Around the World in 80+ Books, Part 7

I love this part of the world, and I hope you enjoy it too. Slurp down those drinks in half a coconut with the fruit and umbrellas, and off we go. I’ll tip the waiter.

121. Jamaica. Errol Flynn. Sigh. When the film roles stopped for him, he bought an island near Jamaica and had wild parties. The Pirate’s Daughter is a blend of fiction and real life, the story of a young, impressionable girl who loves Errol, and bears him a daughter. A tale of both mother and daughter, and the independence struggle of the country. The Pirate’s Daughter by Margaret Cezair Thompson.

122. Belize. Take a young woman who wants a chance to live, a backpack life style, and a beautiful land, add inspiring moments, and you have Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard. This book is well liked by those who reviewed it, and includes real life experiences that the author had while backpacking across Central America.

123. El Salvador. Most of the novels set in this country are full of war, tyrants, and other sad things. In hoping to present a more uplifting story, I found What You Can’t Live Without by Eden Winters. I am not going to explore the reason that so many male/male romances are written by women. It’s just a fact. Like New York is up all night and small towns roll up their sidewalks at sunset. No one questions these facts, okay? And this romance choked me up just reading the summary. Love is love, and that’s a fact.

124. Colombia. Some miles to go before we get to the happy and carefree Caribbean again, but at least we can consider a classic here. Gabriel Garcia Marquez writes funny erotica, at least in this novel. The reviews range from the saddest book I’ve ever read to masterful and luminous. At 90 years old, a man has never felt true love. Rather leaving it to the last minute, but he has a plan. Memoirs of My Melancholy Whores by Marquez.

125. Venezuela. There’s a truism that Romances are all formulaic, stamped out one after the other using the same characters and plots. Hush by Cherry Adair is the first in a series called the Lodestone Trilogy. This is a suspenseful, extreme thrills and chills plot, nothing like most of the romances I’ve read. But it has sex in the jungle! And the readers’ reviews all liked it. Even the one reviewer who did not like the whole book was digging it to begin with.

126. Guyana. Write what you know. If you are a mixed race child in a world that can’t fit you into one slot or the other, then perhaps you write about the violence, the vice and brutality of the world where you grow up. Children of Kaywana by Edgar Mittelholzer begins the Kaywana Saga, a harsh look at natives dominated by European colonists, willing or not.

127. Suriname. Another country colonized bu Europeans and run through slavery. The book I chose originally was published in Dutch, with a title that translates to How Dear Was the Sugar? Dear in the sense of the lives required to manufacture the substance. And sugar has had the last laugh, poisoning so many of the colonists’ descendants. The Cost of Sugar by Cynthia McLeod is compelling and easy to read.

128. French Guiana. From slaves to a penal colony! I think we were overcharged for this tour. The Governor’s Daughter by Paule Constant examines the development of a young girl whose parents are fanatically religious and whose only friends are the prisoners. The only review suggests abandoning it after the first 60 pages, but still ranked it 3 out of 5 stars.

129. Ecuador. In a small and impoverished Andean village, a girl is sold to a rich upper-class family to work as their house slave. It’s not a fun life, but not much different, I would think, than working in the fields near the village all day long. And there’s no hint of the husband making sexual advances on the girl, so it could have been much worse. However, The Queen of Water is based on the real life of Marie Virginia Farinanigo as told to Laura Resau. I just want to know how she became queen.

130. Peru. Indians, archeologists, and a journalist investigating the crimes of the past. This true story caught my eye with a humorous title, Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams. Mix in a little Romancing the Stone, a little Indiana Jones, and a little Crocodile Dundee, but make it real. Reviewers say that reading it makes you want to go to Machu Picchu, so I need to wait until I can afford the trip.

131. Brazil. You don’t hear much about what’s going on in Brazil these days. Oh, they do that Mardi Gras thing once a year, and there’s the odd sporting event. (Seriously, as Mexico is my next door neighbor, I am thrilled with the success of El Tri!) Hot Rio Nights by Stella Price and Audra Price is an erotic paranormal romance. Most of rthe reviewers love it, but one stated the editing was so bad she had to stop reading. I wonder if they used that faulty transcription software that read arms as ass? That would be difficult to read, wouldn’t it?

132. Bolivar. By now, you have picked up that besides romance and porn and pirates, I also enjoy stories where a young person has to deal with and make the best of horrible circumstances. So this title won’t surprise you at all. I Am a Taxi by Deborah Ellis chronicles a 12-year-old boy’s family as the traditional crop they raise, coca used for medicinal purposes, is made illegal, and his parents go to jail. Son Diego can come and go as he pleases, working as a Taxi for the prisoners to earn some money. Of course, there is a lot of conflict and strife as Diego learns an important lesson about life.

133. Paraguay. Amusing typo in the Goodreads summary says this book is set in 1297 when natives meet Europeans. Quickly consulting my history jingles, I remembered Columbus sailed the ocean blue in Fourteen Hundred and Ninety-two. So, yeah, Land Without Evil by Matthew J. Pallmary doea not involve time travel. Too bad, but it does involve a young man caught between two cultures and a tribe who no longer exist on this earthly plane. One reader marked it as the highlight of his reading year.

134. Chile. By Night in Chile by Roberto Bolaño tells the many interesting tales taken from the life of a Jesuit priest on his deathbed. One reviewer says it reads like muscular poetry. I admire the author for the fact that he worked hard labor jobs during the day and wrote at night. That gets him on my list of heroic writers.

135. Argentina. Near the border with Paraguay, a lot of stuff happens in a town that may or may not be Corrientes. A man who is from two cultures is mixed up in some thrilling events. The Honorary Consul by Graham Greene is told with humor in a stimulating, quirky narrative. Greene wrote this late in his career, and it has less of a following than his other works, but seems well worth the look.

136. Uruguay. It’s very common to find book “descriptions” that tell you this was written with humor and passion, an ironic world view, using parables and paradox. Nice to know, but what’s it about? Most important, are there pirates or time travelers? The Book of Embraces by Eduardo Galeano is a collection of short stories, so it is difficult to say it’s about any one thing. And the reviews are not very helpful, as most of them are in other languages. However, one English speaker does say this is one of very few books she recommends to others. We’ll go with that.

137. The Falklands. Yeah, just about everything that takes place on these little blips of land deals with that war. The one where the British put their national foot down and did not surrender the colony. There were other islands involved, but they didn’t get their names in the war title, so only a few thousand people know about it. I’m making light of a very heavy subject, and it’s not my intention to belittle anyone who has experienced this or any other war event. And that is why Walking Tall: An Autobiography by Simon Weston is the book I chose. This Welshman experienced true horror, and has the fortitude to relive it all in the writing of this book. He has other books continuing on from this, about his continuing progress. The next time I feel sorry for myself for any reason, I’m going to read this one.

138. Antarctica. South Pole adventures abound, especially in the realm of horror. I imagine the come from the brains of people who hate winter. Subterranean by James Rollins is classed as a thriller and an adventure novel. There’s lots of room for a romance here, but it’s not on the list. The mystery as old as time aspect makes me wonder, though. Very mixed reviews, comparing it to Jurassic Park with snow and more like Fraggle Rock. I’m thinking the author (who has a bunch of popular thrillers in print) tried to write something different, and the fans were not amused. (Born in Chicago. I rest my case.)

139. New Zealand. I’ve always wanted to visit this country, maybe even emigrate there if we get closer to nuclear war in my lifetime. Seems New Zealand is most likely to survive the fallout. I also want to read The Spanish Helmet by Greg Scowen. The problem with what we know about the past is that it’s mostly circumstantial evidence. We could inadvertently believe and “know” a whole lot of stuff that just isn’t so. That’s the basis for this adventure tale. Because if someone stands to lose big in the revelation of the truth, they might do whatever it takes to stop that revelation. The first book in the Dr. Matthew Cameron series.

140. Tasmania. Again, as your tour guide, I’m invoking literary license and making Tasmania a separate country. And I’m going to list two books. Because I can. The first one is Thyla by Kate Gordon. A Young Adult novel about a girl whose memory is missing for the most part, the book is listed as fantasy, paranormal, and a bit down the list, romance. Like the whole plot idea, as did most of the reviewers. Gould’s Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish by Richard Flanagan takes place in the most brutal penal colony in the British Empire (who votes these things?) and is not a wildlife book. Billy Gould draws fish as a way to keep sane and alive while incarcerated. Mixed reviews, but many of them! That says something in itself. And one even mentions man’s inhumanity to man.

Now we will rest here on this huge, primitive island until heading over to Van Dieman’s Land next Sunday. Look for a few paragraphs of my Regency erotica on Wednesday. Nothing too explicit, just the set-up. Happy Father’s Day in the United States!


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