Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Camel Bookmobile ~ by Masha Hamilton

The vote is in. Of course, the same three of us seem to be voting. In spite of our vote that ALL book buddies should be suggesting books, it will probably continue to be the same three of us who suggest and choose. Can you tell I'm disheartened? I hope that, nevertheless, more than three of us will take part in the discussion of our April book choice:

The Camel Bookmobile ~ by Masha Hamilton

Story Behind the Book

The Camel Bookmobile Video

Camel Bookmobile photos

Excerpt from the book

Actually, I know at least one other person will take part in our discussion. Masha Hamilton, the author, has already agreed to answer our questions.

When Fiona Sweeney tells her family she wants to do something that matters, they do not expect her to go to Africa to help start a traveling library. But that is where Fiona chooses to make her mark: in the arid bush of northeastern Kenya, among tiny, far-flung communities, nearly unknown and lacking roads and schools, where people live daily with drought, hunger, and disease.

In The Camel Bookmobile, Fi travels to settlements where people have never held a book in their hands. Her goal is to help bring Dr. Seuss, Homer, Tom Sawyer, and Hemingway to a largely illiterate and semi-nomadic populace. However, because the donated books are limited in number and the settlements are many, the library initiates a tough fine: if anyone fails to return a book, the bookmobile will stop coming.

Though her motives are good, Fi doesn't understand the people she seeks to help. Encumbered by her Western values, she finds herself in the midst of several struggles within the community of Mididima. There the bookmobile's presence sparks a feud between those who favor modernization and those who fear the loss of the traditional way of life in the African bush. The feud heightens when one young man—"Scar Boy"—doesn't return his books. As promised, the library stops all visits, but Fi goes to the settlement alone, determined to recover what has been lost.

Evocative, seamless, and haunting, The Camel Bookmobile is a powerful saga that challenges our fears of the unknown. It is a story that captures the riddles and calamities that often occur when two cultures collide. It follows an American librarian who travels to Africa to give meaning to her life,and ultimately loses a piece of her heart. In the end, this compelling novel shows how one life can change many, in spite of dangerous and seemingly immutable obstacles.


Shirley said...

Once again, I had problems with the blog allowing me to vote. On past votes, I've had similar problems, but was usually able to vote later. This time the voting time was short and I never was able to cast my vote. I wonder if others had similar probles as I also hope that there are more than three who are participating in this group. I would have also voted to read the book in April. I ordered the book from the library when the discussion first began and I have already received it so will be starting to read it. I appreciate the background info that you posted, Bonnie.

Marg said...

I can get the book, but it is checked out of the library until 16 April so it may well be a case of later than when everyone else is reading it. I will do my best to read it straight away though.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

I'm sorry you had problems voting, Shirley. However, I thought you WERE one of the three. You and Alison had already said you were for this book:


The short voting time was necessary so we could start on the book in April, which is now a week away. We really need to start choosing May's book NOW.

Marg said...

I voted, and I am trying to think of a book to moninate for May. I agree it needs to be chosen sooner rather than later.

Teddy Rose said...

Sorry I haven't been around.

Since I started my own blog and started reviewing books for publishers, I just don't have the time to participate in many group reads/discussions. If I participate in them, then I can't find time to fit in any books on my TBR.

I am pretty much sticking to challenges, reading book blogs, and participating in general book discussion.

That said, this book sounds awesome and I added it to my TBR.

Neco said...

Hey ya'll!

I think I voted too (my computer showed that I had already voted/couldn't vote?). But if I didn't count my vote as April for The Camel Bookmobile and anyone can suggest choices to vote on.

My sister miscarried a baby last week so I was gone a lot and that's why I can't remember if I voted for sure but I do remember seeing to poll.

I agree on starting the process of choosing a book for May. I like to have some time to get my book and get started on it (I am a slow reader LOL). And I'll throw out some suggestions off the top of my head (and take a look at my to-be-read shelf later then maybe add a few more). Ya'll don't have to keep any of the ones ya'll think might not work for the group.

I just read Ella Minnow Pea with another book club and thought it made a good book club book and it's fairly short.

I've also been interested in reading one of the lesser known Jane Austins since I've been watching all the movies on PBS. Persuasion, Northanger Abby, or Mansfield Park.


PS The Camel Bookmobile reading schedule coming soon? I'm checking B&N for the book this week!

Chain Reader said...

I will admit that I'm not a good decision maker, so I like to leave that for others! And I like most everything, and love to go in new directions that I haven't before. The Camel Bookmobile sounds awesome.

alisonwonderland said...

i just picked up The Camel Bookmobile at the library, so i'll be ready to go! :)

Neco said...

Hey ya'll! I stopped by B&N when I was out running errands to pick up The Camel Bookmobile. I couldn't remember the author so I asked the help people to look it up for me. The lady helping me told me the book wasn't in stock because it was coming out in paperback on April 3rd. So I put my name on a copy when it comes in. I am hoping the book gets in in time to be read with ya'll. Anyways, just wanted to give an FYI out for anyone who was planning on buying the book to read next month.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Quoting from the word of Bonnie: "The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton (2007) is set in Kenya, has 336 pages, and comes out in paperback on April 1."

Spoken (er, posted) on March 18th when I suggested four possibilities. I always try for books in paperback, so taking part in our discussions won't be too expensive if your library doesn't have a copy available. In this case, I even gave everybuddy the option of waiting until May ... just so you'd have plenty of time to get the paperback edition.

Here's where I posted this information:

Notice I told you two others are already out in paperback and the one hardback among them is inexpensive because it's for teens. (I just finished reading Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer and hope to have a review posted soon on my Bonnie's Books blog.)

I really do try to let you know about these things. Thanks, Neco, for making it clear to anybuddy who missed what I had said.

Neco said...

Hey Bonnie! *contrite* (I think that's the word I want.) I was an "anybuddy" who somehow read over or didn't retain that bit. My bad!