What I have just read

While I was reading Val’s blog, I noticed that she was reading The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton. I found the title fascinating because it brought back memories from childhood. Our neighbourhood bookmobile used to arrive every Tuesday without fail. After school, I would run home, collect my library books and head to the bookmobile. I loved my visits there. Nothing was better, to my mind, than arriving home with a new stack of books to devour.

The idea of a bookmobile by camel struck my imagination and I was delighted to discover that our library had The Camel Bookmobile. When the book arrived, I delved into it and rarely put it down until I reached the last page.

Set in Africa, The Camel Bookmobile is a fictional account based on a real camel bookmobile project that continues to travel to remote areas in Kenya. In this book, an idealistic librarian from New York signs on to work in the bookmobile project and learns much from her experiences.

There is a fascinating cast of characters, from the librarian, Fiona, to a young boy, Taban, who was badly scarred after a hyena attack, to a young girl, Kanika, and her grandmother, Neema, to a teacher, Matani, and to his wife, Jwahir. Then there is the library administrator who talks to his camel as if it was his mother.

For many of the bush people, the arrival of the camel bookmobile is greeted with great enthusiasm. Meanwhile, there are others who worry the books will fill the minds of the young people with ideas that will take them away from their heritage. For Fiona, who believes in the power of book learning, it is an eye-opening experience to come face-to-face with the realities of the people who are reading the books.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Camel Bookmobile, although it took me some time before I could keep the various characters in order. It provided much food for thought and just as Fiona realises, while books, learning and yearning for other experiences transforms lives, there is much also to be learned from truly connecting to people with different cultural experiences.

On a different note and one that has pre-occupied me today, it is election day in Saskatchewan and I am crossing my fingers that the currrent party in power is re-elected. It’s worrisome and I will be watching the election results tonight with bated breath!

I want to thank everyone who has been commenting on my posts – I love reading all your comments. Every comment is much appreciated and savoured!

14 thoughts on “What I have just read

  1. Hi Kate,My commenting hasn’t been good lately. Life’s been wild lately and I look forward to ready more blogs and more often. Your posts are always so well written and comforting.Mary

  2. How coincidental that I just finished a book and now need to find another to start reading. I will keep an eye out for this one. It sounds like a nice read.

  3. Thanks for sharing this book, sounds like one I would enjoy. Kind Regards, Gina :o)

  4. oh I love the story behind the story. This truly sounds like a book I’m going to have to look for at the library. I remember the bookmobile from when I was a kid but I always went to the old neighbourhood library. Now there’s a story (hmmm, I should do a blog entry on it — thanks for the idea!).Sorry about the election results. I watched the National tonight and saw that your wish didn’t come true.Again, I appreciate your great book recommendation.Warm regards from Alberta,Dianehttp://sandtoglass.blogspot.com/http://dogsnaturally.blogspot.com/

  5. This sounds an interesting book full of intriguing characters. Hope the elction results turned out right for you:)

  6. A bookmobile and by camel – it will come as no surprise to you to know that I love this idea, too.take care, g xo

  7. I will take note of this book for winter reading… The hours of darkness are lengthening and the air is growing cold; time to escape in the pages of books.

  8. Thanks for stopping by my blog…I thought I’d reciprocate. I’m a librarian and my mom was one as well – in fact, conincidentally enough, she used to be our regional ‘Bookmobile Lady’. Oh how she loved that job! I have a feeling I’ll be back here….

  9. Hi Kate, I’ll look for this book here, it seems to be very interesting. When I was little girl, ther was also a bookmobile and it was an hapiness every time it cames in town. I usualy was going in bycicle. Good memories!Tanks for share it with us.Cris

  10. I’ll add this to my book list. Sounds like an interesting story.I remember the using bookmobile when I first came to the US. I thought it was the greatest thing. These days I use the library. Don’t know if the book mobile still runs around here. My thoughts and feelings about the long winter ahead are very similar to yours. I have to consciously think happy thoughts :)I’d be smiling too at the thought of eating that delicious looking chocolate dessert. Nice picture 🙂

  11. Hi Kate! This book sounds really terrific. I’m going to check if my library has it too. Thanks for such a wonderful review of it!:)

  12. Mary – I’m glad to see you and I hope that things calm done for you soon!Teeni – This is a good book and I think you’d enjoy it. I found it hard to put down. Gina – It is worth the read. I really enjoyed it!Diane – Those bookmobile memories are good ones. It was a trek to the downtown library, so I was glad that we had the bookmobile stop in our neighbourhood. Now I have a small library about 2 blocks from me and I’m there regularly. I was pretty disappointed by the election results, but at least my party made a better showing than we thought it might. It’ll be interesting to see what happens here now. Rowan – The characters in this book were wonderfully developed in all their complexity. Pam – Thank goodness for books during the wintertime especially as the days grow shorter and the weather turns colder. Ruth – I hope you enjoy the book if you read it.Postcards – Now that is cool – your mum was a bookmobile librarian. There were always wonderful people who worked in the bookmobile. They made it an inviting place and gave good book suggestions. I remember one woman in particular who would remember the kinds of books I liked and kept some for me. It was wonderful. Cris – I’m glad my post brought back a good memory for you. Bookmobiles were pretty special things for us book lovers.Kerri – It was fun using the bookmobile – I especially remember the rickety metal stairs that were slick with ice in the winter. I have been making a concerted effort to think happy thoughts especially on dreary grey days. Chocolate helps always!Clare – This is definitely a book you would enjoy. It is well-worth reading!

  13. That book sounds good, I’ll have to check it out. My daughter had an author visit last year at school… a woman from Ethiopia who had set up a donkey bookmobile…

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