mukikamu

The Armchair Traveler Club

Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

TRAVEL WRITING 1700-1830

Posted by mukikamu on March 18, 2009

I wish I would have bumped into this book sooner! I am reading this anthology about 1700-1830 travel writing and have discovered wonderful authors I haven’t heard about before. It is truly enjoyable to read accounts of 18th-19th century travellers. I find it a really interesting collection and can’t but recommend it as essential for all who like the genre. It doesn’t get boring as it is more like a collection of short stories. Fantastic appetizer for less known travel authors and offers many discoveries to benefit from. I will try to acquaint you with my favourites in more detail. Thank you Elizabeth A. Bohls and Ian Duncan.

travel-writing-1700-18301

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JENS BJERRE: THE LAST CANNIBALS

Posted by mukikamu on December 2, 2008

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I am back on the track of forgotten travel books with Jens Bjerre‘s Last Cannibals. It was an easy and highly enjoyable read.
To give you a taste of it, here is a few things you can learn from the book:

– how native Australians deal with birth control
– why you must never hurry
– how could soldiers drown in the Sahara
– whether there are camels in Australia
– why you should never force people living in houses on water ashore
– how girls in New Guinea solved the etiquette problem of covering their breast before white ladies
– how do cannibals eat a road
– what are the roots of tribal pyromania
– why you should never ever wake a sleeping kukukuku
– what are the rules of dating in the jungle
– which is the most idyllic tropical island of the South Seas
– who was the ‘Flying bishop’

Moreover, here are the new entries in our list of groovy names:
– Hanuabada (village built on water in New Guinea)
– Kukukuku (tribe)
– Kau-kau (potato)
– Momakova (chief of a kukukuku village)
– Jagagaga (chatty old warrior)
– Morombo (tribe)
– Tumbulun (magic flute to scare women)
– Gorogoba (river)
– Morofonu (God)

Posted in ASIA, Australia, AUSTRALIA & THE PACIFIC, Books, Papua New Guinea, travel, travelbook, Travelers | 1 Comment »

BBC PODCAST WITH PAUL THEROUX

Posted by mukikamu on October 2, 2008

BBC’s travel related radio programme, Excess Baggage has a special with Paul Theroux. Listen to it online. 

Posted in Books, Travelers | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

OTHER BOOKS I’VE READ THIS YEAR

Posted by mukikamu on August 14, 2008

Mark Haddon: Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is a must. Witty, sensitive, entertaining and educative. Genius.

Mark Haddon: A Spot of Bother is not as good, but still a good shot at family life.

Hugh Laurie: The Gun Seller has funny inner dialogues and definitely reminded me of Jenő Rejtő‘s books

Doris Lessing: The Golden Notebook is really bizarre sometimes, but gets you terribly hooked.

Marina Lewycka: A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian for me was more a sad book than a funny one.

Mordecai Richler: Barney’s Version is a memoir of a playboy in love.

Oscar Wilde: Lady Windermere’s Fan is perfect if you need a break. An hour with Wilde.

      

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GERALD DURRELL

Posted by mukikamu on August 11, 2008

What bliss it is to re-read one of Gerald Durrell’s books! I found the beautiful Penguin edition of the Corfu Trilogy (My family and other animals/Birds, beasts and relatives/Garden of the Gods) in the corner bookshop and there was no way to resist purchase. I took it away with me on vacation and it was just the perfect companion. My family and other animals is hillarious still and the magic of Durell’s storytelling fills you with warmth that you have much known in your childhood. Adventurous, sunny, witty, it’s a must.  If you are living in a city everyday, it’s all you need to unwind and live on a paradise island in your heart.

 

After finishing, I started Zoo in my luggage right away.

Posted in AFRICA, Books, Cameroon, EUROPE, Greece | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

UPDATES ABOUT THESIGER

Posted by mukikamu on August 11, 2008

I found some interesting articles on my much admired gentleman adventurer Wilfred Thesiger here and here.

Posted in AFRICA, ASIA, Books, Etiophia, India, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Travelers, Yemen | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

MICHAEL PALIN: NEW EUROPE

Posted by mukikamu on June 3, 2008

A book accompanying the TV series always fails to offer a sense of discovery, yet, for devoted followers like me, in Palin’s case, is a blissful sin of marketing. We all lit up when a hard copy of New Europe with Palin’s portrait on the cover landed as a present in our living room. Especially, as this time, he travels through my home region, Central and Eastern Europe.

 

I have always believed that Michael Palin must be one of the nicest people on Earth. He comes in second to David Attenborough in terms of personal heroes because he stays humble and light-hearted even in less comfortable situations. I grew up watching him show me the world, which clearly isn’t as rosy as in his documentaries, yet I am generally grateful he resists being diminutive. I have read all his books, I have seen all his travel programmes. I am definitely what you call a fan.

 

 

This historic admiration puts me in an awkward situation when trying to review his new book, because I could certainly criticize him for many things. The question is whether I want to. Someone who has given, and continues to give you joy should never be criticized. Still, I feel blind fanatism on the long run would lead to untruthful consequences, so it is with a heavy heart when I say the series have seem to have become a routine and Palin’s crew rushes through these European countries. For me, they lacked interesting, not-stereotype-like material and fail to break through the “grey” image of post-communist countries. I admit, the sights here are not always as exotic and as spectacular as elsewhere. The thrill lies more in the history of the region, but looking to the past, showing signs of the bloodshed these nations strive to put behind, is an easy way to get away with the show. I know it’s hard to go around the past, but naturally it hurts my sense of PR when the potential and interestingness of Central and Eastern Europe stays in the background.

Maybe I just have more hands-on experience with this part of the world, maybe I was over-enthusiastic. I don’t know. To top it all, being a native, I am oversensitive of course. I know I am. But you should never wait for an outsider to tell you new things about you homeland either.

 

Despite all the above, I am not the type who has a heart to take an idol to pieces. I certainly wish Michael Palin would have enjoyed his trip more, but surprisingly, he is no less likeable in my eyes. Do you happen to know when he is setting off again? 

 

 

Posted in Albania, Books, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, EUROPE, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Travelers, Turkey, Ukraine | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

MUKIKAMU PHOTOBLOG

Posted by mukikamu on May 3, 2008

Finally started the planned photoblog to colour up the blog. Completely nonsense to post pictures of the books, but keeps the hopeless bibliophile in me entertained, so enjoy!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mukikamuphotoblog

    

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JON KRAKAUER: INTO THE WILD

Posted by mukikamu on April 24, 2008

   

Now that the movie came out, reading Krakauer‘s book was inevitable to find out what the big deal about Christopher McCandless’ story is. Unfortunately I couldn’t find out. The whole media frenzy seemed to kill the essential about the adventure and about the personalness of his choice. I am sure our hero would clearly despise people trying to make a saint out of him. Plus, the book was a dissapointment. Maybe if I would have started the book thinking, that I was going to read a long National Geographic (in this case Outdoor) article, I wouldn’t have felt so cheated. Not that the writer is bad. Not that I hate biased biographies, on the contrary. However the only episode I liked was the passage about the author himself concurring an Alaskan mountain. The episode when the “followers” are depicting Chris’ trailer, is directly laughable. His machete. The belt that kept his trousers up. Really. Life of Brian. I feel sorry and can see the tragedy, but I admire those more who have actually done something astonishing (climbed a mountain or sailed the oceans) and survived.

 

Posted in Alaska, AMERICA, Books, North America, Travelers | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

DANIEL KEHLMANN: MEASURING THE WORLD

Posted by mukikamu on March 18, 2008

The reason why Daniel Kehlmann‘s novel is listed on MUKIKAMU is because it is all about exploration. In every sense. It underlies the very essential of this blog, namely that you can travel and make discoveries even if you don’t leave your room. Naturally, the book is about so much more. Refreshing in every idea it presents, the characters (famous scientists Gauss and Humboldt) are charmingly passionate geniuses and the plots are really very funny. Humboldt travels to the New World to diligently measure everything and Gauss explores the wonders of the world in his mind. There are many surprises in store. The author manages to bring the otherwise blurry and dull science world of the middle-ages to life and hints the German spirit with Latin American atmosphere. The more I think about it, the more the whole build-up of the book strikes me. The execution of the ending is structurally and literally thrilling as well as thought-provoking. A delightfully enjoyable read. No wonder this is the book that tops best seller lists in Germany.

100339_2.gif image.jpg measuring-the-world.jpg  kehlmann_portrait.jpg 

Posted in Books, Germany, South America | Tagged: | 1 Comment »