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Around The World In Five Books

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by Romy Page (subscribe)
Writer. TV producer. Film maker. Mum. Lovely food vs a great wine? Don't ask me to choose... This is me:
Published January 23rd 2017
Read Your Way Around The World

'A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.' William Styron

What if you want to explore the world but you are in between travels? If you could go anywhere, where would you go? What would you find? Who would you meet? What would you learn? These are just five of many fantastic books that, as all great books do, allow us to get lost in another world, to be brought in to a different time and place by those who inhabit it.

Around The World In Five Books
Around The World In Five Books

Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away by Christie Watson
Told through the eyes of twelve year old Blessing, this is the story of a family forced to leave their privileged life in Lagos when Blessing's mother finds her father in bed with another woman. With her fourteen year old brother Ezikiel, Blessing and her mother are must move in with her grandparents in a small village in the Niger Delta. Leaving behind running water and electricity, Blessing enters a world she could have barely imagined, one that fills her with horror. In a moment, Blessing's life changes beyond recognition. It is her grandmother who becomes her rock and her guide in this new world. Learning the art of midwifery from her grandmother, Blessing comes sees the awfulness of genital mutilation first hand. Slowly, she discovers a world that is caught between the old traditions and the perils of modern life and she must find her own place in it.

Marching Powder by Rusty Young
This novel tells the true story of Thomas McFadden, an English drug trafficker, who did time in Bolivia's notorious San Pedro prison. This infamous jail is a den of corruption, where money is the key to survival and cocaine is made on site and sold on the outside. Prisoners must buy their own cells. There are shops and restaurants. There is a section where prisoners live with their wives and children. On the inside, Thomas McFadden made a living by giving intrepid backpackers a personal tour of the prison. Thomas became so well known that he was even mentioned in the Bolivia Lonely Planet. Australian Rusty Young was backpacking around South America when he heard about Thomas and his tours. Joining a tour, the two men instantly became friends and Rusty lived with Thomas for three months, allowing him to write this book. Marching Powder is a riveting story of survival, of confinement and freedom, of corruption and of the South American drug culture.

When Heaven and Earth Changed Places by Le Ly Hayslip
This is Le Ly Hayslip's personal account about living through the Vietnam War as a young girl, fleeing to the United States and then returning more than 15 years later. The story begins and, in a way, ends with Ky La, the small village that Le Ly grew up in, that held shifting allegiances to the north and south of Vietnam during the war. Both sides recruited children from her village to their causes. Le Ly was among them. She experienced the full horror of war from imprisonment to torture to rape to the loss of those closest to her. Le Ly is a survivor, a brave woman with a devastating and haunting story. Don't let the film put you off.

Memoirs Of A Geisha by Arthur Golden
This novel is the fictional story of one of Japan's most celebrated geisha. Aged nine, Chiyo Sakamoto is forced to leave her home when she is sold to a geisha boarding house in Kyoto. Through her relationships, friendships and rivalries, we gain an enchanting and intriguing insight into a fragile world dominated by appearances and power. There is as much a romanticism about this world as there is an ugliness. It's a world that could all come crashing down on the twist of a knife. This is a unique and extraordinary book that takes us on an incredible journey through the world of the geisha in 1930s Japan.

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
This is a beautifully written masterpiece about the Lamberts, a dysfunctional family from the American midwest. It charts the story of elderly parents, Enid and Alfred, and their three grown up children. Alfred is suffering from Parkinson's Disease and his wife Enid wants the family to spend one last Christmas together. This is a superb book that embraces the sadness, the humour, the failures and the neuroses of modern western life. Read more about that here: Which Five Books Changed Your Life?
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Why? To immerse yourself in another world
When: Anytime
Where: Anywhere
Cost: The cost of a book
Your Comment
A great article Romy. Books have the power to take you anywhere.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|8059) 1496 days ago
Thanks Gayle. There are so many to choose from, it was hard to pick!
by Romy Page (score: 2|308) 1496 days ago
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