Bookswapping in Zanzibar

Back from my honeymoon in Tanzania. The first week was spent marvelling at wildlife on safari (6am starts and the joys are watching elephants amble by only 50 yards from our tent meant there was little time for reading). The second week however was spent melting on a beach in Zanzibar and a lifestyle that could be summed up with the title:  Eats, Sleeps and Reads.

In the hectic run up to leaving on holiday I actually left the UK sans reading material and was left to hastily pick up a book at the airport as we rushed to our gate.  I quickly opted for The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides. What can I say…with the wedding in mind, it seemed apt. But before you think it was a Sense & Sensibility-style read, the plot revolved around manic depression, religious exploration and the disappointments of young love.  It’s not exactly chick-lit, and may sound dire but actually it was a very compelling read – and I agree with the reviewers that have compared it to the likes of David Nicholls, One Day.

I started the book the evening we arrived in Zanzibar and finished it the morning we were leaving, only to finding myself in the same predicament on ending the holiday as I had been in when I began it:  sans reading material. But as luck would have it, our little resort included a small library whereby guests could swap their book for another.

So I browsed the shelves of English, Afrikaans, French and German books,  and toyed with getting Dawn French’s autobiography A Tiny Bit Marvellous (mostly because I liked the fact that I spotted a note on one of the pages from its past owner that said “I can’t believe I’ve finished my final exams!! I am SOOOOO happy”.  But instead opted for another.

So, as of of 14 July 2012, the small resort of Ras Nungwi in Zanzibar no longer holds a copy of Lethal, by Sara Brown (nothing like a good thriller to pass the time on a long haul flight) and instead is the proud owner of a copy of The Marriage Plot with my name in it.  Can’t help but be very curious about who might pick it up next…

Chiara Priorelli, Publicity & Online Marketing Manager

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