It’s becoming more obvious to lots of people nowadays that we need to read stories that don’t align with our own lifestyles. Whatever shape that takes, whether it’s LGBT+ fiction or reports of life in far-flung countries, people are finally starting to understand that as the world becomes more globalised, we need to be able to empathise with others in new ways.
That’s not always easy to do, because understanding another person’s experience is so difficult that for millennia philosophers have been debating whether it’s even possible. But what we can all do is try, and books like Nguyen’s The Refugees are a small way to do just that. (more…)
Every week on ExpatFocus I post several interviews with people living all around the world. While they’re all interesting in their own ways, a lot of them are very similar. People miss their family and friends, they like the cuisine except for this one disgusting thing, they’ve made friends with some expats and some locals, and they advise potential expats to do a bit of research but then just plunge in and go for it.
Infrequently, however, I come across a person whose story is both thought-provoking and fascinating. Bethany is one such individual.
When I first offered to review Uncorked, I did so because I thought it was a book about wine. The author replied that this wasn’t the case, and that he didn’t want me to get my hopes up and end up reading something I didn’t enjoy.
I thought I’d give it a go anyway, because it sounded like an interesting memoir. And it was.
The book begins with Shore moving to Saint-Paul de Vence, a small town in Provence where Marc Chagall created many of his most famous paintings.
When he moved to France for work, Shore wanted to live in a place that wasn’t too popular with tourists or other expats. Like many people who move abroad, he wanted to truly experience French culture and understand what life in Provence is like as a local.
And he managed to do just that.
Read the full review on ExpatFocus.
I’ve never really been into reading biographies. With the exception of pretty much anything about the life of Kierkegaard, I generally stay away from true stories and read either academic non-fiction, or novels.
But this year quite a lot of biographical accounts have ended up on my reading list, and several of them were amazing enough that I decided to do a whole new Reflections post for them.
I’m defining ‘biography’ quite loosely here, to mean anything where the author draws on personal experience (either their own or someone else’s) to discuss the central premise of the book.
Yesterday I interviewed Kenden Alfond about her Jewish Food Hero Cookbook, which helps people find plant-based alternatives to traditional recipes.
The world has been getting smaller for a long time. Since we invented the motorcar, which made journeys between towns quicker to complete, it seems that humans have been trying to bridge the distance between their communities in new and exciting ways.
The internet, of course, is a perfect example of this. It’s now possible to watch a Turkish political coup unfold on Twitter; to live stream police violence in the USA to Facebook users around the world; to converse face to face with a friend who lives thousands of miles away via Skype.
Expat memoirs can be quite hit and miss. While moving abroad is almost invariably an interesting experience for the people directly involved, it can be quite dry to read about. So when expat memoirs drop through my mailbox, I’m not always thrilled to see them.
This one, though, is a definite exception. For one thing, Lillian McCloy is a talented writer. And for another, her story is absolutely fascinating.
A mixture of novels, autobiographies and instruction manuals for Satanic witches make up this week’s book haul.
This week I hit my goal of reading seven books per week. Which was impressive, because one of them was really long. And also I’ve had a lot to do for work. But you know what they say: if you want to get something read, give it to a busy bookworm. Or something.
As well as doing – and writing about – forensics, I also write for an expat website. This might seem a little strange, because I’m not one, but I am a ‘digital nomad’ and a person who grew up surrounded by cultures that weren’t the culture of the country I was living in. So I’ve always felt a little like an expat even if I’m not.