC is currently serving and has served and, 4) read all the books on my Kindle that I downloaded during grad school. I’m making great progress in each of these areas! I also have a massive list of books I want to read (kept in an excel file, of course) and the PC Library has been very helpful.

Here are all the books I read this year and my rating for each one:


A Life Inspired: Tales of Peace Corps Service                                        4 stars

Everyday Life in the Muslim Middle East by Donna Lee Bowen       3 stars

Younger Than That Now by Michael Moran                                           2 stars

My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg                                                5 stars

The Conquest of Morocco by Douglas Porch                                          No rating


The Sand Child by Tahar ben Jelloun                                                                 3 stars

A Woman’s Passion for Travel: True Stories of World Wanderlust             3 stars

Understanding Arabs: A Guide for Modern Times by Margaret Nydell     4 stars

A House in Fez: Building a Life in the Ancient Heart of Morocco               4 stars


White Men Don’t Have Juju: An American Couple’s Adventure Through Africa     4 stars

Literacy, Culture and Development: Becoming Literate in Morocco                          2 stars

Caim by Jose Saramago                                                                                                        5 stars

The Last Woman Standing by Thelma Adams                                                                4 stars

Travels with a Tangerine: A Journey in the Footnotes of Ibn Battutah                    5 stars

America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray                                                                 5 stars


Year of the Elephant: A Moroccan Woman’s Journey Toward Independence       5 stars

The Unbroken Line of the Moon by Johanne Hildebrandt                                        5 stars

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith                                                    5 stars

Barkskins by Annie Proulx                                                                                                4 stars

A Year in the World: Journeys of a Passionate Traveller by Frances Mayes           4 stars

The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano                                                    1 star

The Secret Healer by Ellin Carsta                                                                                    2 stars

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett                                                                                    5 stars


The Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia by C.W. Gortner                        4 stars

Beyond the Veil: Male-Female Dynamics in Modern Muslim Society                                       by Fatema Mernissi                                                                                                         4 stars

Hidden Figures: The Untold True Story of Four African-American Women Who Helped Launch Our Nation into Space by Margot Lee Shetterly                                         5 stars

Medicis Daughter: A Novel of Marguerite de Valois by Sophie Perinot               4 stars

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert                                                      4 stars

The Tapestry by Nancy Bilyeau                                                                                    4 stars


How to Forgive…When You Don’t Feel Like It by June Hunt                                  1 star

An Anthology of Tashelhiyt Berber Folktales by H. Stroomer                              4 stars

Rumors by Anna Godbersen                                                                                        3 stars

Envy by Anna Godbersen                                                                                             3 stars

The Rose of Sebastopol by Katharine McMahon                                                     3 stars

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini                                                     5 stars

The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff                                                                 4 stars

The Guardian of Secrets and Her Deathly Pact by Jana Petken                           3 stars

The Gringo Brought His Mother! by Geneva Sanders                                            3 stars

And the Rest is History by Jodi Taylor                                                                       5 stars

The Negotiator: A Memoir by George J. Mitchell                                                    5 stars


The Undertaker’s Daughter by Kate Mayfield                          4 stars

Nirzona by Adibah El Khalieqy                                                   1 star


Guests of the Sheik: An Ethnography of an Iraqi Village                                                              by Elizabeth Warnock Fernea                                                       5 stars

Morocco Since 1830: A History by C.R. Pennell                         4 stars

The Queen of Katwe: A Story of Life, Chess and One Extraordinary Girl’s Dream of Becoming a Grandmaster by Tim Crothers                               5 stars

Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon                                     5 stars


The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain by Maria Rosa Menocal            4 stars

Living on the Edge: Fiction by Peace Corps Writers                4 stars

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League by Jeff Hobbs                                                        5 stars

House of Tears: Westerner’s Adventures in Islamic Lands    3 stars

The Birth Order Book: Why You are the Way You Are by Kevin Leman        3 stars

Lost Geography by Charlotte Bacon                                             3 stars

The Marvelous Misadventures of Ingrid Winter by J.S. Drangsholt               3 stars


Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan                                5 stars

Pirates: Myth vs Reality by Helen Hollick                                 4 stars

Matriarch: Queen Mary and the House of Windsor by Anne Edwards          5 stars

The Last Paradise by Antonio Garrido                                      4 stars

Never Eat Alone: An Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time                             by Keith Ferrazzi                                                                          3 stars

In the Shadow of Lakecrest by Eizabeth Blackwell               4 stars

An Introduction to Islam by David Waines                             2 stars

The Moroccan Women’s Rights Movement by Amy Evrard                           4 stars

The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean                          5 stars

The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory                           3 stars


The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain                                        4 stars

The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne                        5 stars

The Man Who Could Be King by John Ripin Miller               4 stars

All Strangers Are Kin: Adventures in Arabic and                                                                            the Arab World by Zora O’Neill                                                 5 stars

The Lioness of Morocco by Julia Drosten                                4 stars

Madam Belle: Sex, Money and Influence in a                                                                     Southern Brothel by Maryjean Wall                                       4 stars

Paradise Delayed – Our New Lives in the Wild. Caribbean Island Life in the Beautiful Archipelago of Bocas del Toro, Panama by Ian Usher         3 stars

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen                                5 stars


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas                                          5 stars

Beneath the Wall by Eryn LaPlant                                          3 stars

Nine Hills to Nambonkaha: Two Years in the Heart of                                                              an African Village by Sarah Erdman                                      5 stars

Out of Mao’s Shadow: The Struggle for the Soul of a New China by Philip P. Pan 5 stars

Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China by Jung Chan 5 stars

The Map Thief by Michael Blanding 5 stars

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer 5 stars

Beautiful Tempest (Malory Family #12) by Johanna Lindsey 5 stars

Service Disrupted: My Peace Corps Story by Tyler E. Lloyd 5 stars

The goal I set for myself was 40 for the year. As of today, I’ve read 74 with 2 more to be completed soon. Four and Five star rated books are highly recommended. The big question now is what should my goal be for 2018??  Gonna sign off now so I can go read some more …..

**UPDATE: I doubled my goal. As of the morning of December 31, 2017, I read 80 books! I think I need sleep now.

About alicrain

Wanderlust. Adventurer. Mom. Mentor. Change Agent. Crazy. Servant Leader. Citizen of the World These are all words that describe me - or have been used to describe me. There are many more but we won't get in to those. What is important to know is that at the age of 45, after having a successful career and raising a son, I decided I needed a new challenge and adventure in my life. So I joined the Peace Corps. Portions of this blog were written before this time and chronicle my life during graduate school (again, something I did in my 40s). During my service in Morocco (September 2016 - December 2018) I chronicled my daily life and all it entailed to live as an American female in another country. this is a place for me to capture random thoughts and share my life's journey
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