South Louisiana based book enthusiast who enjoys all things bookish and delicious. 

A Moonless, Starless Sky by Alexis Okeowo

A Moonless, Starless Sky by Alexis Okeowo

The lovely team from Hatchette Books sent me this gorgeous copy of A Moonless, Starless Night:  Ordinary Women and Men Fighting Extremism in Africa. I had high hopes for this one as it followed the stories of four people in modern Africa trying to make a difference:  a young couple who were kidnap victims of the LRA, a Mauritanian activist fighting against modern day slavery, a Somalian girls basketball team struggling for their right to play while receiving constant death threats from Muslim extremists and a government worker who starts a vigilante group demandingjustice against Boko Harem.   All of these story lines are things that are of great interest to me and I always jump at the chance to read anything pertaining to any of these topics.  But I must say, this one missed the mark for me.

I have great respect for anyone who places themselves in the front lines of these types of situations, and I was eager to hear the stories as told from the voice of this esteemed Nigerian American journalist.  However,  I felt the tone and the feel of all of the stories was clinical and blunt, evoking very little empathy or emotion and the format of the book threw me a bit.  Each story is broken up individually and then divided again in to a "before" and "after"  which made the flow of each narrative choppy and difficult to follow.  I have read several stories regarding the atrocities that Kony and the LRA have committed and they have left me outraged, shocked and emboldened to take action.  I did not walk away from this work with that same feeling --  the passion and the urge to act upon the knowledge you were reading about just was not there. If you prefer your narrators to be more aloofwith a "just the facts" style of writing, then this is the book for you.  3 stars. 

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstances by Ruth Emmie Lang

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstances by Ruth Emmie Lang

Lincoln In the Bardo by George Saunders

Lincoln In the Bardo by George Saunders