I did a lot of short and quick reads this week, but the book that I’m featuring here is I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. Well, technically not. I’ve got the Young Readers Edition, mainly because I was not paying close enough attention when placing my library holds. I decided to read this version anyway. Malala Yousafzai is sixteen-years-old, so it seems right to read it from the viewpoint of a sixteen-year-old. Besides, I can finish it in one day.
The shocking part of I Am Malala is how normal it all seems. The way it is written, it is as if it was obvious for her to become the world advocate for girls’ education. And her everyday experiences, like fighting with her friends and coveting her academic awards, strike a painfully familiar tone. The normalcy contrasts with the Taliban infiltration, which turns her home and her world into a war zone.
Also striking is how, before the militants arrive with guns, a radio mullah comes to their city. The Taliban’s first line of attack was preaching hatred toward the West, isolation of women, and religious extremism. Malala writes about how the radio show changed how people thought about religion and female education. I had never thought about the Taliban’s use of the media to such an extent. Rather, I always thought about it as an after-thought: violence first, conversion second. Not the case. Once again, the pen has proven mightier than the sword.
It is worth a read, although be warned that it is difficult to stop once you’ve started. As an accompaniment, I recommend a Chai spiced tea with honey and milk. I like Peet’s Coffee Masala Chai the best, but today I used Stash’s Chai Spice.
I added a generous amount of honey, a full tablespoon, and about a quarter cup of milk.
I like having something sweet, but with a bite, for this one. Besides, tea with milk is important for Malala. It’s what she serves the men in order to be in the same room as they talk politics, and it’s what she drinks before running to school.
Speaking of which, Malala tends to oversleep, so I was sure to make the tea caffeinated.