March 6, 2013

História, História by Eleanor Stanford




História, História: 

Two Years in the Cape Verde Islands by Eleanor Stanford

Publisher: CCLap Publishing
Publication Date: March 2013
Categories: Memoir, Travel

Description:

Twenty-two and newly married, Eleanor Stanford and her husband join the Peace Corps and find themselves on the West African islands of Cape Verde. In this beautifully alien place, as she teaches her students and struggles to come to terms with the island's fascinating yet frustrating culture, Eleanor watches everything she knows about relationships get flipped upside-down and attempts to hide the eating disorder she's developed, which threatens both her marriage and her life. Part travelogue, part cultural documentary, Historia, Historia combines journalistic excellence with the gripping style of personal memoirs to bring you this lyrical, moving portrait of an enchanting, little-glimpsed geography. Fans of factually informative and emotionally moving nonfiction will be drawn towards this haunting meditation on love, fidelity and self-image.

My Thoughts:

História, História is a small book that leaves a big impression. 

Stanford's writing is graceful and rhythmic. The sentences reeled me in to her time on Cape Verde. Her descriptions of the place, the food, and the people made me want to explore it for myself. 

Eleanor and her husband are doing good work through the Peace Corp. Sadly, giving time to such a worthwhile cause doesn't make your own problems go away. Eleanor is dealing with a crumbling marriage and a burgeoning eating disorder. 

I felt a sense of guilt in the author. She's in a land where solid marriages seem to be few and far between, education is lacking and food isn't always plentiful. Those facts don't lessen Stanford's issues but they do put things into perspective.

Melancholy and luscious, História, História is a worthwhile read. 

28 comments:

  1. Sounds really interesting. And yes, you can't change your problems only by changing the location...

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  2. Sounds very interesting. How much focus is there on the Cape Verde islands themselves?

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    1. Quite a bit actually. It was another thing I found interesting about the book. I knew next to nothing about Cape Verde beforehand.

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  3. Hmm. This one sounds pretty interesting. I love how people think that by moving away, you are leaving your problems behind - so not true! Definitely a title I will be jotting down ;)

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    1. It's a quick little read too. Once in a while I really appreciate that!

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  4. It's rare to find a book that balances memoir and another topic. I have to say that I don't know too much about that part of the world, either. Must. Read. More. Non-fiction.

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    1. Must. Read. More. Non-fiction! I couldn't agree more. But then again I'm wildly in love with non-fiction ;)

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  5. This sounds good, a balance of personal issues and a larger theme. Thanks for the recommendation :)

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  6. Sounds like a moving, fascinating story . . . and that's definitely a different setting than any book I've read before!

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    1. It was wonderful to read something set in a place I knew nothing about. I love to travel through books!

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  7. This sounds so sad and lovely. I'm looking forward to reading it soon!

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    1. Kim, I love how our reading lists mesh up more often than not, lol. Great minds ya know!

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  8. Nadia and everyone else, starting this Monday (3/11) you'll be able to download a free copy if you want at http://www.cclapcenter.com/historia , or order a handmade paper copy if you prefer. You can go there now to pre-order a copy, and to see a YouTube trailer Eleanor cut together for the book. Thanks for this very nice write-up!

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    1. Great info Jason, thanks for sharing!!

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  9. Not something I would normally read but your review has piqued my interest. Thanks Jennifer!

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  10. Wow, I will definitely have to check this book out. Love your review, melancholy and luscious, I love that.

    Side note: I always wanted to join the Peace Corps. :)

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    1. I always thought that joining the Peace Corps would be the best thing ever!

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  11. This sounds like the type of book I love!

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    1. It just might be :) (I bet it is!)

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  12. História, História sounds like a worthwhile read. The writing style sounds like it would draw me in.
    Happy weekend :)

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  13. Did I not reply to this???? I thought I did. . . confusing . . . maybe I replied to something that said you were reading it currently? Oy. . . I'm losing my mind!

    Anyway, I really liked this book! It was short, but I thought it was comprehensive enough to tell us the story. I like that it's short because it'll open people's eyes to something new, and isn't a huge commitment for those who might not normally pick this up.

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    1. You may have replied to my comment on your review of this very same book? ;)

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  14. Such a coincidence about Historia, Historia - thansk for leaving a note in my blog. I am only a third into it, but have the same feeling: a small book that leaves a big impression, and an author who doesn't skip the difficult and personal aspects while at the same time giving vivid descriptions of the islands of Cape Verde and the people who live there.

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    1. I hope you end up enjoying the whole thing Dorothee! I think you will :)

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