First of all, Happy janmashtami to those who celebrate it.
As regular readers of my tiny blog know that I LOVE memoirs. For today’s Friday Finds I want to highlight only memoirs.
The first 2 were found on Sherry’s blog and the next 2 on Alyce’s blog. They sound absolutely fantastic to me. The Vietnam books looks more like a Travelogue but now a days I feel Travelogue’s are part memoirs too.
Hitchhiking Vietnam by Karin Muller
From GoodReads: For seven months Karin Muller traversed Vietnam–sometimes by motorbike, often by foot–covering 6,400 miles from the Mekong Delta to the Chinese border. Along the way she survives 52 motorbike breakdowns, 14 arrests, and one awful bout with scurvy. She plants rice with farmers, saves a few leopard cubs from the black market, learns to drive a passenger train, and gets to know a lot of people on her Ho Chi Minh Trail trek. Told honestly and humorously, the culture, pace, land, scents, problems, and beauties of Vietnam are evoked as Muller and Vietnam interact. Snippets of letters home (like “I traded some of my antihistamines for Tampax yesterday. What a relief” and “Am I really blood type A? It’s important”) highlight the details, while the strong narrative holds them together. Her pictures are excellent, the story riveting, and the writing a pleasure–good reading for a flight to Asia or a day at the beach.
When Broken Glass Floats by Chanrithi Him
Publisher’s weekly Review: Born in Cambodia in 1965, Him lived from the age of three with the fear of war overflowing from neighboring Vietnam and suffered through the U.S.’s bombing of her native land. However, thanks to her loving and open-minded family, her outlook remained positive–until 1975, when the Khmer Rouge seized control and turned her world upside down. (According to a Cambodian proverb, “broken glass floats” when the world is unbalanced.) Armed with a nearly photographic memory, Him forcefully expresses the utter horror of life under the revolutionary regime. Evacuated from Phnom Penh and and shunted from villages to labor camps, her close-knit family of 12 was decimated: both parents were murdered, and five of her siblings starved or died from treatable illnesses. Meanwhile, the culture of local communities was destroyed and replaced with the simple desire to survive famine. Yet for all their suffering throughout these years, the surviving Hims remained loyal to one another, saving any extra food they collected and making dangerous trips to other camps to share it with weaker family members. Friendships were also formed at great risk, and small favors were exchanged. But by the end of the book, Him finds herself surprised when she encounters remnants of humanity in people, for she has learned to live by mistrusting, by relying on her own wits and strength. When the Khmer Rouge were overthrown, Him moved to a refugee camp in Thailand. Today she works with the Khmer Adolescent Project in Oregon. This beautifully told story is an important addition to the literature of this period.
Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi
In this profoundly affecting memoir from the internationally renowned author of The Caged Virgin, Ayaan Hirsi Ali tells her astonishing life story, from her traditional Muslim childhood in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and Kenya, to her intellectual awakening and activism in the Netherlands, and her current life under armed guard in the West.
One of today’s most admired and controversial political figures, Ayaan Hirsi Ali burst into international headlines following an Islamist’s murder of her colleague, Theo van Gogh, with whom she made the movie Submission.
Ultimately a celebration of triumph over adversity, Hirsi Ali’s story tells how a bright little girl evolved out of dutiful obedience to become an outspoken, pioneering freedom fighter. As Western governments struggle to balance democratic ideals with religious pressures, no story could be timelier or more significant.
Whatever You Do, Don’t Run by Peter Allison
From Amazon: Whatever You Do, Don’t Run is a hilarious collection of true tales from top ¬safari guide Peter Allison. In a place where the wrong behavior could get you eaten, Allison has survived face-to-face encounters with big cats, angry ¬elephants, and the world’s most unpredictable animals—herds of untamed tourists and foolhardy guides whose outrageous antics sometimes make them even more dangerous than a pride of hungry lions!
Join Allison as he faces down charging lions—twice; searches for a drunk, half-naked tourist who happens to be a member of the British royal family; drives a Land Rover full of tourists into a lagoon full of hippos; and adopts the most ¬vicious animal in Africa as his “pet.” Full of lively humor and a genuine love and respect for Botswana and its rich wildlife, Whatever You Do, Don’t Run takes you to where the wild things are and introduces you to a place where every day is a new adventure!
In 1994 Peter Allison set off for a year-long stay in Africa. More than a dozen years and hundreds of adventures later, he’s still leading safaris and collecting stories. Allison’s safaris have been ¬featured in National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, and on television programs such as Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures.
Do you have any memoirs/ Travelogue’s suggestions? I would love to hear them.