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Archive for July, 2007

Slow Travel – Mari Rhydwen

Slow Travel is autobiographical, in that is the story of Mari and Allen and the packing up of their normal lives, buying a yacht and sailing around the Indian Ocean for 3 years. 

They set out with next to no sailing experience, which would

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appear somewhat foolish to say the least, but they seem to gain a rapid introduction to ocean sailing and poor weather in their first foray off the coast of Western Australia.

Its a good book, in particular because it deals with alot of the aspects of ocean sailing that you either would not have thought of, or if you had thought, didn’t know how that particular thing was done or dealt with so far from civilisation and solid land.  It’s a practical book in some ways, but far from ever being boring.

In fact their story is inspirational more than anything else.

I’m almost inspired to go sell my possessions, buy a yacht and set sail into the great wide ocean. (with great fear of the many frightening events that might occur as did in Slow Travel.)

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The Shadow of the Sun – Ryszard Kapuściński

Those that have seen my bookshelf will know that I’m a sucker for the writing of a foreign correspondent.
Perhaps its an unfullfilled personal desire. :-)

It generally doesn’t make a lot of difference where the correspondent is posted, although strange, dangerous or remote lands seem to make a more frequent showing on my bookshelf than those that have been posted to say, London, Berlin or New York.

Hence it probably comes as little surprise to hear that I just finished reading Kapuściński’s book ”The Shadow of the Sun

I had never heard of Kapuściński, until a neighbour showed me his book titled “The Soccer War“.  After reading half a chapter of that book, I realised I needed to find out more and read some more of this author.

The Shadow of the Sun is a loosely arranged but detailed collection of Kapuściński’s essays and notes from his time spent as a news correspondent posted to the continent of Africa.
Kapuściński gets in amongst the real Africa. Shunning life with the privileged whites, their servants and stately homes; he lives among the African people, gaining a deep understanding for the many African ways of life.  He shares those experiences in The Shadow of the Sun with detailed and colourful language that describes various African nation states at war, at peace and times of infinite despair.

Kapuściński’s intelligence and depth of knowledge, 30 years in Africa; shows in his writing as he details the characters he meets and associates with. You get a real sense that you begin to know the people he describes and understand their circumstances and thinking.
And he does

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this with all the associated risks and while barely staying alive.

The Shadow of the Sun is one of the best books on Africa that I’ve had the pleasure of reading.

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News of a Kidnapping – Gabriel García Márquez

Recently finished reading my second García Márquez book, News of a Kidnapping.  Riveting stuff.

News of a Kidnapping tells the story of a number of kidnappings carried out in 1990 by the Colombian cocaine cartel, Medellin; led by billionare drug baron, Pablo Escobar.

García Márquez, in

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his amazing way with words, describes with intricate detail the effects the kidnappings have on the victims. He draws you into the depths of Escobar’s cruel mind and gives an good look at the sociological issues the kidnappings bring about and details the political control that Escobar exerted on all aspects of Colombian society during that time.

Drawn from interviews, diaries, media reports and other sources, it is a frightening yet tremendously insightful look at the history of the country during a very painful period in Colombia.

For anyone with the slightest interest in recent Colombian history and society it is a valuable read.

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