Three Ways to Capsize a Boat: An Optimist Afloat
13 October 2013, 18:48
2010 | EPUB | 1.85MB
Chris Stewart had a long and eclectic list of jobs. From some of the most glamorous careers – he was original drummer in Genesis - to the more offbeat - a sheep shearer and circus performer - he had done it all…or almost all. So when he is offered the chance to captain a sailboat in the Greek islands one summer, something he had never done before, he jumps at the chance. Ever the optimist, Stewart is undaunted by the fact that he’d never actually sailed before!
So begins the hilarious and wild adventures of Three Ways to Capsize a Boat. From setting the boat on fire not once, but several times in the Aegean Sea to his not-so-grand arrival in Spetses to meet the owners of the boat (who says it isn’t graceful to plow into the docks as a means of coming to a stop?), Stewart quickly catches the sailing bug. By the end of the summer, as he is facing the dreary prospect of going back to sheep shearing, he jumps at the chance to be part of a crew to follow Viking Leif Eiriksson’s historic journey across the Atlantic Ocean. Five months on a small sailboat with seven other people in the freezing waters of the Atlantic would sound like punishment to most people, but not Stewart! He takes it all in stride and always with his unfailing optimism and good spirits. From coming to terms with the long, cold nights at sea and unchanging cuisine to battling intense seasickness and managing to go to the bathroom during a massive storm (a lot harder than you’d think!), Stewart keeps his good humor…but learns, in the end, that perhaps the best things in life are worth coming ashore for.
Three Ways to Capsize a Boat is travel writing at its best, crackling with Chris Stewart’s zest for life, irresistible humor, and unerring lack of foresight. Dry land never looked more welcoming!
Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Andalucia
13 October 2013, 18:46
2001 | EPUB | 1.78MB
When English sheep shearer Chris Stewart (once a drummer for Genesis) bought an isolated farmhouse in the mountains outside of Granada, Spain, he was fully aware that it didn't have electricity, running water, or access to roads. But he had little idea of the headaches and hilarity that would follow (including scorpions, runaway sheep, and the former owner who won't budge). He also had no idea that his memoir about southern Spain would set a standard for literary travel writing.
This rip-roaringly funny book about seeking a place in an earthy community of peasants and shepherds gives a realistic sense of the hassles and rewards of foreign relocation. Part of its allure stems from the absence of rose-colored glasses, mainly Stewart's refusal to merely coo about the piece of heaven he's found or to portray all residents as angels. Stewart's hilarious and beautifully written passages are deep in their honest perceptions of the place and the sometimes xenophobic natives, whose reception of the newcomers ranges from warm to gruff.
After reading about struggles with dialects, animal husbandry, droughts, flooding, and such local rituals as pig slaughters and the rebuilding of bridges, you may not wish to live Chris Stewart's life. But you can't help but admire him and his wife, Ana, for digging out a niche in these far-flung mountains, for successfully befriending the denizens, and for so eloquently and comically telling the truth. The rich, vibrant, and unromanticized candor of Driving over Lemons makes it a laudable standout in a genre too often typified by laughable naiveté. --Melissa Rossi
By the Rivers of Water: A Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Odyssey
13 October 2013, 18:45
2013 | EPUB | 5.72MB
In early November 1834, an aristocratic young couple from Savannah and South Carolina sailed from New York and began a strange seventeen year odyssey in West Africa. Leighton and Jane Wilson sailed along what was for them an exotic coastline, visited cities and villages, and sometimes ventured up great rivers and followed ancient paths. Along the way they encountered not only many diverse landscapes, peoples, and cultures, but also many individuals on their own odysseys--including Paul Sansay, a former slave from Savannah; Mworeh Mah, a brilliant Grebo leader, and his beautiful daughter, Mary Clealand, at Cape Palmas; and King Glass and the wise and humorous Toko in Gabon. Leighton and Jane Wilson had freed their inherited slaves, and were to become the most influential American missionaries in West Africa during the first half of the nineteenth century. While Jane established schools, Leighton fought the international slave trade and the imperialism of colonization. He translated portions of the Bible into Grebo and Mpongwe and thereby helped to lay the foundation for the emergence of an indigenous African Christianity.
The Wilsons returned to New York because of ill health, but their odyssey was not over. Living in the booming American metropolis, the Wilsons welcomed into their handsome home visitors from around the world as they worked for the rapidly expanding Protestant mission movement. As the Civil War approached, however, they heard the siren voice of their Southern homeland calling from deep within their memories. They sought to resist its seductions, but the call became more insistent and, finally, irresistible. In spite of their years of fighting slavery, they gave themselves to a history and a people committed to maintaining slavery and its deep oppression—both an act of deep love for a place and people, and the desertion of a moral vision.
A sweeping transatlantic story of good intentions and bitter consequences, By the Rivers of Water reveals two distant worlds linked by deep faiths.