A Travellerspoint blog

Madam Bovary

By Gustave Flaubert

madame_bovary.jpgMadam Bovary is a tragic figure. Not just because of her ulitmate self destruction, but also because she is so tragically human. Her real tragic is not in the circumstances pushing her into desperation, but in the fact that she did not recogonised the real love and affection from her husband, and spent her life seeking impossibe romance, and fruitless passions. Because her own life was so sheltered, much like most women of her status during the era of the story, she chased a false ideal that she had nurtured as a romantic young girl, seeking impossible fullfillment into her womanhood. That passion eventually led to her downfall, and her family's.

But despite that, she also protrayed a very realistic side of human nature, we all have dreams, and ideals in our life, there are few like Emma Bovary who cast aside everything she had in relentless pursue towards it; most of us tend to be more pragmatic, bound down by fear and the realistic aspects of life. But in Madam Bovary, a human's needs to seek an ideal is magnified, and serves as mirror to our surpressed desires. All in all, Madam Bovary is a wonderful portrayal of the many facets of human characters, vividly cast in the many characters in the French countryside. It is tragic, funny at times, realistic, and give much food for thoughts. A story I would read again and again.

Buy it now from Amazon.com

Posted by Irise Rain 06:12 Tagged books Comments (0)

The Blue Sweater

By Jacqueline Novogratz

The Blue Sweater is a book that anyone interested in travel, adventure, philanthropy, micro-finance, community-outreach, and personal achievement will delight in. It's the true story of a woman who started her career in international banking, and wound up in Rwanda starting one of their first micro-finance banks there, among other projects to empower people stuck in the cycle of poverty, especially women, and enable them to build businesses and generate income and dignity. Eventually, she landed back in NYC and now runs Acumen Fund.

One reason this story is so incredible is because of Ms. Novogratz's theme woven throughout the book that accountability must be built into any philanthropic undertaking. Throughout the book, the reader sees her transform from a young person just learning, to an accomplished and experienced woman whose insights about how and why accountability needs to be a central focus of philanthropy and micro-finance are both eye-opening and inspiring.

Her accounts of her travels to Rwanda, India, and other places, paint remarkable images of both personal and collective triumphs and tragedies. Her story touches on life in Rwanda before and after the genocide, and how nothing in this world is truly black-or-white. Her determination and focus carry her from one great accomplishment to the next, and each step along her journey is an inspiration to anyone at any point along their own journey.

The book will inspire you to stay determined to achieve your goals, as well as to think more critically about the ripple effects of your actions, to learn details about philanthropy programs and how to be an active part in ensuring that philanthropy can be successful in both the short and long run.

This book is well written, and the subject matter is fascinating, educational, and eye-opening. It is all at once the story of living as an outsider, creating change as an insider, the personal struggles of women in Africa, the Rwandan community, the genocide, and the amazing power of humankind to overcome and perservere, and of some very extraordinary and innovative people in this world who are making incredible contributions - which are inspiring and evoke the feeling that we are all capable of contributing wonderful things to this world.

The Blue Sweater is available from Amazon.com.

Posted by allieco 03:42 Comments (0)

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

by William Kamkwamba

I don't know about you, but this year I had no idea what to ask for for Christmas. After some pressuring from certain members of the family to come up with some more gift suggestions, I headed over to Amazon.com for inspiration. Of the handful of books I looked at on the Top Sellers list, one in particular caught my interest: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

The story is simple. As a teenager in Malawi whose parents cannot pay for him to continue his schooling beyond primary level, William Kamkwamba discovers the local library. Struggling to decipher words he can barely understand, William pours through books on physics and energy, with purpose: he wants to build a windmill.

And eventually, he does, using little more than scrap metal, tractor parts and an old bicycle.

The most amazing thing of all? This is a true story.

As you can probably guess, I ended up getting this book for Christmas, and I devoured it within a couple of weeks. This is an amazing and powerful story. In the year before he built the windmill, Malawi endured a terrible famine, one made worse by a negligent government. William's narrative walks you through those terrible times, showing you just how desperate life can be for those who have so little. But above all, it brings hope, of which William's windmill is a powerful symbol.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is available from Amazon.

Posted by dr.pepper 20:46 Archived in Malawi Tagged books Comments (0)

Don't Stop The Carnival

by Herman Wouk


The Author

Herman Wouk as an author is definitely more well-known for his other literary works than for this particular selection. He penned The Caine Mutiny for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in Literature. His other offerings include Marjorie Morningstar; Youngblood Hawke; The Winds of War; War and Remembrance; Inside, Outside; The Hope; and The Glory among others. But, it is Don't Stop The Carnival that is a most enjoyable blending of his own personal experiences living in the Caribbean for several years and an imaginary tale. Wouk is able to mix tragedy and triumph in a flawlessly humorous manner. That may sound a very odd statement but it is a true one. And, though this book was originally published in 1965, it has not lost any of it's luster over the years.

The Introduction

The year is 1959 and let me introduce you to Norman Paperman - a New York press agent on the verge of a mid-life crisis. Norman has hob-nobbed with the who's who of New York City's theater celebs. He's dined regularly at Sardi's and never missed a Broadway opening. He, with his wife Henny by his side, is at the top of his game. Little did he imagine a heart attack would throw him into turmoil...

Amerigo, or as the locals call it Kinja, is a small Caribbean island stuck among all the other small Caribbean islands. It sees it's share of tourist trade, has beautiful beaches, rustic lodgings, a government that flip-flops every few years, and the green flash at sunset. It also has a hotel, the Gull Reef Club, up for sale. What better a place to begin a new life than a Caribbean island that has it all. Well, that was Norman's thought. He and his friend, Lester Atlas, pay a visit to Kinja. Norman is absolutely enamored with the tropics, not to mention the Gull Reef Club. Now, how to tell Henny...

What transpires next is truly a madcap attempt at running a hotel on the edge of collapse. Whatever problem you can picture in your mind, Norman will probably encounter it. There's not a day that goes by where something doesn't fail. Yet, Mr. Paperman refuses to give up hope. It's the only thing he has working on his side. That, and a few friends he has made along his journey.

The Review

I found this book to be captivating. Like most books I read, it took me awhile to get through it but not due to lack of interest - more a lack of free time. Having visited the Caribbean on numerous occasions, I could relate whole-heartedly to the way things progress - slowly. The characters are full and rich with personality. The descriptions allowed me clear visualization of the backdrops, characters and goings-on. Personally, I was a tad disappointed with the way Wouk chose to end it, but I understand the reasoning behind it. I also had to look at it from the point of view that would have been in place in 1959 (and 1965, for that matter). Seriously, if the book was written today - the ending would probably remain the same for the same reasons. Regardless of my opinion of the ending and taking the story as a whole, I highly recommend Don't Stop The Carnival to everyone. Enjoy the green flash at sunset.

Find this book on Amazon: Don't Stop The Carnival

Posted by Isadora 12:29 Archived in USA Tagged books Comments (1)

Down and Out in Paris and London

by George Orwell



Based on Orwell's own real life accounting of living in the slums of Paris and later in London. Orwell creates a fictional character that recounts his tales of reaching the lowest level in Paris and trying to survive at a similar level in London. Along the way meeting characters that help, hinder and create further interest.


This is a great book that really sticks with you once you've read it. Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984) is another Orwell classic, the concept is chilling and frightening real today. Down and out in Paris and London is a very different read. If you've ever wondered what it would be like to throw away all your cash, or what would happen if you lost everything in another country - this is a must read.

Orwell's character is there by choice, which makes it even more gripping. From living on pennies, selling, borrowing and avoiding all in Paris to living a homeless street life in London is visually descriptive and puts you right there with him. A great work of writing that one can relate to on so many levels.


I was not expecting this book to be so good. It's a travel book of a different kind that is often overlooked due to high brow literary write-ups. For the traveler it's well worth picking up this book. For everyone else, it's just as good for the insight alone.

Packing Space Guide: Its a slim 228 pages. It's 0.6 inches thick and weighs under half a pound. Fits nicely into a bag or large pocket.

My Rating: 5/5

Other George Orwell Works Include:
Animal Farm
Homage to Catalonia
Facing Unpleasant Facts: Narrative Essays (Complete Works of George Orwell)

Buy it: Down and Out in Paris and London is available on Amazon.

About the Author: Dave has been traveling around the world in search of home for 5 years, photographing and writing about his journey on his website: www.thelongestwayhome.com.

Posted by TLWH 04:00 Archived in France Tagged books Comments (1)

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