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6 places the Opportunity International Book Club explored in 2021 and more

By Allison Kooser

In a year full of ups and downs, we found solace, education, and adventure curling up with great books. The Opportunity Book Club enjoyed novels, memoirs, human psychology, business reads, and more every month. We love exploring the world from the comfort of our homes!

We choose books written by authors from the countries in which Opportunity International works; books that share stories from communities around the world; and books that teach us about important issues like poverty, famine, and development. 

You can be part of the Book Club, too! Sign up now to receive an email each month with our selection—and read along with us! We would love to have you in the Opportunity Book Club in 2022.

In January, we hit the ground running, exploring contemporary India through A Burning, a “gripping thriller with compassionate social commentary,” by Megha Majumidar.

In February, on the recommendation of one of our Book Club members, we picked up Range by David Epstein. This book, which Bill Gates called “fascinating,” reminded us to think creatively as we develop solutions for the world’s biggest challenges. We love getting (and reading!) your book recommendations, so be sure to let us know what you’d like to add to the list!

March took us to Uganda through an expansive coming-of-age novel, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi’s A Girl is a Body of WaterThen, in April, we read Left to Tell, a powerful memoir by Imaculée Ilibagiza to honor the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda (held yearly on April 7).

In May, as Opportunity hosted a virtual insight trip to Colombia, the Book Club read Infinite Country by Patricia Engel, a compact fictional exploration of one family’s attempt to straddle Colombian and American soil.

June’s pick was Hans Rosling’s memoir How I Learned to Understand the World, which took us on a journey across Africa to help us understand some of the biggest economic and public health challenges humanity has faced. 

We spent July immersed in the laugh-out-loud story of Afi, the plucky Ghanian heroine of Peace Adzo Medie’s His Only Wifethen traveled to Ethiopia on the brink of civil war with the national bestseller Cutting for Stone by Abraham Varghese, all before picking up a classic in September: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, the most widely read book in modern African literature.  

We learned all about navigating cultural differences in October with The Culture Map by Erin Meyer. In November, our pick was How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbuea heartbreaking story set in a fictional African village that explores colonialism, ancestry, the environment, and the power of community in the face of enormous challenges. 

We ended the year with a special 50th Anniversary edition of UnPoverty, an inside look at the impact people just like you have had on families around the world, compiled by our very own Mark Lutz. You can get a copy of the special edition of UnPoverty now by making a donation to Opportunity International. 

We’re looking forward to 2022 and a new year full of even more opportunities to read together! Will you join us? Sign up for the Opportunity Book Club and get a book recommendation in your inbox every month! We can’t wait to read, learn, and explore with you!  

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