I wasn’t sleeping well the last few nights before setting off on our big adventure – a 17-day trip to South Africa! I was too excited/nervous/stressed – I’m sure you know what I mean.
I barely slept on the flights either way.
I also tend to wake up very early on trips (not at home!) so I read quite a bit before the trip, on the trip, and upon returning.
Since arriving home, I have mainly been listening to audiobooks and reading print a bit less – when I have free time I go over my “gazillion” photos! After which I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow…
So, some quick comments on some books:
“Meet Me in Another Life” by Silvey
I wanted a light read for a sleepless night flight and it started off just right. Engaging without demanding too much concentration. Two young people meet over and over again in different versions of their lives.
However, somewhere around the middle, the book became incredibly repetitive and even boring. I didn’t like the ending at all. I don’t even know why I bothered to finish it…
“Lawrence and the Arabs” by Robert Graves
“Lawrence of Arabia”, the film from 1962 was actually one of the options of the in-flight movies. Not only hadn’t I seen it, but had completed the book about him by Graves just a few days before we flew out. I thought it was a stroke of luck!
Well, reading the book made me find the movie sorely lacking and I gave up on it at some point. Now the book, that’s where it’s at. It is FASCINATING!
Just to be clear, I had no particular prior interest in “Lawrence”. But when I saw that the book was by ROBERT GRAVES I knew I had to read it. Graves’ “I Claudius”, which I read years ago, left a big impression on me. His writing is engaging, clear, and down to earth while being informative and well-researched.
Unlike the Roman emperors, Graves actually KNEW the person he was writing about this time, and personally interviewed many of those whose lives crossed paths with Lawrence, including Lawrence’s mother!
Did I say it was FASCINATING?
“Euphoria” by Lily King
This was a good choice as a travel book. It’s engaging and interesting. Three young anthropologists are caught in a love triangle amongst themselves in New Guinea, in the 1930s. Their own lives influence how they live and interact with the native tribes they are studying. while studying /entangling themselves in the cultures of the tribes they are studying. The story is loosely based on Margaret Mead’s character and from what is known about an incident that she was involved in.
The ending was quite dramatic.
A good book but not amazing – not the kind I think about for some time after I have read it.
“Record of a Spaceborn Few” by Becky Chambers
I listened to this as an audiobook (the reader is excellent, it feels like a play).
Chamber’s books are so comforting – yes there are real hardships when living in space and angst, but the overall vibe is optimism. A better society, a more inclusive society can be attained, a better world is possible.
I enjoyed every minute
“Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?” by Frans de Waal
I can tell you right away – the answer is NO WE ARE NOT!
It’s mind-boggling to read of the assumptions people made in an effort to prove, no matter what, that humans are always better and smarter than animals. I’m not a scientist and certainly am no animal expert, but some tales caused me to say “Really? Someone thought that? Someone lectured about it without even observing the animals in the wild”?
I read this after returning (after seeing so many animals it seemed a good choice). The writing is very engaging and accessible to the non-academic public. I found it very interesting yet only read about 75% of the book. The point was very clear and I found that there was a limit to the number of examples of intelligent animal behavior I could take in.
I was convinced!
More books to come in a new post!