Today I’m featuring the last five books of the list for the Book Tube Spin on 31 January. Without further adieu….. Let’s begin.
16. How To Travel Without Seeing by Andrés Neuman. This author was born in Argentina and grew up in Spain. Lamenting not having more time to get to know each of the 19 countries he visits after winning the prestigious Premio Alfaguara, Andrés Neuman begins to suspect that world travel consists mostly of “not seeing.” But then he realizes that the fleeting nature of his trip provides hin with a unique opportunity: touring and comparing every country of Latin America in a single stroke. Neuman writes on the move, described as a kinetic work that is at once puckish and poetic, aphoristic and brimming with curiosity. Even so called non places- airports, hotels, taxis – are turned into powerful symbols full of meaning. He investigates the artistic lifeblood of Latin America, tacklig with gusto not only literary heavyweights such as Bolaño, Vargas Llosa, Lorca, and Geleano, but also an emerging generation of authors and filmmakers wose impact is now making ripples worldwide. (paraphrased from back cover).
17. Lost Paradise by Dutch novelist, Cees Nooteboom. Alma and Almut share a fascination for Australia and its ancient peoples; their ceremonies, sand drawings and body paintings. After Alma suffers a traumatic attack, they board a cheap flight from São Paulo to Sydney, and together begin their journey across their secret continent. Alma slowly recovers through a brief love affair with an Aboriginal artist, and both women become involved with the Angel Project in Perth, where actors dressed as angels are concealed around the city for the public to discover. I bought this book as it sounds imaginative and very unusual.
18. I have always been attracted to the publishers descriptions of Marilyn Robinson’s books but not yet read one. I have read reviews of this book and it sounds really interesting. Housekeeping published in 1980. This copy is a Faber Modern Classic and was picked up second hand in an op shop.
It states: Abandoned by a succession of relatives, orphaned sisters Ruthie and Lucille find themselves in the care of their eccentric aunt Sylvie in their rural home town of Idaho. Ruth narrates the sisters’ story as Lucille moves out into the world and Ruthie falls further back into her own family’s dark past. Against the stunning backdro of a bleak wintery landscape in a small desolate town, Marilynne Robinson’s first novel is a powerful portrayal of loss, loneliness and the struggle towards adulthood.
19. Red Lead: The Naval Cat with Nine Lives, an Australian non fiction book by Roland Perry. I have mentioned this book previously and have begun reading it but was then distracted by events at the end of last year. I had not picked it back up again but do think about it so will continue with it.
The story goes: Australia’s most renowned Cruiser, HMAS Perth was sunk by Japanese naval forces in the Sunda Strait off the coast of Java. Of the 681 men aboard, 328 survived the sinking and made it to shore. And one cat. Her name was Red Lead, and she was the ship’s cat, beloved by the crew.
However surviving shellfire, torpedoes and the fierce currents of the Strait was only the beginning of what they would face during the next 3 1/2 years. From Java to Changi and then on the Thai Burma Railway, red Lead was their companion.
It is an amazing tale of a cat who survives this ordeal and goes on to live for 24 years before her passing in Australia. Sorry, I had to read the last pages before I bought their as I don’t like surprises with animal tales.
20. Last but not least is a book of Aboriginal Narratives and poems entitled The Nearest the White Man Gets: Aboriginal Narratives and Poems of New South Wales collected by Roland Robinson. Published in 1989, this was a one dollar bargain from a sale bin in an op shop. It is a short book and could be read in an hour. I needed one shorter book on this list. It looks a charming little book and I have not read much, if any indigenous poetry so should enjoy it.
Well….there you have it. A good list I think of 20 books from my shelves. I must say, having pulled these books randomly off the shelves does show me what lovely tales of travel, adventure, heartache and laughs await and I think I will begin on this list with or without the Spin at the end of the month.
Once read I can move them on to their place in the broader world so we’ll see how I go on this pile of books during the next two months set aside to read.
Let me know if you’ve read any of these and can remark on them. Until next time…