‘The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific’ by J. Maarten Troost
If you want to get to know Kiribati – the real Kiribati – let this book be your guide. Although written by a foreigner and thus a bit subjective at times, it’ll give you a pretty clear picture of this wonderful equatorial country.
J. Maarten Troost’s funny and engaging memoir is filled to the brim with vivid descriptions of the places he visited, the people he met, and the customs and traditions he had a chance to get familiar with. His honesty in recounting his experiences is truly unparalleled. Read this book – you will laugh a lot and learn even more.
‘A Pattern of Islands’ by Arthur Grimble
When it comes to ‘Kiribati literature’, this book is considered a classic. And rightfully so. Arthur Grimble’s memoir is a mine of knowledge. Anyone interested in Kiribati should not only read it but have it in their collection.
The account of Grimble’s work in the Gilbert and Ellice Island Colony is an immensely interesting lesson on the country’s history, culture, and beliefs. It is serious and light-hearted at the same time. It reads well. So well that when you start you simply can’t stop until you reach the end of the book.
‘Tungaru Traditions: Writings on the Atoll Culture of the Gilbert Islands’ by Arthur F. Grimble, Henry Evans Maude
This is yet another book written by Arthur Grimble. Having spent over 20 years in Kiribati (or rather the Gilbert Islands), he had a vast knowledge of the local culture. This title definitely proves it.
The content of the book is unusually compelling and its encyclopedic style makes it a pleasure to read. The author thoroughly depicts the unique customs and rituals of I-Kiribati people, explaining at the same time the quintessence of their culture. A truly fascinating work!
‘Sailing to Jessica’ by Kelly Watts
Although Kelly Watts’s memoir isn’t focused solely on Kiribati, it shows it from a different perspective. After all, how many books are there that mention an adoption of I-Kiribati baby?
There’s a pretty good chance this emotional story will tug at your heartstrings and you may shed a tear or two, so consider yourself warned. But you will also ‘see’ the unknown side of Kiribati, you wouldn’t otherwise see. Set out on this journey with Kelly and Paul. You won’t regret it!
‘In the South Seas’ by Robert Louis Stevenson
Another classic, isn’t it? Few I-Matangs (white people) know Kiribati as well as Robert Louis Stevenson did. That is exactly why this travelogue is so worthy of your attention.
Are you interested in Kiribati’s past? Would you like to read stories about the great ruler of Abemama, Tembinok’? Or have you ever wondered what the life in the Gilberts looked like in the 19th century? If you answered yes to my questions, this is a book for you. Period.