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Archive for the ‘Memoir’ Category

Now available on Amazon, Travels in India — the e-book! It’s the illustrated full story of my adventures in India, most of which is  material that has never appeared on the website. The blog has more photos than the e-book, but the e-book has all the details.

Travels in India gives a blow-by-blow description of my month long road trip in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh in March of 2011. As you know if you’ve followed the blog, I visited the major tourist attractions in Delhi, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodphur, Udaipur, Jaipur and Agra. I also visited a few places that were off the beaten path. But more than that, the e-book tells the stories of the people I met, some of them wonderful, some fun and some irritating.

This travelogue has lots of detail about eating, drinking, getting sick and bathroom facilities. It’s what everyone wants to know but is afraid to ask, particularly women. If you find that too much information, perhaps you might like another travelogue better.

If you want to know what it’s like for a woman to travel alone in India who’s not a college-aged backpacker, this book might be helpful. This is not a guide book, it’s the experiences of a traveler. Most of all, if you want to be immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of India and be entertained, Travels in India is for you!

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I’ve just published a memoir: Bread From the Sky. For a variety of reasons, I procrastinated for years before working to bring my handwritten journal into shape for publication. Living in Togo was a tremendous experience, and thoughts of West Africa kept returning, stories that begged to be told.

How many cat heads do you have to eat before you acquire the characteristics of a cat? Why do you hang a snail shell in a tree? How do you get a curse removed? And who buried a gri-gri in the yard? These and other burning questions are answered in Bread From the Sky.

Here’s a synopsis:

    Wanting a career change and armed with a graduate degree in international studies, a woman in her mid-40s leaves her divorce and ordinary life behind for a two-year stint as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo, West Africa. 

    She learns survival skills in order to live without electricity or plumbing like the rest of the people in her adopted village. She also gains language skills as, in addition to French, which is still the official language, there are over half a dozen local languages in common use at her village. Adjusting to a new culture, several different languages and some very old attitudes is sometimes difficult, frustrating and funny.

    There are friends to be made, foods to get used to, bureaucrats and insects to contend with, health issues to recover from and red tape to choke on. Dealing with people who want to rip her off, who harass her (sexually and otherwise) and who always want something from her isn’t easy. The challenges are offset by the warmth and friendship that was found along the way as well as some amazing experiences.

    As a wise man said to her, “Africa will change you, whether you want it to or not.”

Bread From the Sky is the true story of my two years in Togo as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

It’s now available as an e-book on Amazon, Amazon UK and Smashwords.

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This is a memoir recounting an English couple’s post retirement move to a village in Spain. Victoria, tired of the cold and rain in the UK, convinces husband Joe to move to Spain. Joe agrees, on condition that the move is for five years only. At the end of that time, they would reassess and decide if they will stay permanently.

Thus we are introduced to a delightful cast of characters, including a lucky meeting with a British expat and her mother, who soon become the couple’s good friends. There are minor mishaps and missteps along the way, some of which are pretty funny, as the couple struggles to learn Spanish and local customs.

The story is engaging and beautifully drawn in a very down-to-earth, refreshing style. This is exactly the kind of tale that captivates me and feeds my interest both in travel and cross cultural issues. I read it in one greedy gulp over two days and hated to see it end. The good news is that the author is planning a sequel!

The one thing I found a bit jarring was the insertion of recipes at the end of nearly every chapter. They were always something that had been eaten during the course of the story, but without a lead-in of any kind and my extreme lack of interest in cooking, I felt they unnecessarily interrupted the flow of the story. If the author had provided a bit of a backstory on her interest in cuisine, it would have made a better tie-in. Better still if the recipes were all put at the end of the book.

A paperback edition is for sale at Amazon, and e-book versions are available both at Amazon and Smashwords. I bought the Smashwords edition.  It would have been nice to have a book cover image at the beginning of the e-book. Other than that, there were no formatting issues.

A great read, highly recommended.

Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars.

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