Reading List


Books I have read during my service since being posted to site, in chronological order:

*Titles with asterisks in front are books that I have read prior to arriving in Zambia. If there are two asterisks in front, then I’ve read them twice in Zambia — they’re just that good.

May 2013
1. I Am Charlotte Simmons, Tom Wolfe
2. Any Human Heart, William Boyd
3. Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller
4. Animal Dreams, Barbara Kingsolver
5. Pigs In Heaven, Barbara Kingsolver
6. Why We Pick The Mates We Do, Anne Teachworth

June 2013
7. The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
8. Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey
9. How To Win Friends And Influence People, Dale Carnegie
10. Life Of Pi, Yann Martel
11. The Pact, Jodi Picoult
12. My Sister’s Keeper, Jodi Picoult
13. 19 Minutes, Jodi Picoult
14. The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama
15. *Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Jamie Ford
16. Freedom, Jonathan Franzen
17. Dark Star Safari, Paul Theroux
18. Superfreakonomics, Steven Levitt
19. The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen
20. Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki
21. The 4-Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss

July 2013
22. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
23. A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini
24. *Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri
25. *The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
26. *The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
27. *Hunger Games 2: Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins
28. *Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins
29. Brazzaville Beach, William Boyd
30. Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
31. Emma, Jane Austen

August 2013
32. The Hardest (Working) Man in Showbiz, Ron Jeremy
33. Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen
34. The Ugly American, William Lederer and Eugene Burdick
35. Secret Ties, Opal Carew

September 2013
36. The Virgin Suicides, Jeffrey Eugenides
37. Mansfield Park, Jane Austen
38. Shanghai Girls, Lisa See
39. The Social Animal, David Brooks
40. Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami
41. Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami
42. *Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card

October 2013
43. *Ender’s Shadow, Orson Scott Card
44. Sing It Home, Jodi Picoult
45. House Rules, Jodi Picoult
46. Keeping Faith, Jodi Picoult
47. The Tenth Circle, Jodi Picoult
48. Status Anxiety, Alain De Botton
49. Perfect Match, Jodi Picoult
50. The Collected Stories, Paul Theroux
51. Salem Falls, Jodi Picoult
52. Plain Truth, Jodi Picoult
53. Bel Canto, Ann Patchett
54. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
55. Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
56. Bridget Jones’ Diary, Helen Fielding
57. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
58. Second Glance, Jodi Picoult
59. Handle With Care, Jodi Picoult
60. *Dune, Frank Herbert
61. *Dune Messiah, Frank Herbert
62. The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell
63. The Minority Report, Philip K. Dick
64. Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
65. Animal Farm, George Orwell
66. The Sphere, Michael Crichton
67. Prey, Michael Crichton

November 2013
68. Next, Michael Crichton
69. State of Fear, Michael Crichton
70. Disclosure, Michael Crichton
71. The Andromeda Strain, Michael Crichton
72. Timeline, Michael Crichton
73. Airframe, Michael Crichton
74. Pirate Latitudes, Michael Crichton
75. Congo, Michael Crichton
76. *Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton
77. I’m a Stranger Here Myself, Bill Bryson
78. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell
79. *The Lost World, Michael Crichton
80. Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell
81. A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail, Bill Bryson
82. Unbowed, Wangari Maathai
83. Bright Sided, Barbara Ehrenreich
84. Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond
85. Change of Heart, Jodi Picoult
86. The Unheard, Josh Swiller
87. Game Change, John Heilemann and Mark Halperin
88. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy Kaling

December 2013
89. The Passage, Justin Cronin
90. This Is How You Lose Her, Junot Diaz

January 2014
91. *Rising Sun, Michael Crichton
92. The Spirit Level, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett
93. Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace
94. Every Love Story Is A Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace, D.T. Max
95. A Man In Full, Tom Wolfe
96. Truth & Beauty, Ann Patchett
97. Cannery Row, John Steinbeck

February 2014
98. Everything That Rises Must Converge, Flannery O’Connor
99. Pitch Perfect, Mickey Rapkin
100. The Bonfire Of The Vanities, Tom Wolfe
101. Double Down: Game Change 2012, John Heilemann and Mark Halperin
102. Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography, Rob Lowe
103. Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell
104. East of Eden, John Steinbeck
105. Tortilla Flat, John Steinbeck
106. The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck
107. Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said, Philip K. Dick
108. The Moon Is Down, John Steinbeck
109. The Help, Kathryn Stockett
110. The Imperfectionists, Tom Rachman
111. Back To Blood, Tom Wolfe
112. The Lacuna, Barbara Kingsolver
113. Outside Wonderland, Lorna Cook

March 2014
114. On Beauty, Zadie Smith
115. The Hour I First Believed, Wally Lamb
116. I Know This Much Is True, Wally Lamb
117. Prep, Curtis Sittenfeld
118. The Man Of My Dreams, Curtis Sittenfeld
119. Tinkers, Paul Harding
120. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins
121. The Paris Wife: A Novel, Paula McLain
122. Suck It, Wonder Woman! The Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek, Olivia Munn
123. You Shall Know Our Velocity, Dave Eggers
124. When You Ride Alone You Ride With Bin Laden, Bill Maher
125. *Unaccustomed Earth, Jhumpa Lahiri
126. Prodigal Summer, Barbara Kingsolver
127. Third World America, Arianna Huffington
128. A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson
129. Siddhartha, Hermann Hesse

April 2014
130. Where The Heart Is, Billie Letts
131. At First Sight, Nicholas Sparks
132. The Lost Continent, Bill Bryson

May 2014
133. Redeeming Love, Francine Rivers
134. The Sex Lives of Cannibals, J. Maarten Troost
135. The Inheritance of Loss, Kiran Desai
136. After the Quake, Haruki Murakami
137. The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand
138. American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis
139. Although of course you end up becoming yourself: a road trip with David Foster Wallace, David Lipsky

June 2014
140. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami
141. Brief Interviews With Hideous Men, David Foster Wallace
142. What Is The What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng, Dave Eggers
143. Vanishing Acts, Jodi Picoult
144. *The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri
145. Wild, Cheryl Strayed
146. Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang, Chelsea Handler
147. State of Wonder, Ann Patchett
148. Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea, Chelsea Handler
149. The Rapture of Canaan, Sheri Reynolds
150. My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands, Chelsea Handler
151. Half The Sky, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

July 2014
152. The Witch of Portobello, Paulo Coelho
153. The Road, Cormac McCarthy
154. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers
155. Zeitoun, Dave Eggers
156. Sputnik Sweetheart, Haruki Murakami
157. *The Catcher In The Rye, J.D. Salinger
158. The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

August 2014
159. Black Hawk Down, Mark Bowden
160. Dirty Sexy Politics, Meghan McCain
161. Dude, Where’s My Country?, Michael Moore
162. The Gargoyle, Andrew Davidson

September 2014
163. Tuesdays With Morrie, Mitch Albom
164. Six Months in Sudan, James Maskalyk
165. **Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Jamie Ford
166. Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe
167. Ford County: stories, John Grisham
168. Playing For Pizza, John Grisham
169. Dragon Bones, Lisa See
170. Flower Net, Lisa See
171. Message in a Bottle, Nicholas Sparks

October 2014
172. Small Wonder, Barbara Kingsolver
173. The Interior, Lisa See
174. Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer
175. Skipping Christmas, John Grisham
176. Portnoy’s Complaint, Philip Roth
177. The Hot Zone, Richard Preston
178. Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates
179. Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel, Gary Shteyngart

November 2014
180. The Cobra Event, Richard Preston
181. *The Giver, Lois Lowry
182. War, Sebastian Junger
183. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Haruki Murakami
184. Twilight, Stephenie Meyer
185. New Moon, Stephenie Meyer
186. Eclipse, Stephenie Meyer
187. Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer
188. *I Am Charlotte Simmons, Tom Wolfe
189. Columbine, Dave Cullen
190. Persuasion, Jane Austen
191. Fresh Air Fiend, Paul Theroux

December 2014
192. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, Jared Diamond
193. Where Men Win Glory, Jon Krakauer
194. All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy
195. No Country For Old Men, Cormac McCarthy
196. *Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowling
197. *Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J.K. Rowling
198. *Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J.K. Rowling
199. *Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling
200. *Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling
201. *Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, J.K. Rowling
202. *Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling
203. Under the Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer

January 2015
204. Wild Seed, Octavia Butler
205. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, Laura Hillenbrand

February 2015
206. The Brothers K, David James Duncan
207. Marley & Me, John Grogan
208. The Third Chimpanzee, Jared Diamond

March 2015
209. The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell
210. Imperial Bedrooms, Bret Easton Ellis
211. A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway
212. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
213. The Tiger’s Wife, Tea Obreht
214. Diary of a Mad Fat Girl, Stephanie McAfee
215. Quiet, Susan Cain
216. The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, George Packer
217. Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, Michael Pollan
218. The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, Michael Lewis
219. The Blind Side, Michael Lewis
220. A Shooting Star, Wallace Stegner
221. Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen

April 2015
222. Lady Chatterley’s Lover, D.H. Lawrence
223. *Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Amy Chua
224. *The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
225. Tender is the Night, F. Scott Fitzgerald
226. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
227. Band of Brothers, Stephen Ambrose
228. Gilead, Marilynne Robinson
229. This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald
230. Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy

14 thoughts on “Reading List

  1. Pingback: What I’ve been reading | Fishing in Zambia

  2. Funny, we’ve read a number of the same books over in PC Jamaica. 🙂 Will have to pick up the pace to catch up to the number you’ve read per month! Impressive.

    • Have you read any of his other books? He’s written extensively about traveling in Africa, and his partial service was actually in Malawi, just across the border from Zambia.

    • Haha we’ve got a huge ebook library shared among volunteers here, not to mention a pretty substantial collection of actual books at our provincial house. I read pretty quickly and there’s no way I’ll even be able to put a dent in the amount of books I have access to in two years!

  3. Hi Matt – I was a PCV in Malawi in the mid-60’s and taught at UNZA in the late ’70’s. Have just published a novel on amazon and Kindle called Zambezi River Bridge. A Thriller about a Lusaka-based American caught up in the Zimbabwe freedom struggle. Might be fun to add it to your reading list. All the best, Bob Boeder

  4. Hey Matt!
    I’m a new PCV, heading to Zambia on 10 Feb. I’m stoked and reading your site makes me more excited.
    I’ll be working with fish too!
    You’ve listed a bunch of books I hope to read and its nice to gauge just how much free time I’ll have.
    Did you preload all these books before you went or do you not have a problem loading more once in country?
    Nicole V

    • Hi Nicole,

      Congrats on the invite and welcome to PC Zambia! I’m one of the volunteer trainers planning your Pre-Service Training right now so I’m looking forward to meeting you in February.

      Take this reading list with a grain of salt, haha — I seem to have less available fish farming development work at my site than most other RAP volunteers, and I also read quickly — but yes, in all likelihood you’ll have more free time left to your own devices here than during any other two-year period in your life. So use it wisely. 🙂

      I brought hundreds of books with me on my Kindle, but well over half of the books on this list are titles I either found in our provincial house library or got from other volunteers’ ebook libraries. Don’t worry about buying/bringing any books with you that you don’t already have, unless you know you really want to read it in country and it’s not a very popular title. You’ll never run out of reading supplies once you get posted to your province and site (you will need at least a few books during Pre-Service Training though, when it’s harder to swap ebook libraries with other trainees).

  5. Thank you for this! I have found that the PCV Zambia website doesn’t offer reading materials or pre-departure options to read (unlike some of the other websites; specifically Senegal, which offers placement-specific reading materials to familiarise the volunteer with some of the issues they will likely face – both culturally and more broadly re. living in a developing area).
    While I do realise that these are mostly for pleasure, it is still nice to have a new list of books to check out during my service!
    In addition, your blog has been extremely helpful in my planning for PCV Zambia (departure June 2016). Thank you and keep on blogging!

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