Thursday, 3 July 2008


I've mentioned before how I like reading books when I travel about where I am. Reading The Uncommon Reader made me think about HRH Cabbage on the Britannia trying to get some reading done. And then of course she turned up to stay at Holy rood Palace.
And I love it all the more when a book just happens to be about a place that I'm in but I haven't planned it that way. Like Lionel Shriver's book(Post Birthday World) mentioning the Borough markets on the day that we went there. Just recently I read Restless Department store to lose the people tailing her. by William Boyd (really good spy novel) and was delighted when it mentioned the main character Eva training to be a spy in Edinburgh and going into JennersToday I finished reading Mr Pip by Lloyd Jones, which has absolutely nothing to do with Edinburgh though Charles Dickens does feature rather prominently in the book and I'll be reading Tale of Two Cities next while we are in France.
Mr Pip is set in Bougainville during the civil war in the 1990's and is an incredible book. S read it before me and I was surprised that he would want to because he is picky with his book choices. But then he spent a lot of time in the Solomon Islands (a close neighbour of Bougainville) and knows about what has gone on there. The main character Matilda thinks that the rest of the world doesn't know what is going on in Bougainville but surely soon when they find out someone will do something. It is appalling that Bougainville is so close to Australia and yet we know so little about it's history and have done so little to help. It is appalling that terrible things were done to the people of Bougainville using Australian helicopters and money.
It is a really moving book, but it is also funny in parts and enjoyable. I did cry and though I'm a terrible sook, not many books have had this effect on me. Captain Corelli's Mandolin did (and I have to say I have so much respect for James O'Loughlin - Australian TV & radio presenter - after he confessed that he cried while reading Captain Corelli on a plane). I wasn't even going to read Mr Pip. I had heard about it due to it being nominated for and winning awards but had picked it up and put it down a number of times. Then I heard some excerpts on Radio National's book show ( and I was determined to read it. Glad I did. Anyway, not sure if I explained that well but these articleson the author Lloyd Jones are quite good and will provide more info about the book and Bougainville.

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