As a child, Amanda Lindhout escaped a violent household by paging through issues of "National Geographic" and imagining herself in its exotic locales. Read more...
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As a child, Amanda Lindhout escaped a violent household by paging through issues of "National Geographic" and imagining herself in its exotic locales. At the age of nineteen, working as a cocktail waitress in Calgary, Alberta, she began saving her tips so she could travel the globe. Aspiring to understand the world and live a significant life, she backpacked through Latin America, Laos, Bangladesh, and India, and emboldened by each adventure, went on to Sudan, Syria, and Pakistan. In war-ridden Afghanistan and Iraq she carved out a fledgling career as a television reporter. And then, in August 2008, she traveled to Somalia--"the most dangerous place on earth." On her fourth day, she was abducted by a group of masked men along a dusty road.
Held hostage for 460 days, Amanda converts to Islam as a survival tactic, receives "wife lessons" from one of her captors, and risks a daring escape. Moved between a series of abandoned houses in the desert, she survives on memory--every lush detail of the world she experienced in her life before captivity--and on strategy, fortitude, and hope. When she is most desperate, she visits a house in the sky, high above the woman kept in chains, in the dark, being tortured.
Vivid and suspenseful, as artfully written as the finest novel, "A House in the Sky" is the searingly intimate story of an intrepid young woman and her search for compassion in the face of unimaginable adversity.
A captive finds hope in the struggle
In August 2008, Amanda Lindhout was kidnapped by Somali militants and held for ransom. It was 460 days before she and her Australian companion Nigel Brennan were released. A House in the Sky, written with Sara Corbett, is her account of what she endured—and how she endured it. It’s a powerful story of captivity, survival and human resilience, told with honesty and clarity and without tabloid-esque hype. Amanda puts herself in context—her rough childhood in rural Canada, her years of backpacking in more than 50 countries, the desire to make it as a photojournalist that led to her naive, dangerous decision to go to Mogadishu. As reality becomes a living hell, she maintains her sanity by going inside herself, rallying strength from the good she had known, and finding a deeper humanity than she knew she had. Hearing Amanda’s voice as she reads makes it all more immediate, more moving and more redemptive.
MOTHERS, SISTERS, SLAVES
The Wedding Gift, Marlen Suyapa Bodden’s compelling debut novel, is set on an antebellum Alabama plantation where cruelty and unwanted intimacies were the norm. The intertwined stories are told by Sarah, a slave and the illegitimate daughter of plantation owner Cornelius Allen, and Theodora, Allen’s genteel, long-suffering wife and mother of Clarissa, Sarah’s half-sister, with whom Sarah grows up and to whom she is given as a wedding present. Their separate strivings for freedom and dignity twist into a suspenseful spiral with a jolting finale. Jenna Lamia’s and January LaVoy’s nuanced narration validate these women and their tales.
TOP PICK IN AUDIO
If you’re steeped in New Testament scholarship and the “quest for the historical Jesus,” much of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, Reza Aslan’s best-selling, much-discussed biography, may not be as riveting as it is for the rest of us. Aslan’s account focuses on Jesus the man, the illiterate Jew from a tiny Galilean village who called on his brethren to fight the Roman occupation and corrupt Jewish Temple priests. He was one of many first-century Palestinian “messiahs” proclaiming the “end of days” and the coming of the Kingdom of God, and one of many who were crucified for sedition. Whether or not you agree with Aslan’s intriguing interpretation of what the gospels, Paul’s epistles and the few historical references yield, Zealot provides a full-color, cinematic picture of tumultuous first-century Jewish life, full of opression and rebellion. As good a reader as he is a writer, Aslan’s narration is well-paced and provocative.