Life of a Bookworm: December Picks

“Creativity does not happen when we withdraw from the material world, but rather, when we engage with that world, and all of its messiness.” – Eric Weiner

Fiction has always been my favorite (and always will be) but lately I’ve been reading a string of non-fiction novels and I’ve really enjoyed the change! It’s mind blowing how many fantastic novels exist out there regarding every topic imaginable. I’ve developed a new love of travelogues (why I didn’t read this genre before since I love traveling is beyond me) and it has also been really fun to expand my knowledge on a variety of other topics – nutrition, the food industry, philosophy, yoga, horseback riding…the list goes on! Both of the books I am sharing with you in this post are non-fiction and involve travel. I hope one or the other catches your eye!

The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific, J. Maarten Troost – I enjoyed this novel so much I also bought the other three travelogues written by Troost! I imagine Troost’s style of writing may be an acquired taste for some but personally I loved the honest, extremely humorous and intelligent way with which he wrote. The title is obviously eye-catching and a good precursor to the sort of flippant narrative Troost provides throughout the novel. The Sex Lives of Cannibals is a memoir written about the two years Troost spent living on the island of Tarawa in Kiribati (in the South Pacific) with his girlfriend. Expecting an idyllic island paradise of the kind always advertised in brochures, they are quickly disabused of this notion upon arrival in Kiribati when they are faced with a series of misadventures and realize they must learn to make do without the niceties of Western civilization. If you are easily offended maybe steer clear of this one, although I can assure you there is far less fornication and cannibalism than the title suggests (in fact, pretty much none of either).

The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World’s Most Creative Places, from Athens to Silicon Valley, Eric Weiner – Eric Weiner is a travel writer who also wrote the wonderful book The Geography of Bliss. After reading that one I wanted to check out more of his novels, so this was my next choice! Weiner takes his readers on a trip around the world, visiting the places where golden ages of genius creativity occurred. He explores how and why these golden ages have happened at different times and places throughout history. The cities he stops in are Athens, Greece; Hangzhou, China; Florence, Italy; Edinburgh, Scotland; Vienna, Austria; and finally, Silicon Valley, USA.  The novel is well written but also easy-going and humorous, managing to mix history, psychology, philosophy, sociology, and business in a very accessible way. I found it fascinating and I learned a lot!

 

Happy reading!! 🙂

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