Around the World in 80 Books discussion

Random Travel Challenge > And the Mome_Rath outgrabes 2018

Comments Showing 1-25 of 25 (25 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Mome_Rath (last edited Dec 29, 2018 03:26PM) (new)

Mome_Rath | 1491 comments Here are the countries quite randomly assigned to me for 2018:

Paraguay ☑
Hungary ☑
Haiti ☑
Dominican Republic ☑
Malta ☑
Kiribati ☑
Algeria ☑
Moldova ☑
Ghana ☑
Antigua and Barbuda ☑
Kyrgyzstan ☑
Papua New Guinea ☑

I plan to read one a month, starting with #7

message 2: by Vicky (new)

Vicky Hunt (reason2believehim) | 243 comments Good luck Mome_Rath and Happy New books!

message 3: by Mome_Rath (new)

Mome_Rath | 1491 comments Thanks, and to you as well!

message 4: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 3306 comments Don't let the Slithy Toves stop your reading quest.

message 5: by Mome_Rath (new)

Mome_Rath | 1491 comments I'm sure they're perfectly fine gyring and gimbling in the wabe. :-)

message 6: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 3306 comments But beware the Jabberwock!

message 7: by Mome_Rath (new)

Mome_Rath | 1491 comments The jaws that bite, the claws that catch? I'll beware, too, the Jubjub bird, and shun the frumious Bandersnatch.

message 8: by Mome_Rath (new)

Mome_Rath | 1491 comments January

Random Country #1: Algeria

Random fact about Algeria: 70% of their lawyers and 60% of their judges are women

Book read for Algeria: The Rabbi's Cat by Joann Sfar

Are there female lawyers or judges in the book? No, but there are rabbis and rabbi's rabbis and a rabbi's daughter and a talking cat.

Random excerpt from page 17:
And then he tells me that the Greeks believed the dog to be the epitome of the philosophical animal. The dog, not the cat. I reply that the Greeks destroyed the Temple of Jerusalem and if a rabbi ends up calling on them for help, it means he's run out of arguments.

Did I enjoy the book? I did, in its chaotic, cat-centric contemplations of life. I just hope never to meet a talking cat.

message 9: by Mome_Rath (last edited Feb 14, 2018 07:12PM) (new)

Mome_Rath | 1491 comments February

Random Country #2: Hungary

Random fact about Hungary: Hungarians have bred a hybrid "sheep-pig" called the Mangalica

Book read for Hungary: Embers by Sándor Márai

Are there "sheep-pigs" in the book? No, but how exciting would that have been! Instead we're stuck with a General bore.

Random excerpt from page 96:
"You remember it down to the details?" asks the guest, astonished.
"I remember everything."

Did I enjoy the book? The first part, immensely, and the prose was beautiful. I can't help thinking this would make a better one-act play, though (as long as Konrad were to get a few more lines).

message 10: by Mome_Rath (last edited Mar 29, 2018 09:04PM) (new)

Mome_Rath | 1491 comments March

Random Country #3: Ghana

Random fact about Ghana: Recognized as the most peaceful country in Africa

Book read for Ghana: Murder at Cape Three Points by Kwei Quartey

Is Ghana peaceful? Other than the murders in the book? (I mean, the title says it all -- this is a murder mystery) Well, the country doesn't dissolve into a civil war during the investigation, so sure, it's peaceful.

Random excerpt from page 53:
He opened up the padlocked gate, revealing a neat, square bungalow on a generous plot of land with a smattering of banana trees and two blooming jasmine bushes that lightly perfumed the night air.

Did I enjoy the book? Yes -- this was Quartey's best Ghanaian mystery yet, and a good introduction to the series. I think I'd like to visit Ghana someday.

message 11: by Mome_Rath (last edited Apr 19, 2018 08:10PM) (new)

Mome_Rath | 1491 comments April

Random Country #4: Dominican Republic

Random fact about the Dominican Republic: Businesses may pay you back in Chiclets if they do not have small change

Book read for the Dominican Republic: In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

Does anyone get Chiclets back instead of change? I'm not sure if it was in change, but one of the Mirabal sisters got ten cents worth of Chiclets at a store just before the ill-fated mountain pass. I also don't know if this reminiscence was fact or fiction.

Random excerpt from page 224:
El Jefe entered in a wash of camera flashes... The more I tried to concentrate on the good side of him, the more I saw a vain, greedy, unredeemed creature. Maybe the evil one had become flesh like Jesus!

Did I enjoy the book? For such a tragic tale of injustice, the book is filled with heartwarming stories of courage, hope, and family bonds, which I fully appreciated.

message 12: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 3306 comments There is also a movie version of the book, if you're interested.

message 13: by Mome_Rath (new)

Mome_Rath | 1491 comments I'll have to look for the movie version. Thanks for the heads up!

message 14: by Mome_Rath (last edited May 26, 2018 05:00PM) (new)

Mome_Rath | 1491 comments May

Random Country #5: Kyrgyzstan

Random fact about Kyrgyzstan: Kyrgyzstan is the most popular country on the Sporcle trivia quiz website

Book read for Kyrgyzstan: Jamilia by Chingiz Aitmatov

Do Sporcle quizzes show up in Jamilia? No, nor does Jamilia show up in any Sporcle quizzes I could find.

Random excerpt from page 40:
'What a pair,' she cried, tossing her head gaily. And straightaway she began ordering us about, saying, 'Hurry up, we have to cross the steppe before it gets too hot.'

Did I enjoy the book? Yes, this was a sweet novella with a strong sense of place and community in Central Asia.

message 15: by Mome_Rath (last edited Jun 30, 2018 12:10AM) (new)

Mome_Rath | 1491 comments June

Random Country #6: Kiribati

Random fact about Kiribati: Kiribati is the only nation in the world in all four hemispheres

Book read for Kiribati: A Pattern of Islands by Arthur Grimble

Does the author visit all four hemispheres while in Kiribati? As far as I can tell, Sir Grimble stayed in the Gilbert Islands, and never made it to I-Kiribati islands in the Western Hemisphere, east of the 180th meridian. The other three? Yes.

Random excerpt from page 203:
The midwives merely wished to assure me in advance that if I did not succeed in my effort nobody in the village would blame me for failing. I was on my back with dysentery at the time, but I could not possibly ignore such a summons.

Did I enjoy the book? Absolutely -- the British sense of humor is awesome, and this colonial administrator showed he cared for the local people.

message 16: by Mome_Rath (last edited Jul 31, 2018 06:44PM) (new)

Mome_Rath | 1491 comments July

Random Country #7: Antigua and Barbuda

Random fact about Antigua and Barbuda: Antigua and Barbuda received its first World Heritage Site in 2016 for the Antigua Naval Dockyard, a colonial base for the British Navy

Book read for Antigua and Barbuda: Mr. Potter by Jamaica Kincaid

Does the Antigua Naval Dockyard show up in the book? Not exactly, though it is found in the town of English Harbour, which also happens to be the home of Mr. Potter.

Random excerpt from page 88:
And Mr. Shepherd loomed over Drickie in every way that can be imagined, for what else could he do; and the world in its entirety, and in every way imaginable, loomed over Drickie, for that is the way of the world no matter how it constitutes itself, it looms and looms...

Did I enjoy the book? Mr. Potter's story was neither here nor there, but I loved the lyrical passages of his life and of the lives that made Mr. Potter and of the lives made by Mr. Potter.

Non sequitur: Am I amused that I finished this book on a certain other Potter's birthday? Yes, yes I am. (and I can almost hear Alan Rickman declaiming this book's title).

message 17: by HomeInMyShoes (last edited Aug 01, 2018 07:32AM) (new)

HomeInMyShoes | 141 comments Mome_Rath wrote: "May

Random Country #5: Kyrgyzstan
Did I enjoy the book? Yes, this was a sweet novella with a strong sense of place and community in Central Asia.

Completely agree with this assessment. If you ever get the hankering to revistit the country, try Aitmatov's Farewell Gul'sary.

I am looking forward to Papau New Guinea when you get there.

message 18: by Mome_Rath (new)

Mome_Rath | 1491 comments I actually considered Farewell Gul'sary when it came time for Kyrgyzstan, but opted for Jamilia since it would arrive sooner. I'll keep the former in mind for another read by Aitmatov. Thanks for the recommendation!

message 19: by Mome_Rath (last edited Aug 29, 2018 08:00PM) (new)

Mome_Rath | 1491 comments August

Random Country #8: Haiti

Random fact about Haiti: Haiti is the second oldest independent nation still in existence in the Western Hemisphere, after the United States.

Book read for Haiti: Moonbath by Yanick Lahens

Does Haiti's status as the second oldest independent nation in the Western Hemisphere come into play in the book? Not really, though there are discussions about US-Haitian relations.

Random excerpt from page 121:
It is we who break the bars of the prisons for our brothers
Hate at our heels...
His song ended in a restrained sob:
And the hunger that pushes us, the misery

Did I enjoy the book? No, I can't say that I did. But it was short.

message 20: by Mome_Rath (new)

Mome_Rath | 1491 comments September

Random Country #9: Moldova

Random fact about Moldova: Moldova is home to the world's largest wine cellar.

Book read for Moldova: The Good Life Elsewhere by Vladimir Lorchenkov

Does the world's largest wine cellar show up in the book? No, but one of the characters makes wine; she has the most tragic story in this dark comedy.

Random excerpt from page 37:
"And so, what we've got to do is choose a rare sport. Take it up. And play our way to Italy."

Did I enjoy the book? Oh yes -- the satire was strong in this book, though a couple of times it veered just a bit too dark for me.

message 21: by Mome_Rath (last edited Oct 31, 2018 04:12PM) (new)

Mome_Rath | 1491 comments October

Random Country #10: Paraguay

Random fact about Paraguay: Duels with pistols are still legal, so long as a doctor is on hand and both duelers are registered blood donors.

Book read for Paraguay: I, the Supreme by Augusto Roa Bastos

Do duels take place in the book? Not that I remember. Just a lot of cruel executions, imprisonments, banishments, and threats of the same.

Random excerpt from page 411:
Throw out that dirty, stinking water Patiño. Change it. Sire, with your permission, I'd really rather just leave it in the basin for now. It's taken on the shape of my feet by this time. If I change it I don't know what might happen.

Did I enjoy the book? No, no, a thousand times no. This long book gets a short dismissal from me.

message 22: by Laurie (new)

Laurie | 633 comments What book for Paraguay did you read? I don't see a title.

message 23: by Mome_Rath (new)

Mome_Rath | 1491 comments Ah -- good point. I'll correct it now!

message 24: by Mome_Rath (last edited Nov 04, 2018 01:46PM) (new)

Mome_Rath | 1491 comments November

Random Country #11: Malta

Random fact about Malta: The Maltese Cross, introduced to Malta by the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, also gives its name to Malta's only university.

Book read for Malta: The Lie. A Novel from Malta by Oliver Friggieri

Does the Maltese Cross show up in the book? Nope. But the Catholic church plays quite a big role.

Random excerpt from page 52:
Not a single sound came from his mouth, but he had to ask himself: what would I do if Anna died? Do I want her dead? He conjured up an image of her in a winding sheet, her head straight, and two long candles, burning, one on either side of her...

Did I enjoy the book? It was a rather simple tale of a man caught in a loveless marriage who starts an affair, upsetting the social mores of two traditional villages in Malta. It was a perfectly average book.

message 25: by Mome_Rath (new)

Mome_Rath | 1491 comments And finished!


Random Country #12: Papua New Guinea

Random fact about Papua New Guinea: One of the world's only poisonous birds, the hooded pitohui, can be found in Papua New Guinea.

Book read for Papua New Guinea: Paper Lady by Judith Hollinshed

Are there poisonous birds in the book? No, there aren't. And although there are deaths by knife and car, I can't remember anyone dying from poison.

Random excerpt from page 99:
Jo Hilder walked across to them, coffee cup in hand. As a "kiap" Graeme had spent much time in the Baiyer Valley over the years and regarded the Hilders as close friends.
"My favourite lady" he smiled at Jo. "You've had a chance to chat with Diana?"
"I have, and I believe she'll be coming down to us in the weekend, so we'll be seeing a bit more of her before she leaves."
"I will be?" Diana hadn't heard about it.

Did I enjoy the book? The premise was intriguing, as plantation owners adapted to post-colonial life in Papua New Guinea, but I wish the author had spent a little more time honing the story.

back to top