The Pirates of Somalia: Inside Their Hidden World
By: Canadian journalist Jay Bahadur
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published July 19th 2011 by Pantheon
Somalia, on the tip of the Horn of Africa, has been inhabited as far back as 9,000 B.C. Its history is as rich as the country is old. Caught up in a decades-long civil war, Somalia, along with Iraq and Afghanistan, has become one of the most dangerous countries in the world. Getting there is a forty-five-hour, five-flight voyage through Frankfurt, Dubai, Djibouti, Bosasso (on the Gulf of Aden), and, finally, Galkacyo. Somalia is a place where a government has been built out of anarchy.
For centuries, stories of pirates have captured imaginations around the world. The recent bands of daring, ragtag pirates off the coast of Somalia, hijacking multimillion dollar tankers owned by international shipping conglomerates, have brought the scourge of piracy into the modern era.
The capture of the American-crewed cargo ship Maersk Alabama in April 2009, the first United States ship to be hijacked in almost two centuries, catapulted the Somali pirates onto primetime news. Then, with the horrific killing by Somali pirates of four Americans, two of whom had built their dream yacht and were sailing around the world (“And now on to: Angkor Wat! And Burma!” they had written to friends), the United States Navy, Special Operation Forces, FBI, Justice Department, and the world’s military forces were put on notice . . . The Somali seas were now the most perilous in the world.
Jay Bahadur, a journalist who dared to make his way into the remote pirate havens of Africa’s easternmost country and spend months infiltrating their lives, gives us the first close-up look at the hidden world of the pirates of war-ravaged Somalia.
Bahadur’s riveting narrative exposé—the first ever—looks at who these men are, how they live, the forces that created piracy in Somalia, how they spend the ransom money, how they deal with their hostages. Bahadur makes sense of the complex and fraught regional politics, the history of Somalia and the self-governing region of Puntland (an autonomous region in northeast Somalia), and the various catastrophic occurrences that have shaped their pirate destinies. The book looks at how the unrecognized mini-state of Puntland is dealing with the rise—and increasing sophistication—of piracy and how, through legal and military action, other nations, international shippers, the United Nations, and various international bodies are attempting to deal with the present danger and growing pirate crisis.
A revelation of a world at the epicenter of political and natural disaster
Wow. This book really is a different kind of thrill. I was stoked to hear the author/journalist was a Canadian. woop woop!
Anyways, this book was pretty unreal.... but it IS real. I didn't know a whole lot about the topic, just had seen/heard/read a few news snippets here and there, but Bahadur gives us a pretty good overview of this kind of (very dangerous) life. Im sure he has only scratched the surface and I almost feel like he was teasing us throughout the book. I personally wanted to hear like the grueling accounts of exactly what happens on the ships first-hand, more about the hostages etc. Although I had to keep in mind- its not just a story its non-fiction and what Jay Badahur accomplished was pretty incredible.
Critically, I found that the book didnt flow together all that well despite the interesting topics. I was engaged but I found it hard to read a lot in one sitting. Also, I would really have liked to hear a little bit More about what In the world was going through Bahadur's mind, how he felt, how scared he felt, etc etc. I think just a little extra feeling would have made this an easy 5-star.
I recommend reading this book if you think you have thing for pirates, or just want to be more educated on what is going on in the world you live in- maybe appreciate how lucky you are to live where you do.
Second of all, I could never do this book any justice, it was really remarkable.
and last but not least, this week, I'm PUPPY-sitting. It's pretty entertaining. I've never had to watch more than one dog at a time and i find myself regularly doing headcounts, trying to give them each enough snuggle time, and going on tons and tons of walks ( and trying to figure out which way the puppy harness goes). there are three small dogs and one 10 week old staffy-X pup. Never a dull moment here. My plan is to power through a few books and take a little vacay- time away from everything- as I am house-sitting as well. So it's really just me, and the books, and the dogs, so we'll see how it goes... they do have Telus Optik TV so I may get distracted!
Anyways, Back to the book!
Paperback, 592 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Harper Perennial
American Gods is Neil Gaiman's best and most ambitious novel yet, a scary, strange, and hallucinogenic road-trip story wrapped around a deep examination of the American spirit. Gaiman tackles everything from the onslaught of the information age to the meaning of death, but he doesn't sacrifice the razor-sharp plotting and narrative style he's been delivering since his Sandman days.
Shadow gets out of prison early when his wife is killed in a car crash. At a loss, he takes up with a mysterious character called Wednesday, who is much more than he appears. In fact, Wednesday is an old god, once known as Odin the All-father, who is roaming America rounding up his forgotten fellows in preparation for an epic battle against the upstart deities of the Internet, credit cards, television, and all that is wired. Shadow agrees to help Wednesday, and they whirl through a psycho-spiritual storm that becomes all too real in its manifestations. For instance, Shadow's dead wife Laura keeps showing up, and not just as a ghost--the difficulty of their continuing relationship is by turns grim and darkly funny, just like the rest of the book.
Armed only with some coin tricks and a sense of purpose, Shadow travels through, around, and underneath the visible surface of things, digging up all the powerful myths Americans brought with them in their journeys to this land as well as the ones that were already here. Shadow's road story is the heart of the novel, and it's here that Gaiman offers up the details that make this such a cinematic book--the distinctly American foods and diversions, the bizarre roadside attractions, the decrepit gods reduced to shell games and prostitution. "This is a bad land for Gods," says Shadow.
More than a tourist in America, but not a native, Neil Gaiman offers an outside-in and inside-out perspective on the soul and spirituality of the country--our obsessions with money and power, our jumbled religious heritage and its societal outcomes, and the millennial decisions we face about what's real and what's not. --Therese Littleton
After reading Good Omens I wasnt entirely sure I'd enjoy this one. However, since I decided to open my mind to the mythical, fictional literature this summer. This was a book that just had to be read. And it was amazing. Neil Gaiman's characters were so interesting and I loved how they developed. Shadow was such a great character, and although I liked him more in the beginning than the end, I loved the experience of going through his journey's and change of mind with him.
I recommend this book to anyone who just simply appreciates a good read.
I hand out my % star ratings on pretty much every book I merely loved, but this one is a solid ,solid 5.
Follow Friday is a weekly blog following event hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.
This week: Caught in the Pages and Jenni Elyse are featured!
This weeks question iiiiss... drumroll..
In books like the Sookie Stackhouse (True Blood) series the paranormal creature in question comes out of the closet and makes itself known to the world. Which mythical creature do you wish would come out of the closet, for real?
Easy. The Faerie.
Enough said. I could talk about faeries for a long time but I also found something else fun to do.
This Quiz determines which kind of mythical creature you would be, if you were in fact, a mythical creature. I ended up as a faerie but I may or may not have picked answers that seemed faerie-like. In any case, what did your results look like?
Thanks so much for stopping by! :)
Posted by Alana Green at 12:42 PM Labels: Blood Donation, Blood Serives, Good Omens, James Franco, Neil Gaiman, Planet of the Apes, Terry Pratchett
Four cool things happened in my life.
2. I, for the first time, after 56 days of anticipation, donated a pint of blood! Yes, despite being vegetarian, my blood was in tip top shape to donate and although it was a little bit more uncomfortable than I expected, I happily donated some of my blood.
Did you know only 4% of Canada's population donates blood? That's just NOT enough. I was so surprised at how special they make you feel there, like you're actually giving a true gift. I was so happy about this because I definitely don't have the money to donate to any foundations, don't have the time to raise money and train for a race or anything like that, so I felt so good about being able to do SOMETHING. It was really a unique experience and I WILL be doing it again in another 56 days :)
For more information go to http://www.blood.ca or call 1-888-2-DONATE to book an appointment ( Residents of Canada only- I think blood in the states is done through American Red Cross?)
3. I FINALLY watched Planet of the Apes! It was so awesome. Not at all what I thought it would be liked. I loved how it was shown through the chimps perspective. So cool. And James Franco is in it so what's not to like?
4. I finished reading....
by Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman
Mass Market Paperback, 412 pages
Published December 1st 2006 by HarperTorch (first published May 1st 1990)
Pratchett (of Discworld fame) and Gaiman (of Sandman fame) may seem an unlikely combination, but the topic (Armageddon) of this fast-paced novel is old hat to both. Pratchett's wackiness collaborates with Gaiman's morbid humor; the result is a humanist delight to be savored and reread again and again. You see, there was a bit of a mixup when the Antichrist was born, due in part to the machinations of Crowley, who did not so much fall as saunter downwards, and in part to the mysterious ways as manifested in the form of a part-time rare book dealer, an angel named Aziraphale. Like top agents everywhere, they've long had more in common with each other than the sides they represent, or the conflict they are nominally engaged in. The only person who knows how it will all end is Agnes Nutter, a witch whose prophecies all come true, if one can only manage to decipher them. The minor characters along the way (Famine makes an appearance as diet crazes, no-calorie food and anorexia epidemics) are as much fun as the story as a whole, which adds up to one of those rare books which is enormous fun to read the first time, and the second time, and the third time...
Welll..... I feel like a bit of douche for saying this, since it seems like most people loved it.. but I didn't. I liked the story idea, the jokes were eye-rolling, but still witty, and it's not like I stopped reading it or anything. I think my dislike for it came with the dialogue. There was just too much and so many characters, some of which I particularly didn't like.
I DID like Adam Young and the Them in the book, and I actually loved Anathema and her relationship with Newton.
I respect both of these authors greatly, however this just wasn't the book for me :)
Posted by Alana Green at 8:29 AM Labels: Anorexia, Bulimia, Portia de Rossi, Unbearable Lightness
Last night, I finished reading Portia de Rossi's ( Now Portia DeGeneres)Unbearable Lightness.
I actually picked this book up in Chapters back in February, and really wanted to read it. However, I have a hard time buying books like that now from big stores. The town I live in only has two bookstores, they're both independent, and one in particular, the cozy warm one, is struggling so much to pay the rent for a downtown store. Therefore that's where I like to buy my books from when I have a little extra money. So if you hear me go off about my dislike of E-readers, that's part of the reason.
The two bookstores actually didn't have this book yet, so I ordered it through the library ( IN FEBRUARY) and it finally came this week. The reason I didn't by it was because I thought, oh well, poor little rich and famous actress struggling with anorexia and bulimia who cares!? Although I love memoirs and reading about peoples deep dark struggles, I kind of rolled my eyes at this book. That is until about halfway through, when it dawned on me how crazy and intense these moments she was sharing were.
I myself don't diet, and don't really care what the scale says either. I DO however put a high priority on being fit and could definitely relate with some of the body image issues mentioned in this book. I know a LOT of people who diet and count calories and I love how this book points out how silly it is! I also didn't know a thing really about Portia aside from the fact she was on Ally McBeal and married to Ellen.
Also at random- I noticed there is an acknowledgement to Jonathan Safran Foer, with a little review quote by him on the back. He's one of my favourite authors so I just found that interesting.
I HIGHLY recommend checking this one out. Especially if you have ever been on a diet or questioned your worth by the number on the scale. Portia totally opened up and shared a very dark, very real story. You can tell SHE wrote it too, and I really liked that.
If you don't want to read it Oprah did a nice little episode with Portia about the book, in which she reads from a few pages so you get the idea. I don't watch Oprah, or listen to everything she says like so many people seem to do, but after reading this book it also helped pull everything into perspective.
So if you'd like to check it out- here ya go!
Part 1- http://youtu.be/aJMDDQFL3ro
Part 2- http://youtu.be/YwGgYs9tj_E
Part 3- http://youtu.be/RhX9os6ex68
Part 4- http://youtu.be/ZmcJ6r4GfXk
Unbearable Lightness, 305 pgs, Published November 2nd 2010 by Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
"I didn't decide to become anorexic. It snuck up on me disguised as a healthy diet, a professional attitude. Being as thin as possible was a way to make the job of being an actress easier . . ."
Portia de Rossi weighed only 82 pounds when she collapsed on the set of the Hollywood film in which she was playing her first leading role. This should have been the culmination of all her years of hard work—first as a child model in Australia, then as a cast member of one of the hottest shows on American television. On the outside she was thin and blond, glamorous and successful. On the inside, she was literally dying.
In this searing, unflinchingly honest book, Portia de Rossi captures the complex emotional truth of what it is like when food, weight, and body image take priority over every other human impulse or action. She recounts the elaborate rituals around eating that came to dominate hours of every day, from keeping her daily calorie intake below 300 to eating precisely measured amounts of food out of specific bowls and only with certain utensils. When this wasn't enough, she resorted to purging and compulsive physical exercise, driving her body and spirit to the breaking point.
Even as she rose to fame as a cast member of the hit television shows Ally McBeal and Arrested Development, Portia alternately starved herself and binged, all the while terrified that the truth of her sexuality would be exposed in the tabloids. She reveals the heartache and fear that accompany a life lived in the closet, a sense of isolation that was only magnified by her unrelenting desire to be ever thinner. With the storytelling skills of a great novelist and the eye for detail of a poet, Portia makes transparent as never before the behaviors and emotions of someone living with an eating disorder.
From her lowest point, Portia began the painful climb back to a life of health and honesty, falling in love with and eventually marrying Ellen DeGeneres, and emerging as an outspoken and articulate advocate for gay rights and women's health issues.
In this remarkable and beautifully written work, Portia shines a bright light on a dark subject. A crucial book for all those who might sometimes feel at war with themselves or their bodies, Unbearable Lightness is a story that inspires hope and nourishes the spirit.
Posted by Alana Green at 9:43 PM Labels: Bedwell Lake, Cream Lake, Mt.Septimus, Mt.Tom Taylor, Strathcona Park
This week's Question IS......
Q. If you could write yourself a part in a book, what book would it be and what role would you play in that book?
I would play a comedic, quirky, and probably drunk young maiden of some sort in some kind of land of old. I would be the comic relief of the book and yet also be totally bad ass and hard as F*&%. Maybe some kind of elf archeress. This book might be a Lord of the Rings type. Legolas' totally awesome sister.
Thanks for stopping by!
What I wanted to share with you ( is the pictures but they're not ready yet!!) is what my most adored regime is right now. I know this post isn't about a book in particular, but books and pampering really do go hand-in-hand for book lovers like us. So when you're out on your next local (hopefully independent) bookstore or local library trip, either before or after you've had your amazing cup of coffee for the morning.. or afternoon, stop by Lush and check these must-haves out!
Squeaky Green Shampoo Bar
- Lasts SO LONG
- Smells like a Rosemary Heaven
- Actually cleans your hair
- travels perfectly in the Lush Shampoo Tin
- Enviro-friendly! No bottle=no bottle in the garbage!
Jungle Solid Conditioner
- De-tangles & Smooths
- Smells great!~
- Doesn't make your hair feel greasy
Sea Vegetable Soap
- Smells Sooooo yummy like Lime and Lavender
- Exfoliates with seaweed ( I know, crazy!)
- Comes in a cool colour, reminds me of a beach storm!
- Made from fennel & ginger ( you smell like a tree. I couldn't be happier with this smell, and my Mountain Man loves it ;) )
- Makes your skin feel baby-smooth
- Attacks cellulite and help to prevent it!
So after my romp in the woods, it was so nice to come home and smell nice and feel clean. I've been using these products in the shower for a couple weeks now and I just had to tell someone about them. I'm already a HUGE Lush fanatic, but usually I've just tried the fun little things and not ever attempted their hair or skin products. So enjoyable! Enjoy, Relax, Read, and we'll see you tomorrow for Follow Friday :)
Posted by Alana Green at 9:54 PM Labels: Hiking, James Franco, Palo Alto, Short stories
So James Franco writes a collection of short stories. Firstly, I was intrigued to learn that he has a MFA in creative writing from Brooklyn College. I had no idea, although I am quite a fan or his acting career :) Ok and I can't help but swoon over that smile! Nothing is hotter than a sexy man with a working brain!
Secondly, I had no idea he wrote a book. I don't know how that slipped past me but it did!
So Palo Alto it was. Very shortly anyways. I was finished this book before I even had time to process it. Two short sittings. I think I missed something. The stories went together, but then they didn't. Were they supposed to? It was a lot more raunchy than I expected, not graphic, but the subject content was not PG. I liked that, I like reading disturbing things for some reason. But anyways, I was left with so many questions about the characters, their intention, etc. It was definitely different and very unique. A standing ovation for Mr.Franco from me, although I would love to sit down and talk to him about this one for sure.... hehe, wouldn't we all?
My hope is that he keeps writing and maybe develops a novel out of these stories? I'm not sure what he has up his sleeve as far as writing goes but I'd definitely read more.
This collection totally reminded me of being a teenager myself, though this book seems to have been set in to 90's and I was just a little too young to be a teen. My babysitter could have easily been any girl mentioned in this one however.
A fiercely vivid collection of stories about troubled California teenagers and misfits--violent and harrowing, from the astonishingly talented actor and artist James Franco.
Palo Alto is the debut of a surprising and powerful new literary voice. Written with an immediate sense of place--claustrophobic and ominous--James Franco's collection traces the lives of an extended group of teenagers as they experiment with vices of all kinds, struggle with their families and one another, and succumb to self-destructive, often heartless nihilism. In "Lockheed" a young woman's summer--spent working a dull internship--is suddenly upended by a spectacular incident of violence at a house party. In "American History" a high school freshman attempts to impress a girl during a classroom skit with a realistic portrayal of a slave owner—only to have his feigned bigotry avenged. In "I Could Kill Someone," a lonely teenager buys a gun with the aim of killing his high school tormentor, but begins to wonder about his bully's own inner life.
These linked stories, stark, vivid, and disturbing, are a compelling portrait of lives on the rough fringes of youth.
Anyways I am sorry this review(?) is so scattered. My mind is in 100 places right now.
I can't wait to tell you about the next book I'm reading, I have so much to tell you! See you in a few days! Happy Reading!
Posted by Alana Green at 4:23 PM Labels: Gail Carson Levine, Love in the Wild, Teen Mom, The Two Princesses of Bamarre
The thought of a new quest gave the young lady much anxiety, and she often took out her frustration in the gym across the street, therefore, defining some muscles in her arms and legs, and giving her a bit more confidence to begin her journey. However, when she was not at the gym, during her last week of her old job, she would feel much stress at home, as her mind often wandered and wondered of what was to come. She became less social, quite weepy, and spent a lot of time watching such pathetic television shows such as Love in the Wild, Teen Mom, and the like. Then she turned off the computer to delve deeper into The Two Princesses of Bamarre, and something within her started to change. She was transported to a land of old, where sisterhood always triumphs and cute sorcerer's woo others with magical gifts. During the young lady's reading experience she noticed herself smiling and then feeling better after being quite down over the last week. She appreciated that this delightful tale was so wonderful and magical, and she was thankful to have read it. She also envisioned reading this book again one day, perhaps aloud at night to her own little princess, or even to someone else's little princess.
Twelve-year-old Addie admires her older sister Meryl, who aspires to rid the kingdom of Bamarre of gryphons, specters, and ogres. Addie, on the other hand, is fearful even of spiders and depends on Meryl for courage and protection. Waving her sword Bloodbiter, the older girl declaims in the garden from the heroic epic of Drualt to a thrilled audience of Addie, their governess, and the young sorcerer Rhys.
But when Meryl falls ill with the dreaded Gray Death, Addie must gather her courage and set off alone on a quest to find the cure and save her beloved sister. Addie takes the seven-league boots and magic spyglass left to her by her mother and the enchanted tablecloth and cloak given to her by Rhys—along with a shy declaration of his love. She prevails in encounters with tricky specters (spiders too) and outwits a wickedly personable dragon in adventures touched with romance and a bittersweet ending
Posted by Alana Green at 6:06 PM Labels: first reads, Goodreads.com, J-Boys:Kazuo's World, Shogo Oketani
That's RIGHT! I won my first Giveaway through Goodreads! It was a book I totally wanted to read too the second I saw it.
The Book: J-Boys: Kazuo's World, Tokyo, 1965
The Author: Shogo Oketani ( so fun to say!) Translated from the Japanese by Avery Fisher Udagawa.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 1st 2011 by Stone Bridge Press
The book starts out telling us about Kazuo, a young boy who dreams of running as fast as Bob Hayes. His family lives in the Nihon Optics company housing, and although Kazuo feels fortunate enough to live there, his brother, Yasuo, wants to move so he can have a yard for a dog. Kazuo lives a humble life in Tokyo, but throughout his story ( a year in his life, during the start of quite a change in Tokyo) he idealizes the classic middle-class American dream, post WWII. He has a few good friends, whom he seems to learn from, just as much as plays with them. This books is all about Japanese culture and what it would have been like to be a kid in Tokyo in 1965, playing pachinko, being forced to drink miruku at school, warming up via kotatsu during the winter while mother begs one to study, and dreaming of eating a hanbaagaa.
I absolutely loved this book. It had so many historical post-war elements, like how the middle school kids were to drink their Miruku before recess, as this very hard to digest powdered milk was seen as healthy for them. And also, how the 'grown-ups' around them were affected by the war. The book posed a great description of the 1960's and what it was like to grow up during this time.
The book also had definitions to some traditional Japanese words in the margins of the page, And although I personally knew most of them, they were helpful with some words I didn't already know.
It was neat for me to read this book as I've dreamed of going to Tokyo my whole life.
The only thing that bothered me about Kazuo is that he strives to become more Westernized. Japan has such a rich culture, and one of the most healthy diets on the planet and I'd hate to think anyone in Japan would WANT to be like the average, overweight, white picket fenced, hamburger eating, middle class American. Nevertheless, this was a common dream for Japanese kids post WWII as they often watched American TV shows such as Tom and Jerry, Popeye, and The Three Stooges during that time.
The pictures in this book are really great! Just added that extra little bit of meaning for me. Kazuo and Yasuo truly touched my heart as I got to know what there life was like.I felt like Kazuo was my own brother.
My favourite chapter, naturally, was Bathing and The Beatles, as Kazuo, his brother, and friends were discovering one of the greatest bands of all time, again another post war influence on Japanese culture.
I think I am going to give this book to my little brother. He is 11 and I am curious to see what he thinks of it, or if he learns anything from Mr.Yoshino or any of the other characters in this book :)
More often than not, Google, or Blogger, or some kind of supreme Internet being will not let me comment on your blogs. Every now and again it works, but not recently. I just wanted to let you know I do read, love, and appreciate all of your blogs and I promise to comment when it will let me :)
I have had one day off in almost three weeks now. OK, I had two more days off in there, but they were after graveyard shifts so they barely count in my opinion.
I also joined VI Fitness for Women! yep that`s right, I`ve been up in the gyyyyym just workin`on my fitness, as a certain pea with a black eye would say. I have not lost a pound yet but I am already noticing a little bit more muscle tone and energy in myself. I am so stoked to be a gym member finally. It`s never happened to me before! I also got a free body age composition test and to my pleasant surprise, my body age is only 22... two years younger than I actually am! woop woop!
I also went camping for one night ( gotta take what you can get) with my man to McCreight lake, and we had a totally private, beautiful little campsite and saw so many cute little creatures and got a little drunk and had a little campsite fun!;) It was so needed.
So in between all of the excitement I also just finished reading Sarah Addison Allen`s Garden Spells. It was the perfect book to tag along with me to my busy life. It was one of those books where you can easily snatch up a chapter here and there, even if you don't have much reading time.
So Garden Spells. It`s an enchanting little story about two sisters, Sydney & Claire Waverley, growing up in North Carolina in a magical house with a magical garden, and a temperamental apple tree. Its a story about family, and love.
Claire Waverly grew up in her grandmothers magical house and learned how to use the special plants in the garden to make amazing food that can help people remember things, feel better, or to help them forget, among other things. Her story in the book is about finding herself and a little love along the way.
Her sister Sydney Waverley was a bit of wild child, denying her Waverly magic and running away from her past, until an unfortunate relationship brings her and her daughter, Bay, to Bascom and the Waverly house where they are both given a fresh start.
There are also some other great characters in the book that I grew to love, particularly Evanellle, the Waverley sister`s aunt who has a compelling need to give people things that they end up needing, although she has no idea why she gives people things until the things become of use.
Overall I really loved cuddling up to this one. It reminded me a little bit of the movie Practical Magic.
This book was recommended to me on Goodreads. So far I have found that if you want to find your next lovely little gem a book, asking for a recommendation on there is great way to get some ideas!
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