Oprah’s 10 terrific reads for 2009 showcase diversity and travel

Regardless of what one thinks of Oprah, it’s hard to argue that the woman doesn’t have her thumbprint on some mighty great stuff. Her “10 Terrific Reads for 2009,” for example, is filled with suggestions that capture the flavor of travel, adventure and diversity. Many of them are about people from one country who have been brought to another by life’s circumstances or their drive to explore.

If you read these 10 books, I’d say you’ll have a thought-provoking and enlightening journey through certain parts of the world, particularly Africa. Before you head out on your next journey, pick up one of these and pass it on.

Here are the 10 books with the countries that provide the setting or settings. For a summary of each book, click each title.

  • The Bolter, Frances Osborne–Kenya (Great Britain connection)
  • Dreaming in Hindi, Katherine Russel Rich–India (U.S. connection)
  • Little Bee, Chris Cleve–Great Britain (Nigeria connection)
  • Blame, Michelle Huneven–U.S. (This one doesn’t have a cross-cultural component but is compared to Sand and Fog which is one of the best novels showing cross-cultural connections gone wrong that I’ve ever read.)
  • Losing Mum and Pup, Christopher Buckley–U.S. (Another without a cross-cultural component, but loss of parents is cross-cultural and Buckley’s dad, William F. Buckley certainly had a lot of opinions about the world.)
  • Zeitoun, Dave Eggers–U.S. (Syrian connection) I met Dave Eggers. He’s as wonderful in person as his writing reflects. Truly splendid. I’m buying this one.
  • Say You’re One of Them, Uwem Akpan–Kenya and Rwanda. Akpan is a Nigerian writer.
  • Some Things that Meant the World to Me, Joshua Mohr–U.S. Part of this novel takes place in Home Depot in San Francisco. Doesn’t the bring up an unusual mix of images?!
  • The Invisible Mountain, Carolina De Robertis–South America. The reading guide mentions Argentina.
  • Strength in What Remains:A Journey of Remembrance and Forgiveness, Tracy Kidder–Burundi and U.S.