Very short book. Love Bryson's writing. His description of the plane ride is very funny - I can relate to his dislike of flying. One of the best lines in the book:
(describing some of the CARE workers) "'They live far away from their friends and families in places like this that are generally difficult and often dangerous, trying to help people they don't know to have better lives. Pretty remarkable really. Could you do that?'"
I was really surprised when this book came today in the mail. I was like "What IS this?" when I saw the package, because it was so small and thin! ;-) I thought it couldn't be a book. But this is actually a good thing that it is so thin, because my Mount TBR is enormous and it means I will finish this book quickly! Thank you, catwoman!
I liked the book, but I was a bit disappointed. Bryson's visit to the CARE centre was so short and the descriptions only superficial. But it's a good reminder that we should really be thankful every day for our rich lives, millions of people in Africa have nothing and no future.
I agree with catwoman, the sentence about the care workers really makes you think about the great sacrifices they make and how many lives they can change, for example the wells that were built.
Just got cartref's address and will send the book off tomorrow morning!
The book was sent to cartref today by surface mail (with a little surprise).
Journal Entry 7 by cartref from Derby, not specified not specified on Saturday, June 26, 2004
sent to me in the post by allbookedup as part of a bookring, many thanks,look forward to reading it.
Journal Entry 8 by cartref from Derby, not specified not specified on Saturday, June 26, 2004
Recived this book today,and as it was wet and windy outside decided to start reading it,as its only a short book also finished it. A short story about Bill Bryson visit to Kenya to report on the work done by the charity CARE.He visits slums that the workers help at, water is so precious what we use to flush our toilets once a person lives on for a day - drinking, cleaning, cooking etc. I agree the bit about the plane flight was good fun. One comment I think is so true is when an worker says the poverty and slums do not go away just because the media lose interest. A short book to read which give's a glimse of the problems.
I found this book to be humorous and interesting but agree that Bill could have been more descriptive and that his visit was too short. I suppose he wasn't anywhere long enough to really get to grips with what he needed to say. However, the point of hte book is to raise funds for CARE and I guess that is what it did.
Having said all that, I read it in a short time and laughed out loud many times. This is the first Bill Bryson book I have read and I enjoyed it.
Book to go to Skyrider in the next few days, enjoy.
Arrived safely in this morning's post. Thanks to billhookbabe for sending it to me and to Catwoman for starting the ring in the first place. I'll journal again when I've read it at fifty pages it shouldn't take long....
Well, it only took an hour or so to read, and I have to echo everyone else's comments. Bill Bryson plays his usual role of the genial incompetent abroad as he visits Kenya and tries not to get shot, be involved with an air crash or have dung rubbed in his face. It's quite entertaining, but not quite up to the standard of some of his earlier stuff.
The book was sold as a fundraiser for CARE international. If anyone else feels guilty that by reading this via a bookring that you're doing them out of a donation, it's possible to give online here.
Ooopsie — sorry. The above journal entry was typed by me. It's just I'm setting up an OBCZ at the moment and keep getting confused as to whether I'm logged in as me or the OBCZ address. Apologies, grovels and sorry if I've confused everyone. I've certainly confused myself....
safely arrived here about 5min ago - and hey *skyrider* you'll be visiting Dresden??????? You got me confused with your card =:o)). Will start reading the book tonight. Thanks already!!!!! ----- Edit about 7 hours after the above text: Skyrider I finally understood your postcard!!!! It was written in the name of the book *gg*... Already have "lady-anglophile"'s address so I try to read the book fast.
well, first of all I am sorry for the delay - some personal issues came in the way... anyway, yesterday evening I read the book and it was the first one by Bill Bryson for me. So now I am wondering: is he never watching the news? What does he think is going on in the world? I just wondered again and again if he had ever heard of refugee camps in Africa, of help-organisations and what they do, of the needs of refugees and people in an underdeveloped country, of corruption.... Sorry, I liked the writing style itself but I am not sure Mr. Bryson lives in reality. The book will be sent tomorrow to *lady-anglophile*. Enjoy! =:o))
Journal Entry 16 by Muffin77 at Postal release to fellow bookcrosser (Dresden) in -- Per Post geschickt/ Persönlich weitergegeben --, Sachsen Germany on Friday, August 20, 2004
I agree with others who point put that this is rather superficial and that Bryson only got a very brief picture of the work of CARE and the live of those they work with.
Nevertheless, a ten because those who do this work need others to hear about it. We need to hear the stories of individuals who are benefitting so that we don't get overwhelmed and turn away. We need to be reminded that running water is a cause for celebration. We need to rejoice in our houses, safety, health, sanitation, education, opportunities. We will hopefully respond by doing a little towards alleviating the injustice - for we CAN make a difference.
I enjoyed this quick, gently funny read over one lunchtime. Thanks Catwoman for sharing! Certainly reminds you of the good work that non-government orgs are doing, and how much there remains left to do.
Caught before Thanksgiving. Sorry I wasn't able to journal the book until now. I will read it and pass it along ASAP. Thank you, readinator for the extra little book! I loved the article about BC. I'll keep that one moving too, so others can share it.
I read this little book in one sitting last night. (Well, I was lying in bed, but details, details...)
It was so great. I love Bill Bryson. He's a great writer. He usually manages to be funny, insightful, and often poignant at the same time. This short bit left me wanting much much more!! I hope against hope that he will go back to Africa for a full-length book sometime soon.
He alluded to another book for which he was researching early humans. I haven't read it, but I assumed he was referring to A Short History of Nearly Everything (is that the right title?). His interest in protohumans has made me more excited about reading that book!
Thank you for sharing, Catwoman. I am going to visit Grads-Cafe's link to donate to the CARE organization so that I have not taken money from them by participating in this bookring.
Just received it today. Family is arriving for our Christmas party. Will read after the holidays. :)
12/28, read this book last night. Wow, how he kept things humourous at times while describing what he saw in Africa shows what a good writer he is. I loved his airplane ride, and the opening of the book. Mailed this to becca-mo today. Sent it first class since it was only 50 cent more than media. :)
Working on extending this bookray.
This is subject to change as we get more people signing up:
received in the mail today. looks like I may be able to finish it before leaving work! will have to PM the next person ASAP. Update: yes, I finished it at work. Not surprising as it is less than 50 pages long and, as his readers can attest, Bryson's writing is easy-reading. Bryson paints a beautifully vivid picture of Kenya and the help CARE, Intl is providing the country. Fans of Bryson will not be disappointed as he masterfully weaves humor, fear, and compassion in every sentence.
Journal Entry 30 by Rita-Booke at Controlled Release in Controlled Release, --by post or by hand (ie ring, ray, RABCK, trade) -- Controlled Releases on Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Released on Tuesday, January 04, 2005 at about 3:00:00 PM BX time (GMT-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada) at Controlled Release in Controlled Release, Controlled Release Controlled Releases.
I rec'd this yesterday and finished read it in one sitting, as I was supposed to be mopping my kitchen floor. This was infinitely more enjoyable. My first experience with a bookring couldn't have been nicer.
I just LOVE Bryson, and read everything I can find with his name on it. I enjoy how he pretends to be the "genial incompetent" as Skyrider called him, but with a tremendous thirst for knowledge and preservation of our world.
Here is a typical laugh-out-loud passage, vintage Bryson: "I am disappointed to find that there is no mosquito net around the bed in my room. Unaware that Nairobi is malaria-free, I slather myself with insect repellant and pass a long night sounding like two strips of parting Velcro each time I roll over in the bed and dreaming terrible dreams in which Jungle Jim, assisted by a tribe of white pygmies, chases me through the streets of Omaha with dung balls."
My only criticism is that this book was entirely too short. I wanted to know more about all of the people he wrote about.
I, too, am going to make a donation to CARE.
Off now to ds3233.
Journal Entry 34 by OneMorePage at Bookring in Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Released 14 yrs ago (1/26/2005 UTC) at Bookring in Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases
I agree with the other journallers that the book is a little superficial. However I loved Bryson's writing style and will definitely read more. I loved his description of the night without a mosquito net and the airplane ride. The book makes you really think of all that we have Extremely quick good read!!!
A fascinating read in true Bryson style. I enjoyed this, but felt his style needs the 'luxury' of greater length. He is a wordsmith and this 'short' format was limiting. It wasn't, however, produced as a full scale book, but a taster for Care and as such it made me think and act upon it, so it was an effective read! It is now on its way to Bulgaria - almost as well travelled as Bryson himself!
The book was very short,I confess I wanted for more because I liked the feel of Africa which Bryson managed to convey even in such a short writing. It was a good reminder about the poverty which governs the Third World,and a reminder for us to be thankful for the far better living conditions.
The book is going to NY.
Journal Entry 45 by bookmaniac70 at to a bookcrosser in sent by mail, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Released 13 yrs ago (5/9/2005 UTC) at to a bookcrosser in sent by mail, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases
I enjoy reading Bryson's work--I think I've read all his book-length stuff except his grammar book (have to draw the line there). This is a short one. The lovable incompetent who is so entertaining when bumbling around other countries seemed a little too out of touch here. Nevertheless, I did enjoy the book and it prompted me to send a little money to CARE--one of their staff was abducted in May 2005 and is now being held hostage in Afganistan (edited to add that, thank goodness, she was released after about 3 weeks). Here's the link for US mail donations to CARE, a charity with a high four-star rating from charitynavigator.
I will set this up to continue as a bookray in the near future. Thanks for sending it out, Catwoman. I wouldn't have known about it otherwise.
So far, in just over a year, 8 countries; 2 Canadian provinces and 5 US states! To keep this little book going, I invited more participants for this bookray, with great success. Here's the mailing order:
This little book is so amazing! Look at the beautiful journal entries it has already found on its trip around the world. Well, I just returned from four weeks in West Africa, it was an amazing, eye-opening adventure. I will include something from Ghana with the book when I send it on. The postcards in the book are beautiful and I will continue them on in their journey. I will read this quickly and get it back on the road, it has many miles still to cover in our world.
It was beautiful! I loved it! My only wish is that it was longer. That Bill Bryson had stayed longer and traveled more of Kenya to share with his readers. I love his comical way of dealing with danger and the unknown. I am full of passion for his fearless action in walking through the toughest, saddest part of the city and talking to the people facing that reality everyday. I will get the baby book full of heart back on the road to booklady331 with a pic of Ghana to add to the postcard collection...
The African Diary is on the move again... Off to booklady today. I included a bookmark made with beads purchased road side throughout Accra, Ghana. I also included a picture of school children from a small village outside of the city in Ghana. I hope this beautiful book continues it travels throughout the world.
I sat down and read the book in one evening. I found it very interesting as I am going to Zambia, Africa in October for 10 days. I will be going with World Vision which appears to have a similar mission as CARE. Take time to look at the web sites of these two organizations. Both do more than handouts. They want to help the people to become self-sufficient. The more I think and read about it, this should be the type of aid we give. The aid goes directly to the people and not through the hands of the politicans.
As a teacher, I am amazed at how the students learn with so little. Maybe our children have too much.
This is off to mepwave as part of a bookring. Enjoy.
Journal Entry 54 by booklady331 at By Mail in Controlled Release, Given to a fellow bookcrosser -- Controlled Releases on Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Released 13 yrs ago (8/5/2005 UTC) at By Mail in Controlled Release, Given to a fellow bookcrosser -- Controlled Releases
I had no idea that this book was a fundraiser for CARE before signing up for the ring, and now I feel guilty for not purchasing a copy myself. At any rate, havin g just returned from Africa and seeing conditions much like the ones described in his journal, I can say that this is a region that needs more care and that I hope groups like CARE are able to get more support for the good work they do to fiht poverty. As soon as I get her address I'm sending this along to Sobergirl.
Simply - this book was an excellent description about Eastern Africa, Kenia today. My experience in Tanzania, when I visited there(years 2001, 2003, 2004) was very like this. Again I strongly feel, that I have to do something practical and give my help.
The next reader is in UK (Navig8r) - I mail this as soon as possible.
Thanks for sending this - I received it yesterday and finished reading it in the evening! It's definitely very short. I did enjoy the book, but I just wished it could have been longer. There wasn't room for much of Bill's style to come out (a glimmer of it was in the plane ride though - hehe!). Most of all I love the fact that he was willing to do it, even if it was for a short time. I hope Bryson decides at some point to go back to Africa and write a proper book about it. I can imagine there would be plenty of material. I would certainly love to read more about Africa and the people. I also thought the photography in the book was very very good - especially the boy with the football. The book is heartbreaking; so many people in poverty and the solution apparently so simple yet so difficult to achieve in reality. It really is the small steps that make a difference. I was also glad that he made the point that giving to charities like CARE does *not* mean that the money ends up in the hands of a dictator. It does have a strong message of hope.
I'm PMing the next person on the list for their address.
I had no idea this little book had been to so many people before me...I 'll finish it quickly and get it on it's way...A minor disaster to report though. When it arrived today it was in a post office bag, advising it had been damaged while 'in their care'. It looks like the envelope had got wet and split..The book itself is intact but the dust cover now has a small rip in it..Given how many people it's been round, it's in remarkably good condition though.I'll pm the next pariticpant for their address now and hopefully read and post on in the next few days..Thanks for the chance to read this..
Ooops sent this on yesterday 11/10/05 but forgot to update the status.. Obviously, this is a short book that cannot do justice to the depravation suffered by the people that CARE helps. However, it was an interesting read that opened my eyes to some of the issues in Kenya in particular. I didn't feel that Bryson's style negated the message, in fact I felt his humour was a reaction to the horrors of what he saw. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to read this. I will certainly be looking into the work of CARE and making a donation.
Came in the post this morning. Thank you to sunlightbub for sending it, Ebumu for organizing the ray and Catwoman for starting it on its travels. Oh, yes, to whomever else put things in with it. I haven't had a chance to look at it all properly. Had an appointment for my son this morning at the hospital, and am about to collect my daughter from the childminder.
I really enjoyed this little book. As always, Bryson is funny and witty. At times it is terribly touching, though. It is amazing, all those people living in the largest slum in Africa, so that their children get a good education!
I've got the next address, so I'll be posting it today.
A bit short and a bit superficial, yet for a good cause!
It’s amazing how long it took aid agencies to figure out that people really, really don’t want dependency. They want to help themselves.
Man Eaters Junction is so called, by the way, because in 1898 during the construction of the railway about 140 Indian workers were snatched and eaten by two lions (giving a whole new meaning to the term “Indian takeaway”).
Eatsletters is on holiday till the end of November. Will send the book when address is received.
I would like to apologise for keeping this book for so long. this book, though very short, contains a lot of unknown (to me) information on Africa - and it is a good compliment for ONG's that are doing a good job throughout the worls.
Well, for a book about an adventure, this one certainly had one of its own making the trip from ZlatkoGR to me. I'm not sure when it landed back in the States, but it got caught up in a very odd little cycle my mail got stuck in for a while. I moved after the new year, and had all my mail forwarding from my old apartment to my new house. Somehow in there something got switched, and my mail was going from my new house to my old apartment. Then, and I'm not 100% sure about this, it seemed to have been going back and forth between both post offices without ever landing at the house or the apartment.
Luckily I seem to have moved to Mr. Roger's Neighborhood here in the suburbs, and my friendly postmaster helped me sort it all out and this book was waiting for me in the pile of mail that had been looping around for a while that finally got delivered yesterday. What a nice surprise ending to a pretty annoying story! And since it's such a short read, I've already finished it (my daughter has a bad cold and spent all day sleeping on my lap while I read) and am waiting to hear from jennannej so I can get it moving again by the end of the week.
Now, about the book. What a pleasure. I love Bryson's writing and this was no exception; what a wonderful use of talent for a good cause. I agree that it's too short and a superficial look at a big issue, but sometimes spreading the word is best done in small doses. And spread the word he did: I not only ended up making a donation to CARE, but then in an extra dose of feeling guilty about having so much when others have so little, I ended up sponsoring a 5 year old Bangladeshi boy through Save the Children (though I also agree with booklady about WorldVision, whose mission and methods are also well worth checking out).
Thank you so much for sharing and to everyone who has gotten it this far already!
The timing of the arrivals of my bookrings lately has been creating interesting coincidences. This arrived while I was reading The Poisonwood Bible, which is also set in central Africa. I've just finished that one, and I don't expect this one to take nearly as long to read. I'll post my thoughts and send the book on to its next stop soon.
A (very) brief overview of Kenya and its people, this book serves as a vivid reminder of the huge disparity between the "haves" and the "have nots" of the world. Bryson's trademark humor keeps this book from becoming overwhelmingly depressing. It is clear that he was moved by the poverty he saw, as well as the efforts of the people to improve their lives. The success stories, however modest, are inspiring beacons of hope in what could be a bleak world. Bryson's all too brief descriptions of the countryside also highlight the great beauty of Kenya, which simply magnifies the tragic lack of tourism. I'll be adding CARE or a similar charity to my payroll contributions this year, for sure!
Thanks! Found this in my room yesterday when i went back home from work. Its been raining in Mumbai and so decided to start the book with a nice cup of hot tea. I loved the book and didnt want it to end. But good things always come to an end. The book has given me a new prespective towards life, realising im far lucky than what i seem to think. However i was a little disappointed with very little written about the visit to the centre. Sending to gussy916!
Oh, I loved this little book. It was well written as Bill Bryson's books always are. I enjoyed it too because it was so light but anyway gave a bigger picture of Kenya. However, I agree with the others too that it would be nice to know more. Thank you for sharing this treasure, I'll send it soon to Sirah!
A nice piece of a book, but to my taste little bit too short. I would have liked more descriptions of the work of CARE and of course more of the Kenyan people, life and nature. It was good that Bryson included the pictures, it made the book richer.
Arrived in Miami! I can't believe how good the condition this book is in considering the amount of travel it has done. (I am envious of all the places it has been to!) Shouldn't take long to complete and forward to menalima. Is the book settling down finally or it's planning a new world tour already?
I wasn't too impressed with Bryson's Notes from a Small Island, but enjoyed this a lot more. It's a short book, but if a picture is worth a thousand words... I wish they had included even more, including some of the beautiful scenery Bryson kept gushing about.
I am shipping this to menalima tomorrow. Hopefully this book will continue its soujourn and stay on the top 10 most-travelled chart. Thank you so much for letting me be a part of its adventure!
Journal Entry 98 by menalima on Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Received book in post today, can't wait to start reading this one as anything on Africa I lap up lol:)
Thanks for sharing!
P.S. Oh and yes as soon as I've read this book I'll be letting it go on more travels:)
Journal Entry 99 by menalima on Friday, November 10, 2006
Eish finished this book yesterday and although I liked it....I was sort of expecting more from it? After all I'd read about Bill Bryson's writting I'm afraid I don't think it came all through?
Anyways going to make this book available again for great travels:)
Journal Entry 100 by menalima on Thursday, November 16, 2006
sent book out today for it's next round of travels: starting at Katethegreyt and ending in South Africa! Happy readings:)