Tag Archives: Brian Smith

BEST BOOKS ABOUT PAPUA NEW GUINEA

‘Inside the Crocodile: The Papua New Guinea Journals’ by Trish Nicholson

This is one of the best books you can buy if you want to get to know Papua New Guinea. Written by a woman who comes to the islands to work on a development project, it provides readers with revealing insights regarding the local culture and ways of being.

Trish Nicholson’s background in anthropology makes the account a fascinating and multi-dimensional read. As an astute observer, she will tell you more about the Land of the Unexpected than you would like to know.

‘Land of the Unexpected’ by Brian Smith

Brian Smith’s book is a very unusual one. Those who are curious about Papua New Guinea as a tourist destination will find this read tremendously interesting. Brian Smith will tell you exactly where to stay, where to eat, how to travel, and what to see.

This memoir can double as a tourist guide that will help you explore the biggest Melanesian country. It may not be the most compelling account, nevertheless it will certainly be of great value to people who plan to set out on a journey of their own.

‘Two Years in Paradise: Diary of a Missionary’ by Christopher Kontek

Not every day you get to read a memoir written by a missionary. Especially such an absorbing memoir with a plethora of little-known facts about Papuan culture. The book is not a literary masterpiece, but you won’t regret buying it.

Christopher Kontek writes a lot – and I mean a lot – about the country, its people and their customs and traditions. What is more, he makes interesting comparisons between Papua New Guinea and Europe, where he comes from. Read the book, and I promise you that you won’t be disappointed.

‘Brokenville’ by Leonard Fong Roka

Leonard Fong Roka’s account of the ten-year-long civil war that broke out on the island of Bougainville in 1988 is a heart-wrenching story that will stay in your head long after you’ve finished reading it.

The book throws much light on the Bougainville conflict, presenting the point of view of a person who experienced the tragic events. The author writes with such passion and honesty that you feel his fear, his pain, his struggle to survive. An exceptional history lesson you will never forget.

‘Four Corners: A Journey into the Heart of Papua New Guinea’ by Kira Salak

Have you ever dreamt of travelling to the far-flung, remote regions of Papua New Guinea? Of seeing what other people will never see? Of experiencing what other people will never experience? Yes? Then Kira Salak’s memoir is a must-read for you.

When you read this book you cannot help but marvel at the author’s courage. She describes her journey in meticulous detail, and at times – believe me – you are happy that you’re sitting comfortably in your own home. But then Kira starts her vivid descriptions of Papuan flora and fauna, and you’re wishing you were there with her.

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WORKING IN PARADISE: BEST BOOKS (PART 2)

‘An Island in the Autumn’ by John Smith

After spending twenty years as a Commonwealth administrator in Nigeria, John is given a fresh assignment – he is sent to Solomon Islands to serve as Financial Secretary. Although his job is quite fulfilling, he changes it three years later for the post of Governor of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands.

This is an enormously interesting memoir you will not want to put down until you reach the last page. John Smith shows and carefully explains the process of decolonization, describing at the same time what life on a Pacific island is really like.

‘Gallivanting on Guam’ by Dave Slagle

When you are offered a really great job in a really great place, there’s nothing that can go wrong. Or is there? After moving to Guam to work as a general manager of Tropical Gym, Dave thinks his life just can’t get any better. Everything changes when he is drawn into a bitter dispute with his corrupt boss, who happens to be a very wealthy businessman, well-known on the little island.

Dave Slagle’s book is a terrific piece of travel literature. A bit controversial, yes, but extremely informative and laugh-out-loud funny. What’s it like to work in paradise for one of the richest men? Read this book and you will find out.

‘A Pattern of Islands’ by Arthur Grimble

In 1913, Arthur Grimble gets nominated to a cadetship in the Gilbert and Ellice Island Protectorate. A few month later he steps foot on the islands he will call home for the next nineteen years.

Not only is Sir Arthur Grimble’s memoir a gripping account of one man’s experiences and adventures in a foreign land, but also a very honest portrayal of colonial administration. As it turns out, it’s not always easy to be a representative of a British government in a small Pacific country.

‘Land of the Unexpected’ by Brian Smith

When Brian sees a job advertisement for an architect in the Daily Telegraph, he packs the bags and together with his wife and two children hops on a plane to Papua New Guinea to work for the PNG Works Department. Trying to revamp the county’s health care facilities, he travels from one province to another. In each of them he learns something new about the country, its people and their culture.

Despite the fact that some readers may find this book a little bit boring, it is a very nice account of an expatriate life in the Land of the Unexpected. Everything is described in great detail, so if you want to get to know Papua New Guinea, this is a title for you.

‘Letters from the Sleeping Lady – The Kindling of Two Teachers and Kosrae Island’ by Malcolm Lindquist, Tarry Lindquist

When Malcolm and Tarry decide to accept teaching positions at the local elementary school in Kosrae, they don’t really know what to expect. What starts as an exciting adventure, turns out to be a life-changing experience.

This written in the form of letters (to the authors’ granddaughters) book is a lovely, emotional, insightful look into the history and culture of one of the most fascinating places on Earth. Terry and Malcolm share with readers a small yet important piece of their lives, and they do it in such a wonderful and engaging way, you’ll probably want to become a teacher yourself right after you reach the last sentence.