Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hot Countries

Last week, I eagerly left work in anticipation of the book sale happening at my favorite library.  (We can see how thrilling my life is as of late)  Among the rubble of Danielle Steele, Mary Higgens Clark, &c I fished out a few gems.  Some Elizabeth Bowen, which I've recently read about at Book Snob and more Willie Maugham (yes, we're at that level).

The real diamond in the rough, though, was 'Hot Countries' by Alec Waugh.  Alec Waugh, as in Evelyn's older brother.

'Hot Countries,' published in 1930, is a travel book of his experiences visiting equatorial islands and places in the 1920's -this is where I die.  I've always had a fascination with Alec, often overshadowed by his younger brother, but a writer of a great many books.

And it is filled with stunning woodcuts by Lynd Ward.

Even more astonishing is the fact that I read about 'Hot Countries' not even a  four days before the sale on Admiral Cod's blog.  How could my interest not be picqued by his quote from the book?  Isn't it so odd when coincidental things like that happen? Read exerpt HERE

As you can imagine, I am as pleased as pie and cannot wait to read this whilst conjuring up visions of myself on a steamer from Siam to Ceylon, panama hat resting gently on my leather boots, drinking my gin martini, writing letters back home to my brother Evelyn...I hear his book 'Vile Bodies' is about to be published.  Will it be a success?


Blue said...

Beautiful woodcuts! I didn't of this book and will look for a copy. I do like a good woodcut or wood engraving! I used to own a Thomas Bewick - one of the casualties of divorce.

W.E. said...

Oh how I miss a good library book sale! Congratulations on your impressive finds...those wood cuts and that green/black/white cover are lovely.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Oh, those woodcuts...and that sentence: "With the exception of Tahiti, I was never sorrier to leave any place than I was Penang" -- I love Alec too. Congratulations on such a fascinating find! xx

DM said...

Blue- A Thomas Bewick!? What a devastating thing to loose...let's hope another crosses your path someday.

WE- The smell of a library sale can compete with naught! Dusty books and sweat on my brow.

LBG- Isn't it dreamy? I just want the rest of my life to be this book.

A.J.Barnes said...

thanks for the comment ... your blog is really beautiful ... looking forward to catching up ...

Anonymous said...

Who is the Englishmen in Dominica with a Swithin Forsyte stature?

Waugh's uncluttered views on race seemed, interestingly, a part of the common character that made up white manhood in the 1930's. He explains the colonialists tragedy of hard work before the natives envy, desire, and claim the land and it's products. The colonists are creators of wealth and the natives are thieves?

It was a good read.