Around the World in 80+ Books, Part 10

Why is it that after you buy a new car, you find an article telling you the one you should have bought? Or after you gave all your money to that nice man in Nigeria that you discover it may have been a hoax? So here are ten things to be aware of BEFORE visiting Macau, our last stop on the previous ear lobe of our journey: So, on we go.

181. Hong Kong. As a kid, I was blessed with a sister who worked at the local movie theater. On Saturdays, as often as not, I went to work with her, and took a perverse pleasure in sitting in the front row so that the folks who had waited in line could be surprised that anyone else was in the theater. Good times. However, I saw many movie trailers for films I never saw, and one of the more memorable was The World of Suzie Wong. Sadly, I was not old enough to watch the whole movie, and besides my church at the time didn’t much care for it. Now I have discovered a book on which the movie was based! The timeless story, it says, of the love affair between a British artist and a Chinese prostitute. Hmm. If you say so, but timeless isn’t the first word to come to my mind. Book by Richard Mason.

182. French Polynesia. Tahiti figures in many daydreams of excellent vacation destinations. Living there wouldn’t be half bad either. Frangipani by Celestine Hitiura Vaite explores the relationship between a mother and daughter. I never had a close relationship with my mother after I turned 18, and I have been forced out of my daughter’s life. So I understand the popularity of this book. The consistently high ratings in the reviews is encouraging.

183. Niue. At this point, I ran out of countries I picked up off of Google Maps. I knew there had to be more. However, some people have an odd idea of “country.” Several uninhabited and uninhabitable islands showed up. Niue, however, is beautiful and the world’s smallest country. I wonder how many Niues could fit in Rhode Island? Well, as such, no books showed up as being set there, and that may be a spark of creativity to someone. But then I found this wonderful article on a native son of the island, a self-taught artist who has delved into the world around him and inside him. Great discovery.

184. American Samoa. I know several folks of Samoan ancestry. My part of California is a pretty popular location for islanders, foremost because so many other islanders are already here, I assume. But I never get over the beauty of island people, their voices, their inner peace in the midst of outer turmoil. What a gift they bring with them and pass on to the children. Why would anyone want to leave Samoa? There was a very popular song in the US after World War I. How you gonna keep them down on the farm after they’ve seen Paris? In this case, maybe, after they’ve been on Facebook. Pouliuli by Albert Wendt is a tale of an island community facing modernization.

185. Tuvalu. Many books about island countries are memoirs and real stories. Nothing wrong with that, though I try to avoid the overtly religious just because. Where the Hell Is Tuvalu?: How I Became the Lawman of the World’s Fourth Smallest Country by Phillip Ellis is exactly what the title says it is. The reviews are mixed, and well, people don’t much like lawyers, so that has to be figured into this equation. Read it and make up your own mind.

186. Tonga. I love lobster. I don’t love it enough to live without running water and electricity. How would I recharge my phone or my laptop? However, for some folks, it’s a dream come true. A Farm in the South Pacific Sea by Jan Walker explores this running away from civilization from a woman’s point of view. Mixed reviews, but I will put it on my to read list.

187.Fiji. Can you believe it’s taken this long for me to post a romance? Well, this is a Romantic Suspense, I guess, and not the least of books from the author. The Trouble with Paradise by Jill Shalvis starts with a great heroine, someone many of us can identify with. The woman becomes a klutz when in the presence of an attractive person of the male persuasion. Add a murder, a storm, a ship wreck, and leave me alone with the book for the afternoon.

188. New Caledonia. Frankly, I’m not done with old Caledonia. Highland Way says it best. But eventually all travelers need to move on, or they become settlers. Sometimes settlers are abandoned, and we’ll look at that more closely in a few posts. But in French Sand by Catherine Broughton, we hear the term Doctor of Tropical Diseases. Okay, then! Good thing diseases aren’t transmitted through the written word. One review states that the author knows the setting and that aids in bringing this story to life.

189. Solomon Islands. We have another great non-fiction stop on these islands. Solomon Time: Adventures in the South Pacific by Will Randall. Once a school teacher in civilization, Randall is sent to the islands and finds lots of things that amuse him. One reviewer said there were things to smirk at, but no real plot. I don’t think my life has a plot, but I have been entertained by it.

190. Marshall Islands. And yes, more memoirs. No phone, dim lights, no motorcar. But a wonderful beach, lots of warm people, and a global disaster poised to destroy it all. Surviving Paradise: One Year on a Disappearing Island by Peter Rudiak-Gould is a great look at what global warming means to the most affected by it. I firmly believe that what happens to any one person on the planet happens to all of us.

191.Wake Island. A coming of age, important lessons about life book would be great right about now. Fortunately, James B. Kilpatrick wrote A Little Piece of Heaven: Growing up on Wake Island for us. There are no reviews of the book yet on GoodReads, and few details on the book summary, but I would have loved to grow up somewhere close to military left-over installations.

192. Guam. Even though the only two reviews were written by the author and her best friend, I thought Attitude 13: A Daughter of Guam’s Collection of Short Stories by Tanya Timangelo would be an excellent introduction to the island. Also I had never heard or seen the term Chamorro before. Plus, the author describes herself as a Goddess in training! Amen, Sister!

193. Palau. Most visitors to Palau spend the time there under the beautiful blue sea. I am sure this has nothing to do with the country’s willingness to accept Guantanamo detainees who could no longer be detained due to lack of evidence. I found only one author associated with the island, and he was Japanese. Atsushi Nakajimi only went to Palau to teach, but had very bad asthma and the climate did not agree with him. He died some time after returning to Japan. He wrote about great classical Chinese folktales, legends and histories, which seems to be a popular genre in Japan. So until someone writes a book set on the island, here’s the Moon Over the Mountains.

194. West Papau, New Guinea. Rosemary I. Patterson sounds like someone I would enjoy knowing. Some of her other books have real sparks of humor in the titles alone, and cover such subjects as access for mobility impaired persons, and love of gambling among senior citizens. I just may come back and look at those another time. Today, we are highlighting The Last Wild Place: An Adventure Novel Set in West Papua by this clever lady. No reviews on GoodReads yet, I hope I will be the first!

195. Andorra. If you are a long time Star Trek fan like me, your first thought is that the citizens of this tiny kingdom in the Pyrenees have blue skin. And odd little antennae. The answer is no, but the place still has great scenery and wonderful history. Also if you have studied history in a broad swath rather that specializing in 18th century Scottish rebels, for example, you know weird little trivia such as the Viking warriors got around Europe and were prized guards in Russian courts. So it’s pretty clear that the interbreeding of Scottish and Norse peoples could produce fierce warriors that did not find what they wanted in the Isles, and wandered to, oh let’s suppose, Andorra and kidnap a luscious wench or two. If You Dare by Kresley Cole is the first in a trilogy about the MacCarrick Brothers, and is one of the few books by the author not involving supernatural characters.

196. Anguilla. We are traveling now on no particular route, zipping from one part of the globe to another. Here we are, back in the Caribbean. There are the flip-flops I lost overboard! So it’s very fitting that the book for this island is about people who can travel through time. Ripple Rider: An Anguillan Adventure in Time by Anne Goldfarb presents an interesting concept of time travel, and she will never know why the use of the term “squiggly lines” can render me nearly hysterical.

197. Cayman Islands. Honestly, could you walk past a book titled Cayman Cowboys? No, neither could I. Eric Douglas writes a series called Mike Scott Adventures, and this is the first one. No reviews yet, interestingly enough. The plot involves kidnapping and diving and a possible romance triangle, were this a romance and not an adventure. Yippee-Ky-Yi-Yay, my dears.

198. Clipperton Island. I have to go here, not to stay, not even to get off the boat. Just to say I saw Clipperton. No book, but there’s a great article that chronicles the brief inhabitation of the island, and the sad history thereof. The Tyrant of Clipperton Island by Marisa Brooks is such an awesome story, I have no idea why there’s no movie about it yet. There’s sex and violence and women triumphing in the end. Anyone have Spielberg’s number?

199. The Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea islands. I can’t believe they used kingdom. Anyway, this is a place that doesn’t really exist, kind of like Israel after World War II. This place has a Facebook page, however. This micronation came about when Australia refused to recognize same sex marriages. Australia apparently thinks they are better than Colorado, California, Connecticut, Iowa, New Jersey (REALLY?) and a total of 19 states. Better than Belgium, Norway, South Africa, Sweden (obvious) and France (also obvious), for a total of 17 countries. No book yet, but I would not be too surprised if one is available soon.

200. Gabon. A great place to stop in West Africa. And a great novel about the struggles of old and new traditions, the tragedy of normal life, and the misconceptions of jealous people are to be found in Mema by Daniel M. Mengara. One reviewer had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Mengara in person at a lecture, and assures us he is that one thing we all want in an author. Polite.

We’ll make our usual Wednesday detour and then see what else there is to see in the rest of the world. Have a great week, see you on Sunday.

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