Howdy Howdy Bookworms!
You know what’s super inconvenient? Books with the same title as other books. Take for example, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. About a year ago I read a book by this title which was written by David Shafer. It was pretty weird (and not my favorite, to be honest, here’s the review.) Of course, it was quirky and partially set in the Middle East with at least one female protagonist, so when I saw that Tina Fey had a movie coming out called Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, I assumed it was based on Shafer’s book. I literally looked at my husband when I saw the first preview and was like “Uh… They seem to have taken a lot of liberties…” Turns out, I was wrong. Well, probably not about the liberties, because you know how Hollywood is, but it’s definitely not based on the aforementioned novel. I know this because I was recently contacted by the publisher of the book the movie is ACTUALLY based on. It is also called Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, BUT it was originally published as The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s by Kim Barker, a foreign correspondent who worked in Afghanistan and Pakistan during the early 2000s. Are you confused yet? I sort of am. Whew. *As I mentioned already, I received a complimentary copy of this book for review consideration. I’m not good at lying, so you don’t need to worry about compromised integrity. I’m like… the Pinocchio of book reviews. I try to lie and everyone can tell. It’s just not worth the effort.*
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot AKA The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan is Kim Barker’s memoir based on her years working as a foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. It’s a delicious “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” sort of book. It contains the things you might expect from a war correspondent’s memoir. I mean, there’s plenty of sadness and danger and tragedy, but Kim Barker’s also got a dark sense of humor about her, which is just the sort of thing I admire in a writer. Barker shares not just the news she covered, but the news behind the news. All the dishy side notes about the foreign journalists’ frat house shenanigans. The relationships gone awry. The adrenaline junkie colleagues. That one time a warlord taught her to wield a Kalishnikov…
If you have any interest in a first hand account of the political machinations of Afghanistan and Pakistan during this time period, you will love this book. If you are interested in the secret life of journalists, you will love this book. If you enjoy explorations of culture clashes, you will love this book.
I must admit that though I do try to stay informed, I hadn’t heard of Kim Barker prior to reading this book. I’m not much of a newspaper reader, which is not a fact I’m particularly proud of, but there it is. Like I said. Pinocchio. I do, however, listen to a lot of NPR. Which is why, upon reading the author’s notes I had a “SANTA?! I KNOW HIM!” moment when Kim Barker thanked Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson for talking her into taking an early morning shot of whiskey. I’m sure there’s a really excellent story there, probably involving extreme awesomeness and nerves of steel. Could these journalists BE any more badass? I think not.
Tell me something, Bookworms! Have you ever gotten your signals crossed with books and movies having the same (or strikingly similar) titles?
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