Friday, May 28, 2010

The Liquid Continent; Travels through Alexandria, Venice and Istanbul

In Perth yesterday a shower of hailstones drove me off the street and into Waterstone's Bookshop. From one of the many displays set up by staff to tempt browsers to buy I picked up 'The Liquid Continent' by Nicholas Woodsworth and began to read. Outside the store hailstones had turned to heavy rain; I read on. Invariably, when I am in a bookshop, I browse books that have either a title or a cover illustration that attracts me. More often than not, after being put off either by the testimonials on the back cover or the first pages of text I return browses picked up on spec to where I found them.
Far from putting me off, the first pages of 'The Liquid Continent' encouraged me to read on. I particularly enjoy reading stuff that expresses my own ideas more competently than I can; stuff  to which I can contentedly nod. On page seven I read the following:
'And in all these places I came to the same conclusion: true Mediterraneans, if lesser in number these days, continue to use their physical senses in ways that most of us have forgotten. There is a kind of faux-peasant, goat-cheese-and-lavender sensuality about Provence, most of which emanates from glossy life-style magazines.  But the Mediterranean  also has a real sensuality, its own developed life of the senses.  It comes from a direct contact with the immediate world, from the intimate attachment of individuals to simple things around them. Meditteraneans answer to the strong flavours and sensations of the landscapes they grow up in, to family and community, to the cyclical rhythms of the seasons, to routines of daily work, to old habits sustained through the ages.'
This is exactly how I see the folk I have lived amongst for the past dozen years!
Long before I had read to the end of the first chapter I was hooked. Rarely has it been such a pleasure for me to part with £8.99.

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