Friday finds

It’s been a long time since I’ve done Friday Finds mostly because of the lack of time to read other blogs and browse book sites. But lately I’ve had some free time at work and since a few book sites are not blocked I could spend some time catching up. Unfortunately blogs are still blocked, so can’t do anything about that. Anyway, these are the books that caught my attention-2 are non-fiction and 2 are fiction. The books are linked to the sites where I found them – Book Depository and GoodReads

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children By Ransom Riggs (Fiction)

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here – one of whom was his own grandfather – were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow – impossible though it seems – they may still be alive. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

Blood River: A Journey to Africa’s Broken Heart by Tim Butcher (non-fiction)

It has a very nice site too
Description: A journalist for the UK’s Daily Telegraph, Butcher undertook a hazardous African trip in 2004, traveling from Lake Tanganyika to the Atlantic Ocean via the Congo River. And he did not travel via foreigners’ usual conveyance in Africa—aircraft—but overland by motorbike, dugout canoe, and UN patrol boat. This account of his six-week-long journey proves to be an exceptionally gripping example of travel writing, not only because of its roster of obstacles surmounted by the resourceful traveler but also because of its empathy for those who assisted Butcher in passing through the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Encountering ordinary Congolese, staff of the UN and humanitarian agencies, and elderly holdovers from the Belgian colonial era, Butcher catches their life stories as he recounts the historical waypoints (such as Henry Stanley’s 1874–77 exploration, whose route Butcher followed) in Congo’s connection to and postcolonial detachment from the modern world, symbolized in dilapidated sights such as crumbling post offices and hulks of river boats. Depicting the country’s dire physical plight and lawless corruption, Butcher delivers an unblinking firsthand portrait of contemporary Congo. (from booklist)

Goodbye Sarajevo: A True Story of Courage, Love and Survival by Atka Reid, Hana Schofield (non-fiction0

Description: May, 1992. Hana is twelve years old when she is put on one of the last UN evacuation buses fleeing the besieged city of Sarajevo. Her twenty-one-year-old sister, Atka, staying behind to look after their five younger siblings, is there to say goodbye. Thinking that they will be apart for only a few weeks, they make a promise to each other to be brave. But as the Bosnian war escalates and months go by without contact, their promise to each other becomes deeply significant. Hana is forced to cope as a refugee in Croatia, far away from home and family, while Atka battles for survival in a city where snipers, mortar attacks and desperate food shortages are a part of everyday life. Their mother, working for a humanitarian aid organisation, is unable to reach them and their father retreats inside himself, shocked at what is happening to his city. In Sarajevo, death lurks in every corner and shakes the foundation of their existence. One day their beloved uncle is killed while queuing up for bread in the market square, in a massacre similar to the one three months earlier which prompted a cellist to make a lone musical protest in the deserted streets. But when Atka finds work as a translator in an old, smoky radio station, and then with a photojournalist from New Zealand, life takes an unexpected turn, and the remarkable events that follow change her life, and those of her family, forever. Set in the middle of the bloodiest European conflict since the Second World War, “Goodbye Sarajevo” is a moving and compelling true story of courage, hope and extraordinary human kindness.

The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico by Sarah McCoy (fiction)

Description: It is 1961 and Puerto Rico is trapped in a tug-of-war between those who want to stay connected to the United States and those who are fighting for independence. For eleven-year-old Verdita Ortiz-Santiago, the struggle for independence is a battle fought much closer to home. Verdita has always been safe and secure in her sleepy mountain town, far from the excitement of the capital city of San Juan or the glittering shores of the United States, where her older cousin lives. She will be a señorita soon, which, as her mother reminds her, means that she will be expected to cook and clean, go to Mass every day, choose arroz con pollo over hamburguesas, and give up her love for Elvis. And yet, as much as Verdita longs to escape this seemingly inevitable future and become a blond American bombshell, she is still a young girl who is scared by late-night stories of the chupacabra, who wishes her mother would still rub her back and sing her a lullaby, and who is both ashamed and exhilarated by her changing body.

Friday finds: Stupid Cupid

I’m not a fan of the cover nor the title but I loved Mamang Dai’s first novel ‘Legends of Pensam’ (Review). When I saw this book on Twistntales regular updates I knew I had to get it. Unfortunately I don’t think this book would be available here but its going to be the first book I buy when I go home for a visit.

Here’s what the book is about (from Penguin books)

‘I had set up as an agent. For want of a better name, let’s call it a love agency, to provide a decent meeting place where men and women, lovers and friends, could rendezvous without too much sweat…. People only want to be alone together. They need time to meet and talk. They want to find themselves through a moment of love.’

Drawn to New Delhi from the hills of the North East by hopes of adventure and the love of a married man, Adna opens a guest house for lovers and friends. In a small bungalow on a quiet lane, an unlikely assortment of couples and singles come together, for an afternoon, a day and sometimes for months. While in the big city death, like Cupid, stalks the streets and strikes at random.

This second novel by the acclaimed author of The Legends of Pensam is a graceful, quirky and ultimately moving story about relationships, complete with all their complications and joy.

Friday Finds – Aug 28

This Friday I’m featuring 3 teen memoirs which sound like fun. Besides, I love the covers too. I don’t remember where I’ve seen them. So sorry cannot link it anywhere.

emilyEmily by Emily Smucker
Emily’s the sick one . . . all of the time.
Plagued with some sort of cold or fever or bizarre aches and pains for much of her life, Emily thought the dizziness and stomachaches at the start of her senior year were just another bout of “Emily flu.” But when they didn’t go away, she knew something was seriously wrong. Eventually diagnosed with the rare and incurable West Nile virus, Emily watched her senior year and the future she had planned for go up in smoke.
“I want a normal life for a teenager. I want to ache from a long day at work. I want to be so busy that I don’t have time to post on my blog. I want to run the race of life instead of being pushed along it in a wheelchair. I want to be on the ride of my life, you know?”

marniMarni by Marni Bates
Marni pulls. Pulls her hair, that is.
Unable to deal with the mounting stress at home, in school, and with friends, Marni’s compulsion to pluck out her eyebrows, eyelashes . . . even the hair from the top of her head, helped her to quiet her mind and escape the pressures of the world around her.
Marni first began pulling the summer just before entering high school, and she was immediately hooked. Unfortunately, by the time she discovered that her habit was an actual disorder—trichotillomania or “trich”—it was way too late. “When I stared at the mirror and tried to recognize the girl without eyebrows, eyelashes, and bangs as myself and failed, I knew something had gone horribly wrong.”

chelseyChelsey by Chelsey Shannon
Chelsey was dealth the unthinkable.
When Her Only Surviving Parent, her beloved father, was violently murdered days before her fourteenth birthday, Chelsey’s life was forever changed. As she was forced to come to terms with a new home life, a new school . . . a new identity as an orphan, Chelsey struggled to make sense of her personal tragedy. Yet she found a way to flourish despite all the odds.
“I thought of myself in a new light: a girl, newly fourteen, standing in her dead father’s study, all in black, a single tear streaming down her cheek. I was alone. My family told me again and again I was not, but without him, I was. I was no longer anyone’s child.”

Thats it for now. This Friday finds is driving me crazy, I just want to list every alternate book 🙂

Friday Finds: 14th Aug 2009


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

From GoodReads:

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.