Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Read The World - Only God Can Make A Tree - St. Kitts and Nevis

Book: Only God Can Make A Tree
Author: Bertram Roach
Pages: 136
Book takes place in the country: YES
Author is from the country: YES
I have visited: NO

This is my 94th read for the year

This is mostly the story of Adrian - the son of a black mother from the Caribbean and a white, Irish father.  Though he works on the land as a highered hand, he longs for better social status.  He falls in love with a girl named Julia.  He feels that she is the love of his life, but she will not improve his social standing.  The other woman in his life is Alice - the daughter of his boss.  She is beautiful, and wealthy, and in love with Adrian.  But Adrian knows it would ruin him to be with her - he would never work again.  So they keep their relationship a secret.

Adrian's decisions with these two women, and their families, change the course of all of their lives forever.  The harsh realities of Adrian's background get in the way of him living the life he desires.

This book wasn't great.  It was not well written, and so it didn't hold my attention.  I found myself skimming certain paragraphs because it read more like a manual than a story.  It also jumped all over the place - too many small side stories that didn't really need to be introduced in such a short book.  Too many tangents.

There isn't a lot from this country, so it will probably stay at as my book for now.  But I may continue to search.

Stars: 2

Monday, August 19, 2019

Read The World - Senegal - So Long A Letter

Book: So Long A Letter
Author: Mariama Ba
Pages: 96
Book takes place in the country: YES
Author is from the country: YES
I have visited: NO

This is my 93rd read for the year

This was a short book, so I read it on a Sunday afternoon. 

This is the story of Ramatoulaye.  She is writing a letter to her friend, Aissatou.  In between we learn a little about why she is writing the letter - why Aissatou now lives far away.  Ramatoulaye writes as her husband has passed away from a heart attack, and recounts their lives together.  How they met, the children they had, and then ultimately how he betrayed her by taking a second wife.  When her husband dies, Ramatoulaye relays how she longs to be free of the customs of her people (polygamy) and longs for a different way of life.  She wishes for her children to have different futures.  As she hopes she will find love again, she realizes that she doesn't need a man to make her life fulfilled.

This is a very short, but very full novel.  I am always pleased when an author can pack a whole love of information and character development in under 100 pages.  That takes true talent.  I was able to make attachments to the characters she brings forth and become invested in their stories.  Bravo.

I recommend this book.  You will find it rewarding.

Stars: 4 1/2

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Read The World - Sri Lanka - Island of a Thousand Mirrors

Book: Island of a Thousand Mirrors
Author: Nayomi Munaweera
Pages: 288
Book takes place in the country: YES
Author is from the country: YES
I have visited: NO

This is my 92 read for the year

I have read 105 books in my Read The World Challenge so far (97 to go). I have learned incredible amounts about our world, and am reminded how lucky I am.  I encourage you to read about the world outside your own.

This is a fictional story based around the Sri Lanka civil war.  It is the story of the Tamil and Sinhala people and two women who grew up on either side of the war.  The main character - Yasodhara begins the story several generations before she is born to show the development of her family in Sri Lanka up until when Yasodhara is a grown woman.  She begins the story with her father as a child, and develops on how he met Yasodhara's mother, their move to the United States when the civil war begins to brew, and then Yasodhara and her sister's return to Sri Lanka to rediscover their roots.  A tragedy leads Yasodhara to return back to the United States to try and forget the past - knowing that can never be true.  When the civil war finally ends, Yasodhara starts to find peace with her past and knows that it is time to move on.

On the Tamil side there is Saraswarthi who takes a very different path after she is captured and tortured.  Once dreaming of becoming a teacher, Saraswarthi's path is changed due to her capture, and she joins the movement and becomes a soldier for the civil war.  The choices she makes will haunt both of these families forever.

This was a great book.  It is well written and well told.  It isn't a very long book, so I found myself reading late into the night to finish it.  You becomes very invested in the characters on both sides of this story as you watch their paths intertwine, separate, and then intertwine again.

I encourage you to read this book.  Though a fictional story, it gives you some insight into the Sri Lanka civil war and what the citizens went through during that time.

Stars: 4 1/2

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Read The World - Vanuatu - Getting Stoned with Savages

Book: Getting Stoned With Savages
Author: J. Maarten Troost
Pages: 239
Book takes place in the country: YES
Author is from the country: NO (but he lived there)
I have visited: NO

This is my 91st read for the year.

This is the author's own story of the time he lived on Vanuatu.  He had lived previously in Kiribati, but moved back to Washington DC with his wife to resume the grueling life of a big city.  He continuously wanted to return to the South Pacific, and he finally got his wish.  His wife got a job transfer, and the two of them found themselves on the island of Vanuatu.

The author recounts his time on the islands - writing his book and learning about the people.  He indulges in the local hallucinogen, kava, finds out that a lot of people on the island used to be cannibals, encounters foot long venamous centipedes, and tries desperately to get swept up in island life once again.

When his wife gets pregnant, they leave Vanuatu for Fiji, thinking this would be a better place to raise a child.  The last 90 pages or so talk about their lives there before they return to the United States for good.

This book is hilarious.  I have another one of his books on my life (Sex Lives of Cannibals) and now that I have read this one - I cannot wait to read the other.  I found myself laughing out loud at some of the people or situations he encountered while deep in the jungles of Vanuatu.  

This was a great read.  It ticked off my box for Vanuatu (not a lot of books out there about this country) but I would have enjoyed this book regardless.  I encourage you to try it.

Stars: 4 1/2

Monday, August 12, 2019

Extra Book - Nine Perfect Strangers

Book: Nine Perfect Strangers
Author: Liane Moriarty
Pages: 464

This is my 90th read for the year

We have been in the United States visiting family and traveling for 5 1/2 weeks and my reading went off the rails.  I had no time like I thought I would, and when we finally did sit down, I was so tired that I couldn't bring myself to read.

We returned to Switzerland this past weekend (After a canceled flight, then a missed flight due to a delay - don't get me started), and while traveling I did read a whole book.  And today the kids started back to school, so I should get back on track.

This is the story of nine people who arrive at a health resort.  They all have different reasons for joining this 10 day retreat.  Some want to escape their daily lives, some want to lose weight.  But they have no idea what is in store for them on this "life changing journey" they were promised.

Half way through the retreat, things take a terrible turn, and the strangers are forced to work together to make it out.

This book was just okay.  I do really like this author, but this book fell flat about 3/4 of the way through.  Just unraveled.  This story idea was a great one, but it wasn't executed well.

Stars: 3

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Read The World - Micronesia - The Island of the Sequined Love Nun

Book: The Island of the Sequined Love Nun
Author: Christopher Moore
Pages: 336
Book takes place in the country: YES
Author is from the country: NO
I have visited: NO

This is my 89th read for the year

I have been on vacation with the family for the last 7 days, and didn't get as much reading done as I would have liked.  But I did get this audiobook in on the way down and the way back from Lake Norman, NC.  So that was something!

This is the story of Tucker Case.  Tucker was a pilot for a big cosmetic company - that is until he wrecked on of the company's planes while drunk.  Unemployed, and without a pilot's license, Tucker is desparate to work.  He receives a suspicious letter from a missionary in Micronesia who knows who he is, but wants him to fly for them anyway.  The job would pay enormously well - flying medical supplies for 2 years.  Tucker - being desparate - accepts the job, and thus sets off on a whirlwind journey on this small island.  The medical supplies are suspicious, the work of the missionaries is shady.  Tucker plans on getting to the bottom of what is going on, and works to redeem himself by helping the people of Micronesia.

This is a cute book.  IT is silly and an easy read, and it really passed the 16 hours I had traveling in the car.  The audiobook version was a good one - the reader was excellent.  It really help my attention.  I enjoyed it and I hope to read a few more books by this author in the future.

Stars: 4

Friday, July 19, 2019

Read The World - Tanzania - The Snows Of Kilimijaro

Book: The Snows of Kilimijaro
Author: Ernest Hemingway
Pages: 154
Book takes place in the country:  BARELY
Author is from the country: NO
I have visited: NO

This is my 88th read for the year

Hmmmmm - this book.  I don't think it was every 50% in the country of Tanzania, but when you search for Tanzanian books - this is the first to come up.  I thought it would be good because....Ernest Hemingway.  But I think I am going to have to search for something else.

This is a collection of short stories.  The first story, and I THINK the last took place in Tanzania.  All the other stories were collections from around the world.  The stories were decent - typical short stories - but nothing that really thrilled me.  They were just fine.  I think I will be finding another book for this category.

Stars: 3