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The Books I Read

When I began training over two years ago, I started to keep a list of the books I was reading.  I thought it would be interesting to look back on what I had read after I had finished my service.  Now that my service is winding down and I’m in my last week in Burkina, I have decided to share this list.  It can be said that I spent the bulk of my service reading books that I had always wanted to read and books that I was told I should read.  As a result, there is enormous diversity to what I put in front of my eyes:  from Steinbeck’s East of Eden to Hoff’s The Tao of Pooh, from Fey’s Bossypants to Joyce’s Ulysses.

I was initially reluctant to share this list because I did not want to imply that I spent my time idle and solitary.  However, I eventually decided it might be fun to put up the full list, for no reason other than the general public might be interested in what exactly I was reading in the evenings when there was no electricity or internet to occupy me.

And so, without further ado, here are the books I read—in the order that I read them:

  1. The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Thornton Wilder
  2. Ham on Rye, Charles Bukowski
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  4. Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
  5. Matryona’s House and Other Stories, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  6. Blood River: A Journey to Africa’s Broken Heart, Tim Butcher
  7. The Mother Tongue, Bill Bryson
  8. All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque
  9. Ending Hunger in Our Lifetime: Food Security and Globalization, C. Ford Runge, Benjamin Senauer, Philip G. Pardey, Mark W. Rosegrant
  10. The River Between, Ngugi wa Thiong’o
  11. The Qur’an, translated by Tarif Khalidi
  12. Endurance:  Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, Alfred Lansing
  13. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
  14. Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, David Eagleman
  15. Othello, William Shakespeare
  16. My Name Is Red, Orhan Pamuk
  17. The Constant Gardener, John le Carré
  18. For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemmingway
  19. The Tao of Pooh, Benjamin Hoff
  20. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid:  A Memoir, Bill Bryson
  21. Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller
  22. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers
  23. The Iliad, Homer (translated by Robert Fagles)
  24. The Odyssey, Homer (translated by Robert Fagles)
  25. Blink, Malcolm Gladwell
  26. The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling
  27. This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  28. The Ingenious Gentleman, Don Quixote de la Mancha, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
  29. Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2, Annie Proulx
  30. Coming Up for Air, George Orwell
  31. Table of Contents, John McPhee
  32. The Prince’s Speech on the Future of Food, HRH the Prince of Wales
  33. The Colossus of Maroussi, Henry Miller
  34. The Color Purple, Alice Walker
  35. Mendel in the Kitchen: A Scientist’s View of Genetically Modified Foods, Nina Federoff and Nancy Marie Brown
  36. Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
  37. Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut
  38. The Extra Man, Jonathan Ames
  39. Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela
  40. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  41. And on Piano…Nicky Hopkins, Julian Dawson
  42. Bossypants, Tina Fey
  43. A Collection of Essays, George Orwell
  44. A Death In Belmont, Sebastian Junger
  45. Ulysses, James Joyce
  46. Strength in What Remains, Tracy Kidder
  47. Hiroshima, John Hersey
  48. The Dragon’s Trail: The Biography of Raphael’s Masterpiece, Joanna Pitman
  49. Twenty Prose Poems, Charles Baudelaire
  50. What Is the What, Dave Eggers
  51. Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain
  52. The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa, Calestous Juma
  53. Candide, Voltaire
  54. The Art of War, Sun Tzu
  55. Inventing Paradise: The Greek Journey, 1937-1947, Edmund Keeley
  56. A Bend in the River, V.S. Naipaul
  57. If I forget Thee, Jerusalem, William Faulkner
  58. All the President’s Men, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward
  59. The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
  60. The Upanishads, translated by Eknath Easwaran
  61. Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller
  62. Steppenwolf, Hermann Hesse
  63. Sailing from Byzantium, Colin Wells
  64. Birds without Wings, Louis de Bernières
  65. All the Pretty Horses, Cormack McCarthy
  66. The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton
  67. The Restless Atom: The Awakening of Nuclear Physics, Alfred Romer
  68. Walden, Henry David Thoreau
  69. On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, Henry David Thoreau
  70. The Adolescent, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  71. Life & Times of Michael K, J.M. Coetzee
  72. One Flew Over the Cucoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey
  73. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, David Sedaris
  74. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
  75. Mother Night, Kurt Vonnegut
  76. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Dee Brown
  77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith
  78. The Crucible, Arthur Miller
  79. Nature, Ralph Waldo Emerson
  80. East of Eden, John Steinbeck
  81. King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa, Adam Hochschild
  82. Tender Is the Night, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  83. Blood Meridian or the Evening Redness in the West, Cormack McCarthy
  84. The Idiot, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  85. The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer
  86. The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner
  87. The Gospel of Matthew, Saint Matthew
  88. The Death of Ivan Ilych, Leo Tolstoy
  89. Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift

And that’s all she wrote.



5 thoughts on “The Books I Read

  1. Thank you for sharing, Jason. Where did you get the books? What an inspiring, diverse collection. Barbara (friend of your mom)

    Posted by Barbara Schwartz | August 3, 2013, 9:28 PM
  2. Hi Barbara,

    I’m glad you like the list! Our transit house here has shelves just filled with books that have been collected by volunteers over the years. Some were brought, some were sent in packages, some bought, but they all made their way here at one point or another.

    Thanks for commenting!

    Posted by Jason Tsichlis | August 4, 2013, 7:34 AM
    • I know you are arriving home shortly, but must tell you how much I have enjoyed your writings, perspectives and thoughts. They truly make for a beautiful book. With your pictures and dialogue one can vicariously try to experience what you have felt and accomplished. I applaud you!

      Posted by Barbara Schwartz | August 4, 2013, 2:45 PM
  3. Hi Jason. Two Dave Eggers -good for you! I just discovered him this year and loved “staggering genius” on tape read by him. Come to DC when u return. We would love to chat! Ingrid and John

    Posted by INGRID | August 6, 2013, 3:19 AM
    • Hi Ingrid and John,

      I as well discovered Eggers recently. I really liked “Staggering Genius” as an un-apologetically quirky depiction of his life’s tragedies–his writing has a very natural flow to it. “What Is the What” was an important read, albeit a difficult subject matter for 500+ pages. Volunteers tend to like him, I know “Zeitoun” and “You Shall Know Our Velocity” were floating around and I was interested in reading them, but unfortunately I had to cut him off to make room for others!

      I will actually be swinging through DC in early September. When I get home I’ll be sure to let you know.


      Posted by Jason Tsichlis | August 6, 2013, 6:52 AM

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Jason Tsichlis

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