I picked this up as a Kindle freebie, thinking it would prove a light diversion. But this isn't a quick read; at 370-odd pages, this first installmentI picked this up as a Kindle freebie, thinking it would prove a light diversion. But this isn't a quick read; at 370-odd pages, this first installment of Grace's memoir of a four year round-the-world trip is only slightly shorter than the next book on my reading list, A Writer's World a life-long memoir by the legendary travel writer Jan Morris.
I Grew My Boobs in China (hate that title, sorry!) was self-published, and unfortunately the lack of a strong editor is evident in more than just the length of the book. A jumble of tenses and perspectives confuse the writing, and dialogue between characters is often stilted. Grace's brother Ammon and sister Bree, who accompany her and her mother on the journey, are often little more than two-dimensional foils for her own character.
A conversation early in the book between Grace's mother and her son facing deployment to Afghanistan would have been far more touching (and less awkward) had it not been told through the author's first person viewpoint. I'd really have liked to hear more from Mom, Bree and Ammon through the book.
Reading this review, it might sound like I didn't like this book, but that's not true. Savannah is a sparky and engaging character, and the places, events and people are captured vividly, with more than a few moments of humour and dramatic tension. Just enough to keep you reading through to the end of the book, and consider looking for the next installment.
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
I greatly enjoyed this reading this book, with the vast scope and abundance of facts taking in many facets of the Atlantic: the geology of its formatiI greatly enjoyed this reading this book, with the vast scope and abundance of facts taking in many facets of the Atlantic: the geology of its formation and ultimate demise; the exploration that defined its boundaries; its military and economic history; its influence on music and the arts; the shaping of cultures on its coasts. Wound through this are tales of ships and wrecks, fishing and flying, invention and ecological destruction.
However, the opening yarn and reasoning of the structure, framed around Shakespeare's Seven Ages of Man, are rather contrived and require considerable explanation, making it a bit of a slog to get to the meat of the book. The narrative tends to leap around, with little connectivity other than overlong personal anecdote, giving a slight disorganised feel overall. I also felt the discussion of climate science rather basic, with a skew towards a sceptic position (perhaps to be more accommodating to an American audience?).
That being said, I'd read more of Winchester's works in future. The sweeping breadth of this book makes it a satisfying and leisurely wade into the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, perfect for a summer on the beach or winter's evening with the wind and waves whipping outside....more
Three Singles to Adventure is an account of Gerald Durrell's animal collecting expedition to British Guiana (now Guyana) in the 1950s. One of his firsThree Singles to Adventure is an account of Gerald Durrell's animal collecting expedition to British Guiana (now Guyana) in the 1950s. One of his first books, it lacks the strong messages of conservation present in his later works but still conveys his sense of wonder at the natural world with all his characteristic humouor.
Imagine puttering up a jungle river in a dugout canoe just as dusk is falling, heading home after a satisfying collecting trip to a remote village. Something brushes your ankle in the bottom of the hull, which closer inspection appears to be the tail end of a large electric eel slithering down the boat after escaping from the basket it was kept in. Moving out of the way quickly and shouting a warning to your fellow passengers, a whole chain of chaos ensues. The canoe tips and rocks precariously as everyone avoides the eel; a pygmy anteater in the bow, known locally as a thank'ee god, throws his hooked claws around making protestations to the heavens; a colleague stumbles about, catching his balance by accidentally grabbing a pimpla-hog, a porcupine; the porcupine then tries to escape by climbing the tallest person in the canoe to sit on their head. And in the melee, the prize of the trip, the electric eel slips overboard and makes his escape into the darkenss. You could only be with Durrell....more