Thursday, September 18, 2008

I Presume

I was trying to hold off reviewing Martin Dugard's Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingston until I finished it, but I can't wait. It's so good. It makes me want to read biographies of all the main characters, and then read all the books those guys wrote themselves about their travel.

It goes twenty levels beyond "Livingstone was missing in Africa and Stanley found him... 'Dr. Livingstone, I presume?' "

It's also got subject matter that makes me wonder: is Dugard a really good writer or are the characters so off-the-map that it's guaranteed to be a good narrative? Okay, a bad writer could ruin it - I'm saying that Dugard didn't. This book sucked me in.

It also works as a travel book. I'm now both curious and repulsed by "darkest Africa", thanks no doubt to the lurid imagery and detail of the book. I wish I could write this well. I listened to it as read by John Lee, and it's one of the rare times I'm like, "Damn, I want to read this again with my eyes." I also want some more true adventure books like these.

Speaking of true adventure, I'm traveling across Korea tomorrow for an 11-hour hike at Seoraksan. I'm taking a vehicle, so it's not exactly Livingstone walking from one side of Africa to the other. But if I don't blog for a while, assume that I'm lost like Livingstone and come get me (apr├Ęs
Stanley). But you can't say, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" You need to come up with your own catchy line.

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