Read: Zlata’s Diary

Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Wartime Sarajevo: Revised Edition, by Zlata Filipović

What is the meaning of life? Why do we read nonfiction, feel the pain, and yet we continue to read nonfiction?

A dear friend of mine (actually, we refer to each other as ‘soul sisters’) is from Serbia, but unfortunately we never got to talk much about the war while we were hanging out together (we have weekend bookish excursions at a place called Bookworm, at Sanlitun), living and working as expats in a foreign country once upon a decade ago. But what I do know is that she feels deeply ashamed of the war, doesn’t quite want to discuss it unless invoked, and that she wish this war never had to happen.

There aren’t many books out there on this war that’s written from a child’s perspective. Thus, if you’re looking for something similar, you should grab this book.

Read: An Ordinary Man

You should read this before watching Hotel Rwanda (in case you planned to watch it). It would be wrong to use the cliché, “the book’s always better than the movie”, because this isn’t a just a book. This is historically disturbing. This is heavy. Very heavy. Graphic, even.

If you’re clueless about Rwanda’s history, this is the book to begin with (I have read more or less 7-8 books on the subject matter). The author delved a bit deeper into the history of the tribes, mentioning life during his forefathers time and also life with neighbors of different tribes. Unlike other accounts I’ve read, the author also wrote somewhat intensively about the roles played by the radio stations, the build up on how ignorance and hatred was turned into propaganda, and from propaganda into a 100-days bloodbath.

Many parts of Africa and the Middle East are still at war, tribal or religious. Asia is not spared. Recommended reading for everyone. Appreciate what you have and never take anything for granted.

Read: Left To Tell

This book, if judged from the cover, screams religion. “Discovering God”, the cover states. But it wasn’t the case, at least not for me (Kenneth Bae’s book was one that was a bit too much for me). Recommended reading for all.