Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tuesday Intro: West With the Night

I
Message from Nungwe 
How is it possible to bring order out of memory? I should like to begin at the beginning, patiently, like a weaver at his loom. I should like to say, 'This is the place to start; there can be no other.' 
But there are a hundred places to start for there are a hundred names - Mwanza, Serengetti, Nungwe, Molo, Nakuru. There are easily a hundred names, and I can begin best by choosing one of them - not because it is first nor of any importance in a wildly adventurous sense, but because here it happens to be, turned uppermost in my log book. After all, I am no weaver. Weavers create. This is a remembrance - revisitation; and names are keys that open corridors no longer fresh in the mind, but nonetheless familiar in the heart.
West With the Night 
by Beryl Markham

I finished reading Circling the Sun  by Paula McLain over the weekend and my book club will discuss it in a few days. Fictionalized biographies/autobiographies are popular now, but they are beginning to bother me. Which parts of Beryl Markham's story are true? How can I know which parts are a product of the author's imagination?

Last Friday I picked up a copy of Markham's memoir at the library, and am trying my hardest to finish it before our meeting Friday morning. It's interesting so far, but I haven't read enough to make any comparisons with the novel.

Here is the goodreads summary:
Beryl Markham’s life was a true epic, complete with shattered societal expectations, torrid love affairs, and desperate crash landings. A rebel from a young age, the British-born Markham was raised in Kenya’s unforgiving farmlands. She learned to be a bush pilot at a time when most Africans had never seen a plane. In 1936, she accepted the ultimate challenge: to fly solo across the Atlantic. Her successes and her failures—and her deep, lifelong love of the “soul of Africa”—are all chronicled here with wrenching honesty and agile wit. Hailed by National Geographic as one of the greatest adventure books of all time, West with the Night is the sweeping account of a fearless and dedicated woman.
After  the meeting, I'll post about both books and the group's reaction.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?


Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

40 comments:

  1. I might try this one for a book group but, I wouldn't be drawn toit on my own.

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    1. Diane - I'm not sure I would have picked this up without Circling the Sun.

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  2. I picked this up after starting Circling the Sun but I haven't read it yet. It sounds like she could write as well as fly ! E enjoy!

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    1. Heather - Funny how fictionalized biographies send out out in search of fact!

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  3. Circling the Sun piqued my interest in Beryl Markham, so I might give this one a try.

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    1. Catherine - I think they make great companion reads.

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  4. Hmm - I'm not sure about the language in this intro...but Circling the Sun definitely got me interested in Markham!

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    1. Sarah - It took a little longer than I would have liked to get into this one, but it is very good.

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  5. I'm curious about Circling the Sun and after a historical fiction like that I always want to read the real story to check the facts! This one sounds interesting and I can't wait to see what you think of both books!

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    1. Katherine - I'll post about both books soon, but I do recommend Circling the Sun.

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  6. West With The Night is one of my all-time favorites. Now I have to reread it!

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    1. Alison - It really is wonderful. Have you read Circling the Sun?

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  7. I can't tell you how pleased I was to see you are reading this! I am so not a fan of this newish trend. I did read Jack 1939 - http://lettersfromahillfarm.blogspot.com/2012/08/jack-1939-by-francine-mathews.html - but as you said, I kept wondering what was true and what was made up. I can't read any more of these books. There's something that makes me so uncomfortable about taking someone's life and telling a story with it. I know that autobiography and biography books aren't perfect either, but I really don't like the idea of playing with a person's life in fiction. I loved West With the Night.

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    1. Nan - I know just what you mean and think I'm done with this kind of book, too, even though I did enjoy Circling the Sun. Almost halfway through West With the Night now and love reading about her REAL experiences.

      Thanks for including the link to you review of Jack 1939. I love reading about the Kennedys, but had not heard of this book. Taken for what it is, it sounds like fun.

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    2. If you are interested in the Kennedy family, there is a wonderful, wonderful documentary by Rory Kennedy about her mother called Ethel. I think it was originally on HBO, but I couldn't find it anywhere, so I bought the DVD. It is so worth it. I've watched it twice already!

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    3. Nan - Thank you, I will try to find it, too. Maybe our library has a copy.

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  8. My curiosity would get the better of me, and I would want to know what is true as well. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - Somehow I could not NOT read her memoir after reading a fictional account.

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  9. I enjoyed Circling the Sun, but I bet the memoir is loads more interesting!

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    1. Harvee - Having Circling the Sun fresh in my mind makes it a perfect time to read West With the Night.

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  10. Oh, this is a WONDERFUL pick!! I think I've had this one on my TBR for ages, too. I've always had the intention of reading it, as it sounds SO fascinating!! "So many books, so little time..." As Frank Zappa so well put it.

    That opening was a total delight to read! Such elegant prose! Loved it! I need to bump this one up on "ye olde" TBR!

    Thanks for sharing!! Thanks as well for stopping by and commenting on my own Tuesday Intros post!! :)

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    1. Maria - If you have not read Circling the Sun, I recommend that one too. The combination is fascinating.

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  11. I LOVED this -- in print and in audio. I like your nice, clean design, but I might miss your seasonal headers :-)

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    1. Beth F - You may see the header photos return when I find something I love. Guess I just needed a change.

      In an effort to finish before book club, I downloaded the Anna Fields audio version today. It's nice to hear her voice again.

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  12. This sounds lovely from the opening but I do understand your concerns about fictionalised memoirs... Loving the new design too...

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    1. Cleo - Markham is a surprisingly good writer! I felt it only fair to read her words after reading a novel about her. Glad you like the design. There are still a few more tweaks I'd like to make, but I'm happy with it so far.

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  13. I have this on my to-read list after reading Circling the Sun earlier this year. I need to push this up closer to the top. I hope you enjoy JoAnn. I also hope your book club discussion goes well.

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    1. Margot - I am liking it more with each page turned!

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  14. What a great idea, reading the fictionalized novel and then the actual person's memoir back to back. It'll be interesting to see how her life compares. I can only read so much of one type of book at a time before growing tired of it. I think that's why I mix up my reading--to avoid burning out on any one type of book.

    Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Wendy - I like to mix things up, too. Right now I just don't like the idea of fictionalized biographies.

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  15. It's been forever since I read this book, but I remember liking it. She lived such a fascinating life, didn't she?

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    1. Lark - She certainly did! Now that I've read the novel, reading her actual words is even more fascinating.

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  16. I'm not 100% sure about the intro but I do like the sound of the book so yes, I'd keep on reading.

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    1. Emma - I did have some difficulty getting into the book, but it's wonderful now.

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  17. I did not love Circling The Sun the way others did. So...once I read it I was finished with that story.

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    1. Patty - I'm liking West With the Night, but thought Circling the Sun was more readable.

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  18. Oh Yes, I would continue. I love Markham's book. What a cover too! I am very wary of fictionalized biographies (I don't like them in general) -- but for some reason I did like Circling the Sun which surprised me. But nothing compares to the real thing: West With the Night. I'm still daunted by Markham's feat of flying over the Atlantic in a plane like that and with her life in Africa and with her being a bush pilot. (a wonderful chapter on that in her book.) I hope you have a great discussion with your book club. Enjoy.

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    1. Susan - I'm definitely over the fictionalized biography trend! Just hate not knowing exactly which parts have been made up. West With the Night is a very compelling read so far... especially enjoying the horse sections.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. These conversations are my favorite part of blogging. Please check back, I almost always respond to comments!

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