Thursday, November 18, 2010

Book Review- Around Africa on My Bicycle

I'm so SAD to finish this book.  I started it way back around June, but didn't read at all while we were back in the States.  When we returned I started reading again, fell all the way into it, and never wanted it to end.  This guy from Cape Town, Riaan Manser (pronounced like Ryan), decided to put his life here on hold and ride a bicycle around the perimeter of Africa!!  Isn't that insane!?!?  He basically hugged the coast, or as close as possible all the way around.  Usually ignoring warnings from many people about the area just ahead that would be too dangerous or rough.  He originally planned to do the trip in one year.  It ends up taking him 2 years and 2 months.  It's amazing to read about his adventures, the way people supported him, and the hospitality that he experienced.  He almost never found people to be nearly as 'scary' or 'dangerous' as he had been warned.  Along the way he is forced to use several different languages, enters different religious contexts, travels through different types of weather, sees tons of amazing sites, and meets incredible people.
There are 2 reasons I love this book.  The first is that I have a sense of adventure like this, but I know I'm too cowardly and coddled to ever do anything like this.  So, as I read, I can experience all the adventure through him.  The 2nd reason is that I love this continent, so it was so incredible to experience it, in all its grandeur, through his stories.  If you're like me with either of these then you will enjoy this book.  Towards the end I avoided reading because I didn't want the story to end.  I think that's a compelling statement about my feelings.  But if you do pick this up, be ready for the investment in time and emotions because it's 700 pages and gripping throughout.
Overall Grade: A


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