Monday, April 1, 2013

currently reading: "História, História" & "Little Brother" (or: from islands to futureworld)

This blog post is inspired by the reading challenge: 7 Continents, 7 Billion People, 7 Books - Reading Challenge 2013 and by the "It's Monday! What are you reading?" series, more about both, at the bottom of this post.

"História, História: Two Years in the Cape Verde Islands" by Eleanor Stanford 

This is one of the books that I saw first in Goodreads, after Jason Pattus, editor of CCLP posted about the upcoming launch of this new book, set on the Cape Verde islands. "Cape Verde - that's an interesting and unusual location. i remember reading about the islands once in a travel brochure. The book will only be available in print first, or?" - i wrote.

I received 2 replies: "Once released, you can usually download here for free: cclapcenter/historia - Frances &  "That's right -- the book will be available in its usual free ebook form starting March 11th, when it officially gets released." - Jason (here's the Goodreads page + conversation)

Now i read "Historia". It's a fascinating and honest read - honest to the point of painful. At the same time, it's a poetic book, with tales of Cape Verde woven into the narrative, together with the characteristics of the islands: the wind, the seasons, the rhythm of life there. I definitely would recommend it, especially if you are interested in life in other cultures, and also in language.

Canary Islands & Cape Verde Islands
It also made me think of my own trips to the Canary Islands - the "sister islands" of Cape Verde. Both island groups are situated in front of the West African coast. The Canaries still belong to Spain, though, while Cape Verde belonged to Portugal and now is independent. And the Canaries are more touristic, due to the climate and the shorter distance to Europe (they are one of the main island / beach destinations in winter). Reading about the Cape Verde islands, for me it gave an idea how the Canaries might have looked before the rise of tourism. While reading "Historia", i revisited my own travel notes from the Canary Island- for more click Lanzarote, and here's a quote from one of them a travel story called "La Isla", which includes a question i thought about while reading "Historia":
"Walking back, she followed her own trails for a while, and couldn’t help but wonder how it would have been to grow up here, on this island, surrounded by water." (from: "La Isla") 

church in Teguise - here's a bit more island history  

But back to Cape Verde - here's the introduction to it:  "Eleanor Stanford and her husband join the Peace Corps and find themselves on the West African islands of Cape Verde. In this beautifully alien place, as she teaches her students and struggles to come to terms with the island's fascinating yet frustrating culture .... Part travelogue, part cultural documentary, Historia, Historia combines journalistic excellence with the gripping style of personal memoirs to bring you this lyrical, moving portrait of an enchanting, little-glimpsed geography. "

History / Story / História / Geschichte 
Here's one of my favourite passages of the book - starting with a tale and leading to island history. And also, including some reflections on language structure and synonyms. It's same in German, by the way: History and Story both translate to the same word: "Geschichte".
"This is how the stories begin: "História, história,” a mother calls, drawing the children into the lasso of lamplight. Once upon a time, there was a wily creature named Nho Lobu – Mr.Wolf. ....  Nho Lobu is the classic trickser of fairy tales – except that he gets tricked in the end. He’s the lovable rogue, the laughable picaresque, the prototypical Cape Verdean koitadu-poor thing.
It is the same word in Creole – as in Portuguese and other romance languages – for story and history.  ... Since independence, there is more emphasis on the history of Cape Verde itself, but still, there are few books written on the subject. When Portugal donates texts, they mention Cape Verde in passing if at all. It’s a small stone in the shoe of the great empire. History is something that happens elsewhere."

Audio Book: The Perfect Order of Things
I also started to listen to a (German) audio book, "The Perfect Order of Things", which sounded interesting from the brief description. But for the first time, I had problems with the reading voice - not sure why, but it felt like the "wrong" voice to read the story. So I gave up on the audio book.


Upcoming next: Futureworld & New Zealand
The next 2 books that are waiting here are for reading challenges:

"Little Brother" by Cory Doctorow

"Little Brother" by Cory Doctorow is a modern scifi story, it's one of the reads that is included in the Literary Course "Science Fiction and Fantasy: The Human Mind, our Modern World", which started with Grimm's Tales and Frankenstein, and now is arriving at contemporary fiction. (here the Tales post, and here's more literary courses online now).
I started reading into it, it takes a bit to get into it, especially after the island read, but it's brimming with insider views to the web, surveyance, hackers, coding... The title is a reference to Orwell and his "1984" - "Big Brother is Watching you".
PS. if you are interested in this book, it's actually available as free download from the author, who has an own webpage for it: Little Brother


Some Other Country

"Some other country" is a story collection with stories from New Zealand. I'm reading it for the "Around the World in 12 Books" challenges, which moves to the South Pacific Islands for April

Global Reading Challenge
This blog post is inspired by a Global Reading Challenge, more about it here: 7 Continents, 7 Billion People, 7 Books - Reading Challenge 2013 

The link is also listed in the "It's Monday! What are you reading?" series that is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, participating blogs are listed in this Linky Book List

Previous reading blog entries are collected here: bookshelf: currently  reading... there also is a visual bookshelf, just click it to get there:

And my own new book... is Worl(d)s Apart. True.


Henry Jordan said...

I have never heard about this book before. I like to read motivational books, and horror novels. Anyways, I liked your article.

Henry Jordan
The Equation game

Dorothee said...

hi! Thanks for the feedback, and glad you enjoyed the reading notes - the "Historia" book just was released, and it's from a smaller press - but it's a great book.