Dear Mom, Take 2

You asked me to update you if any of the books I’m reading “for the foreign service” struck me as particularly interesting.  And I’m telling you to go buy this book or make your book club read it because it was phenomenal.  Because it’s true, I’d even recommend it before Harry Potter and the Hunger Games.  And that says a lot, coming from me.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William Kamkwamba

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Holy guacamole, this book is amazing. Not only was I, understandably, astounded by William Kamkwamba’s ingenious techniques, capability for understanding what to me is complete science mumbo-jumbo, and his creativity, but I was constantly impressed by his humor and outlook. This is a man who’s separate from me in age by maybe a few months–a year at most. While I was studying in high school and surfing the internet, he was starving in Malawi. Literally. Starving. His story is a triumph and I just can’t recommend it enough.

I was also deeply impressed by his voice and humor. Yes, the book was cowritten, but the turns of phrase and the way he describes everything… well, I was just amazed. Hilarity sits side by side with serious, often heart-wrenching, discussion and flows perfectly. There were several times I laughed out loud. During a memoir! I couldn’t believe it.

His story also highlights several of the problems confronting Africans today: their lack of support from their leaders and rampant corruption; the persistence of superstition and belief in magic; the lack of access to clean and fresh water; etc. In environments such as that, even the littlest innovation–if it’s not barred or squandered by the government–can make such a great difference, as Mr. Kamkwamba’s 12 volt windmill proved.

Inspiring. I can’t think of enough words to describe how much you need to read this right now.  Well written, and a breeze to read. I would recommend it in a heartbeat. Go check it out and buy it–support Mr. Kamkwamba and his ventures.

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Check out his blog, here.  (Oh, this is also the first book I read on my kindle and it was wonderful.  Yes, dad, you can change the text size to SUPER BIG.)

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