Ratty (blinger) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books 21 & 22 - 2013

Book 21: Pacific Paradises: The Discovery of Tahiti and Hawaii by Trevor Lummis – 201 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
A story of cultures in collision. The reality of the colonisation of Tahiti and Hawaii by western powers is a shameful catalogue of misunderstanding and betrayal. In a final irony, western society now embraces many of the qualities held by the 'noble savages'.

We have this concept in Australia called ‘Schoolies week’. Its kinda like Spring Break. Basically, upon completion of Year 12 (our ‘senior’ year), most students will take a week long holiday (most of the time at the Gold Coast, about an hour’s drive from where I live). Schoolies is barely tolerated debauchery (if you go to the Gold Coast, I went to the Sunshine Coast – it was much tamer) as a result of illegal alcohol consumption. My sister graduated Year 12 last year and we decided that rather than go to the Gold Coast, we (as in her, me, our mother and one of our brothers) would go to Hawaii instead. So last November, we all trooped off to Hawaii. Beforehand however, I decided to read what I could on Hawaii. Unfortunately my local library system was pretty hopeless, and this was pretty much the only non-fiction book I could find. Still I’m glad I picked it up, because when I finally did get to Hawaii, I actually knew a number of the answers to the questions tour guides regularly ask (it also helped me correct a host at a trivia night). Captain Cook is famous in Australia for discovering us (well, for England anyway. The Aboriginals obviously were already here). But he is also found a few other places, Hawaii being one of them. This book looked through the discovering of both Tahiti and Hawaii and what is known about both cultures prior to their ‘discovery’ and what damage was done to said cultures after English (and Spanish, American etc) contact. It’s really quite disturbing to see how much damage was done to these cultures in the name of ‘progress’ and ‘civilizing the savages’, and how much we’ve come to realize that maybe their lifestyles were actually not so bad after all, and maybe we could have learnt something from them. This book is short but gives a solid overview of the main players in the discoveries of both islands and in particular, gave me a nice little understanding of the history of Hawaii’s monarchy in order to equip me sufficiently for when I was there. Definitely recommended if you don’t know a lot about either island and want to get a good overview of their history.

21 / 50 books. 42% done!

7766 / 15000 pages. 52% done!

Book 22: The Bride Wore Size 12 by Meg Cabot – 392 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Heather Wells is used to having her cake and eating it too, but this time her cake just might be cooked. Her wedding cake, that is. With her upcoming nuptials to PI Cooper Cartwright only weeks away, Heather's already stressed. And when a pretty junior turns up dead, Heather's sure things can't get worse--until every student in the dorm where she works is a possible suspect, and Heather's long-lost mother shows up. Heather has no time for a tearful mother and bride reunion. She has a wedding to pull off and a murder to solve. Instead of wedding bells, she might be hearing wedding bullets, but she's determined to bring the bad guys to justice if it's the last thing she does . . . and this time, it just might be.

This appears to be the final of the Heather Wells mysteries (after a several year publishing gap between books three and four; this is the fifth). I really liked this series (except the rant about not having children in book four), and the mysteries are solid. This one is the lead up to Heather’s wedding to her beau, Cooper, who appreciates Heather’s Size 12 body (a recurring theme of the series – body size and image – to be honest, she’s goes on a bit, but at least its probably remotely realistic – I know I go on a bit and obsess a fair bit about my body) and is a bit of a rogue, which Heather seems to appreciate. Of course, Heather works in ‘Death Dorm’ and of course, another murder occurs not long before the wedding. And Heather’s long lost mother (who swiped any money Heather made when she was a pop star – Heather’s career before she put on weight and got replaced by the next dime-a-dozen pop star) turns up too, which throws poor Heather into a spin. Consequently, whilst still trying to finalise her wedding preparations, Heather also throws herself into solving the murder, whilst trying to ignore all the abandonment feelings stirred up by her mother’s return. This was a nice conclusion to the series, and a satisfying little murder mystery. It was nice to see a fictional wedding actually go off without a hitch (the disrupted wedding - a tried and true method of creating drama in both television and literature), and for the not so perfect girl to get her man in the end. Personally, I think Meg Cabot should stick to this kind of fiction – it’s her strong suit.

22 / 50 books. 44% done!

8158 / 15000 pages. 54% done!

Currently reading:
-        Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire – 495 pages
-        The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey – 457 pages
-        A Series of Unfortunate Events: Book the Ninth: The Carnivorous Carnival by Lemony Snicket – 286 pages

And coming up:
-        The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
-        The Odyssey by Homer – 324 pages
-        One for the Money by Janet Evanovich – 290 pages
Tags: history, murder mystery, romance

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