What a world we live in. So much we don’t know…but we can try to learn. Books are one of the best weapons in the battle to gain knowledge, especially something like Borderland, my selection for reading about Ukraine. Written by Anna Reid, a British journalist with work and family ties to the country, it’s an informative, well-researched, and very readable dive into the history and politics of a darkly complicated part of the world. It’s perhaps not the most in-depth resource out there but it’s an approachable one, and that’s a win when it comes to a place buried in tangled webs.
Written in 1997, it goes without saying that much has transpired since but after absorbing this book, you’re in a good spot to find out what’s happened next. Bonus for Americans: it’ll give you insight into the shenanigans of Paul Manafort and some other folks currently under investigation, and of Putin’s motives; it won’t make you feel any better, but at least you’ll have a solid framework of understanding…
The book I chose for Uganda was Tropical Fish, Tales from Entebbe by Doreen Baingana.
Such a good book! Well-written, great characters, a super solid sense of place; it’s everything you hope to find in a work of fiction, but so often don’t. I really enjoyed it, and highly recommend it.
The story is told through the viewpoints of three sisters. Their experiences of the world are all very different, but one common thread is that they are growing up during a time of conflict, doing the best they can to bring some normalcy to chaos. The setting is during Adi Amin’s rule, but the crazy-making by the people “in charge” could apply to anywhere, anytime.
Like now, for instance.
“The change was gradual and the result normal, like many other thing’s about Amin’s time, including the every day fear in the air. She remembered how everyone had laughed in astonishment then got used to it… Everyone adjusted to the upside-down week, the upside down life, including other unbelievable and ugly things she didn’t want to think about. The bad smell had become familiar.”