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Posted by on Mar 11, 2013 in Book Review, Guest Post |

Life of Pi Book Review

Life of Pi Book Review

Kelli Mutchler shares a book review of the Life of Pi by author Yann Martel. Visit her at Too Mutch For Words. “This is a story that will make you believe in God.” Or so we are warned, over espresso at Indian Coffee House, in the town of Pondicherry. An older man approaches and promises to share a tale so extraordinary, the unimaginable will become exceptional. Expectations are set for a typical man-befriends-beast novel of heartwarming, and award-winning, proportion. But this is also a story that will besiege your expectations, wearing away at your preconceptions until the very book you read transforms from non-fiction to gospel truth. When the ship carrying Pi’s family and a zoological collection of animals sinks in the Pacific Ocean, the only survivors are Pi, an injured zebra, an orangutan, a hyena and a 450-pound Bengal tiger, named Richard Parker. For over 200 days, humanity and the existence of a higher being are called into question. Is there a god? Can he see Pi and...

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Posted by on Dec 6, 2012 in Book Review, Guest Post, Travel, Volunteer Abroad |

Little Princes: A Book Review

Little Princes: A Book Review

This book review by Kelli Mutchler originally appeared on her blog, Too Mutch for Words. Too many travel narratives are written about the highly improbable, crazy or suicidal, vain-glorious antics someone participates in simply to publish.  Too few are written accidentally, by honest travelers. Conor Grennan is at least frank.  He confesses, within the first pages, that his round-the-world-trip plus volunteer-stint-in-Nepal was planned as a feel-good future pickup line. But then he meets the orphans at Little Princes.  And Grennan – a 20-something American with no prior experience in childcare or global development- discovers that he is more than just a foreign helper in an orphanage for trafficked children. As it turns out, wondering what you’re supposed to do in an orphanage is like wondering what you’re supposed to do at the running of the bulls in Spain- you work it out pretty quickly. Grennan’s initial experience turns into a three-year effort to reconnect children with their families.  Open and eager, Grennan never admits to anything but a surprising...

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Posted by on Oct 10, 2012 in Guest Post, Travel |

Bangkok 8: A Book Review

Bangkok 8: A Book Review

Have you ever watched a Thai ping-pong show? “We didn’t want to go, at first,” two young English women told me, “but then we decided it was better to support local jobs.”  Both giggled, whether at the ingenuity of this comment, or the concept of women paid to shoot plastic balls out of their nether parts, I do not know. The stereotypes of Thailand – its sex industry, cross-ethnic match-making and lurid underworld – are elements of the country that trouble every traveler.  Do we embrace, accept or abhor? This is the conflicting scene that Burdett skillfully addresses in his nonfiction mystery, Bangkok 8. When the murder of a U.S. Marine inadvertently leads to the death of  Sonchai’s police partner, his search for vengeance will lead him to question the blend and clash of Western and Eastern influences ruling the city.  Sonchai, a detective with the training of a Buddhist monk, explores backstreets and conundrums, eventually connecting his spirituality to a new understanding of  the red light culture. Burdett’s...

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