Here’s an idea for Lent that will do more good than giving up desserts: Read a book about contemporary sub-Saharan Africa. It’s not a penance, though it can hurt. And seeing how much of the rest of the world lives sure does put a lot of our minor irritations, and even major problems, in perspective.
Consider reading a novel or memoir by an African author, such as …
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)
Tsotsi by Athol Fugard (South Africa)
A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah (Sierra Leone)
When a Crocodile Eats the Sun by Peter Godwin (Zimbabwe)
Or read a journalist’s first-person account, like …
What Is the What by Dave Eggers (Sudan)
Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder (Burundi)
The Shadow of the Sun by Ryszard Kapuściński (post-colonial Africa)
We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families by Philip Gourevitch (Rwanda)
Or, if you’d rather watch a movie, try one of these …
What do you think?
Are there books or movies that you’d recommend as aids for spiritual reflection during this Lenten season?