WorldBookProject – Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan

You hadn’t thought I’d given up on reading the world now, had you? Yes, it is going slower than in the first two years, but I’m ploughing on and keep making great discoveries. Some stats: the current count overall is 167 out of 257 books, and 71 of these were written by female authors, 11 by a mixed team and one book didn’t name an author.

165 Saudi Arabia: Daring to Drive: My Life as an Accidental Activist in a Kingdom of Men by Manal Al-Sharif

This book is an autobiography written by someone who hasn’t much experience of the craft, but her story makes more than up for it. If you thought that the KSA was kind of a hellhole for women, here several new circles of hell are added to the equation.

166 Taiwan: Notes of a Crocodile by Qiu Miaojin

While listening to the audiobook version of this story I found it somewhat tricky to follow the many characters. I think it might have been better to read the printed version. Content-wise, I felt with the Crocodiles of the story. It’s good to see that Taiwan has now legalised same-sex marriage.

167 Kenya: Devil on the Cross by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

Revolution! This book is a call to arms and takes a broad aim: colonialism, sexual predation, big money, tribalism, corruption, religion and the list isn’t finished. It’s not exactly subtle in its stance but not without a sense of humour. The denouement came as a surprise to me and the heroine of the story … , well, read for yourself.

And what’s coming next? I’m in the middle of Bahrain, Antarctica and Kazakhstan and just got a big present from my parents including Uzbekistan, Paraguay and Equatorial Guinea. Thank you 🙂 .

Dinosaur of the week: Garganey

garganey

It was a few years ago on Loch Morlich in Scotland where I encountered what I think is a female Spatula querquedula. The species is listed as least concern on the Red List, but numbers are in decline and threats are aplenty:

  • habitat deterioration and destruction (dam building, irrigation)
  • destruction of nests through meadow mowing
  • lead poisoning
  • hunting (eg in France)

Dinosaur of the week: Grey Heron

grey heron

I find Ardea cinerea fascinating. If you’ve ever watched one hunting you might understand why. This particular bird was finding food on the outskirts of Oxford.

On the other hand, their hunting skills are why the birds are persecuted in some areas. Another danger to them is the cutting of trees because they build their nests high up and they nest in colonies, so many birds are affected.