Around the World = Federated States of Micronesia (Pohnpei)
Paul and Matt love football. And not just playing the beautiful game, but all the associateAround the World = Federated States of Micronesia (Pohnpei)
Paul and Matt love football. And not just playing the beautiful game, but all the associated minutiae, statistics, trivia. In their mid-20's, they have accepted that they'll never represent England in the top flight, but can't quite resist the opportunity for one last chance at glory.
They travel to the Pacific island of Pohnpei, to discover a tropical climate combining torrential rainfall and relentless humidity, a population plagued by obesity and addiction to betel nut, and a pitch infested with toads.
The book is light-hearted and enjoyable, and not just for football fans....more
Tell My Horse is writer and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston's experiences in Jamaica and Haiti in the 1930s as she documented thAround the World = Haiti
Tell My Horse is writer and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston's experiences in Jamaica and Haiti in the 1930s as she documented the voodoo rituals and beliefs practiced in these countries. Hurston also explores the African heritage shared by black Jamaicans, Hatians and Americans, and how their experiences inform their lives.
What makes this book outstanding is the depth of Hurston's personal connection to her subject; rather than giving a cool, scholarly observation of ceremonies and rituals, she is an active participant and brings an insider knowledge of the experience of the individuals she encounters, and recounts it to the reader as if sharing an afternoon conversation on the porch swing, with a glass of lemonade.
In the not too distant past, seabirds and their eggs were a staple food for many small coastal communities clinging to the Atlantic fringes of Europe.In the not too distant past, seabirds and their eggs were a staple food for many small coastal communities clinging to the Atlantic fringes of Europe. Ness (Nis), near the northernmost tip of the Isle of Lewis, is the only community in the British Isles that retains that tradition, with men from the village undertaking an arduous expedition each Autumn to the rocky sea-stack of Sula Sgeir, 40 miles offshore. Spending two weeks or so on the rock, they capture and kill gannet chicks, known as guga, under a special licence granted by the European Union.
This book is a fascinating insight into a history that would have been shared by many other coastal communities, and how keeping the tradition has created a strong bond in Ness, rooted deeply in the language and culture of the area. Murray writes as a Nessman, with deep fondness for his heritage and the history of his community, and as a poet and journalist, giving insightful observations with a lyrical flair and wry humour. ...more
The Old Man And His Sons by Heðin Brú is an account of the daily struggle for survival in a rural village on the waveAround the world = Faroe Islands.
The Old Man And His Sons by Heðin Brú is an account of the daily struggle for survival in a rural village on the wave-washed Faroe Islands, set against creeping modernisation of the society. The opening chapter details the grindadráp, the communal whale hunt, in all its bloody magnificence. Drunk and adrenaline-fueled by the kill, Ketil, the old man of the title, buys a huge chunk of whale meat beyond his means, and with the assistance of his (as he sees it) feckless youngest son sets out on a series of adventures to ease the debt.
I picked this up in Stromness, in a tiny cupboard of a shop stacked high with Scottish and Scandinavian authors, with particular reverence for local hero George Mackay Brown. Brown's Orkney stories, rising from a bare, bleak landscape rich in history and myth, seem a natural comparison for this Faroese novel.
With conflict between generations, the new and the old, change and tradition, forming the theme of the book, Brú eschews the spirituality and mythology used by Brown, detailing events with a straightforward simplicity that enhances the comedy of the central conflict. The book is a beautiful insight into a way of life that was on the brink, without hiding the harshness of the existence or the foolishness in refusing to change....more
St. Kilda is an archipelago in the Western Isles of Scotland, some 40 miles from the next nearest inhabited island. For moAround the World = St Kilda.
St. Kilda is an archipelago in the Western Isles of Scotland, some 40 miles from the next nearest inhabited island. For more than 2000 years the island was inhabited by a small population, eking out an existance in near splendid isolation in the harsh conditions of the North Atlantic.
Drawing on the accounts of visitors from the 17th Century onwards, Maclean details the native population's struggle to come to terms with encroaching modernity and increased contact with outsiders, bringing with it greater dependence on charity and an gradual erosion of their independence, until, following tragic events, the remaining islanders were evacuated to mainland Scotland in 1930.
There is a tendency to view the St. Kildan community as a utopian society, natives living the simple life in perfect harmony and co-operation, despoiled by external influences, however Maclean succeeds in avoiding this sentimental trope, concentrating on the realities of life to produce a well-written social and natural history of a fascinating place....more
This is a brutal book. No punches are pulled in the descriptions of domestic violence, gang culture, acoholism, sexual abuse and suicide. It is a rawThis is a brutal book. No punches are pulled in the descriptions of domestic violence, gang culture, acoholism, sexual abuse and suicide. It is a raw account of the erosion of cultual identity in the Maori community, and the attmepts of individuals to reconnect with their heritage. Duff's writing is excellent and immmediate, so that the violence of the characters lives never feels contrived for effect....more
One of the most beautiful books I've ever read. The writing is simple and sparse, drawing you completely into the story of ShAround the World = Tibet.
One of the most beautiful books I've ever read. The writing is simple and sparse, drawing you completely into the story of Shu Wen and her quest to find what became of her husband, Kejun. For such a slim book, the scale of the story is epic, fitting the vastness of the landscape through which Wen travels and her gradual transformation from an outsider, a Chinese observing Tibetan culture, to becoming fully absorbed into the life through her everyday survival.
As an insight into the nomadic way of life in mid-century Tibet, it is fascinating and compelling, painting an intimate portrait of their traditions, spirituality, and the minutiae of day-to-day living. Xinran's understated descriptions (perhaps stemming from her background as a journalist, rather than a novelist) allow the nature of Tibet to be revealed alongside the slowly unfolding story, and you realise that it isn't just the love story of Wen and Kejun, but also a love story for Tibet, both for Wen and for the reader.