There´s no doubt in my case that it was books which made me choose this odd life and I really need to be surrounded by books to feel really content with life. For this reason I have written two articles about books I recommend:
Lately I have been given a lot of opportunities to review other people´s books and I have said no, because the books were just not interesting enough. I don´t want to waste my time reading nonsense. However, this last month I have received two really good books, so I have decided to do just that, starting as of August 2011 to review interesting and challenging books. (So, please, if you have a book you want reviewed, please send it to me.)
The Nomad´s Path
-Travels In The Sahel
I have to admit I have never heard of either the Manga region or the Tubu nomads. Which is quite amazing considering I have more or less just reviewed Steve Kemper´s book about the German explorer Heinrich Barth and his amazing travels in and around this region. And I have been through parts of the Sahel myself. For this reason, it was a great joy to read Alistair Carr´s The Nomad´s Path – Travel In The Sahel. It is an update on contemporary central Sahel and it fills in all these gaps that I lack when it comes to what has happened to this region since I was there. And since Heinrich Barth was there. I am also pleased to see that the Tubu see themselves as originating from Yemen, which means they´re possibly descendants of the Bani Hilal tribe! Amazing discovery!
The well known writer Justin Marrozzi describes the book in the finest tradition of British travel writing. I agree. It is an easy ready with a prose which really makes one feel being part of his travel. I can feel the desert. It also have all the British tendencies of a travel book. Slightly eccentric, slightly nationalistic, excellent prose, admiring the locals and at times, a slight need to be unique.
I am very happy that we have a great book about a part of the Sahel few know. It has really set off my appetite for going there, which I think is one of the most important aspects of a travel book. Plus that it gives you new knowledge. And it is an easy, uncomplicated book. Well worth reading!
My only hesitation is this Western need to claim the uniqueness of the book. Too often, I think, Alistair asks people he comes across, or mentions as a matter of fact, if or that he is either the first white person who has been to this or that village or the first one who has been there for quite some time. I feel, in these times we live in today, that is always an invalid and quite un-interesting fact. It takes away a bit of the greatness of the book. I have often done that mistake myself, for no good at all.
Finally, let me just say that Alistair Carr´s book could well become a classic as regards to the Sahel!