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I read widely and in most genres but romance and westerns. Here you'll find my reviews since 2007, with a few reviews of previously read books as well.


In 2012, I completed an "authors of the world" challenge, reading a book for every country (and a few other entities) by someone who'd lived there for at least two years. I expect to tag these books by challenge and country in the near future. I'm still refining my list by adding books that better meet my challenge criteria.

Maldives Musings - Liz Banks Maldives.I greatly admire small press and self-publishing. I think it's admirable. However, the author loses the editorial perspective that can turn a personal narrative into one of universal appeal. This is especially obvious in books whose conceit is "letters home." While they may have been meaningful and fascinating to the writer and recipients, they may lack general interest and necessary context. For example, I wrote about 400 letters home when I worked in another country. They're just not that diverting. Published as is, they would be tedious to read, even, perhaps, for those of us who were there at the time. If I were to edit them, retaining portions about my psychological and emotional development, events that might resonate for others, and non-idiotic cultural observations, I would have perhaps 25-50 potentialy compelling but disjointed pages of narrative and observations. That's not a good book, either. If I felt a need to retain the "letters home" format, my story might be served best by a pastiche that includes letters, journal entries, reflections, and a bridging narrative.These speculations also constitute my advice to Liz Banks. I want to know about her experience in Maldives. I want to know what the experience meant to her. I want to understand the difference between her home culture and life in a very different country. Though sections of Maldives Musings present these topics, they are fragmented, and (because they are written to those at home) assume that I know what home is like, or what Banks is like. Because I don't, the funny parts often aren't funny, the observations that rely on cultural contrast sometimes are puzzling, and I'm left wanting to know much more about what she was actually doing on a typical day in her role as a midwife trainer with Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO). An editor could have helped Banks simply by asking questions.This memoir will give you some insight into the culture and people of Maldives, but probably not as much as you hoped for when you picked it up.