Friday, November 27, 2015

A House in the Sky - Not Your Average Memoir

I've read a few memoirs in the last couple of years.  But they've all been associated with the RBC.  In fact, since we began the book club in January of 2014, we have had the following memoirists appear at our meetings:

Katie Hafner - Mother, Daughter, Me
Nate Jackson - Slow Getting Up
Joshua Safran - Free Spirit:  Growing Up on the Road and off the Grid
Betty Auchard - The Home for the Friendless

A House in the Sky is the 1st memoir I've read in a very long time where I didn't know the author.  And I have to say that this was a tough one to read.  Amanda Lindhout was kidnapped in August, 2008 and held captive for 460 days by Islamist extremists in Somalia. It is an unbelievable story.  Do you remember The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls? Child's play!  

There is so much that goes on that I really need to avoid giving any details away.  Here's what I will say about Amanda:

1.  She shows amazing strength and resolve.
2.  She gives us insight into the minds of Islamist extremists.
3.  She vividly remembers details of her captivity (details that I'm sure she would have 
     preferred to forget!)
4.  She doesn't let this experience stop her from continuing to travel the world.
5.  She takes an incredibly sour lemon and turns it into the sweetest lemonade. 

To elaborate on #5:  Amanda founded the Global Enrichment Foundation, a non-profit that is dedicated to "development, aid, and education initiatives in Somalia and Kenya."  How's that for taking an incredibly difficult experience and turning it into something that benefits mankind.  Good for her.

COMING ATTRACTIONS:  Tonight I made my 1st visit to Bell's Books in downtown Palo Alto.  It's been in the exact same spot on Emerson Street, and in the same family, for 80 years!  In the near future, I will interview the owner and post it on my blog along with a bunch of pictures.  The place looks and smells like an old-school bookstore - and that's a high compliment.

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