The Watchtower of Destruction: The Ferrett's Journal - Book Review #3: Getting Stoned With Savages
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Book Review #3: Getting Stoned With Savages|
This is an amusing little kerfluffle of a book. The plot? The author and his wife, who have written a previous book about the tropics, head down to Vanuatu, encounter many tropical amusements and horrors, get mildly addicted to kava (the local drug, a chewed-up root drunk out of coconut shells), have a kid, head back.
Not much more than that. The author, J. Maarten Troost, has an amusing turn of phrase and shares a lot of anecdotes about what it's like to live as a foreigner in a distant land. He's funny. What he's lacking is a real insight into the culture; I've gotten too used to Bill Bryson's explorations of a country's history, and as such his faltering attempts to figure out why the natives still occasionally eat each other fall flat. He does some scant reading (and admittedly, there isn't much on the islands), but mostly the entire book is him traipsing about the island and looking (with sympathy) at the funny, funny culture.
Still. Getting Stoned With Savages was great bathroom reading, since I could pick it up, read two pages, put it down. So did Gini. If there's an award for "most pleasurable reading on the can in 2007," I doubt this will top it.
Tags: book review
|Date:||January 11th, 2007 02:24 pm (UTC)|| |
Sometimes it's good to have a book that amuses but can be put down again without angst.
|Date:||January 11th, 2007 02:52 pm (UTC)|| |
In the "story about living in another country" genre, I recommend "A Year in the Merde"
, about a British guy who spends a year living in France. Funny, interesting, and accurate enough to be enjoyed by people who are French and by those who are not.
Not high litterature, of course, but certainly an entertaining read.
|Date:||January 11th, 2007 03:37 pm (UTC)|| |
I could see how one would get addicted to kava. Even in nasty, powdered root form it provides about one of the most tranquil and relaxing mental states of all time. If it weren't such a chore to extract the active ingredients or endure the taste of dirt I'd say it was strictly superior to alcohol.
I want to try it, I really do. But they don't have it in the States.
He talks about the dangers of ODing. Eternal dreams. I can't do pot because of that, man.
|Date:||January 12th, 2007 02:47 pm (UTC)|| |
They sure do, you can't get it in supermarkets but some health food stores and online vendors carry it. It probably wouldn't surprise you to know I have about a pound of it in my kitchen cabinet right now.
You can't get the fresh root, sadly. The only way I've been able to get it is in powdered form or as a tincture of the active ingredients in a liquid form, which tends to be too expensive for the effect. The most efficient way of downing the foul tasting root is to mix it via suspension into some sort of beverage (preferably fruity but NOT citrusy) and chugging it fast. It really tastes like dirt and has an unsettling numbing effect in your mouth, but you feel the effects in a short period of time. You can blend and strain it, too, but that takes a fairly long time and the best materials to do it with aren't commonly available either. The taste isn't much improved and certainly not enough to be worth the extra effort.
If you fall asleep while the kavalactones (active ingredients) are in your system, you do tend to have vivid dreams. Also, it is similar to alcohol in that it taxes your liver somewhat to get rid of it, so it's not recommended to take with alcohol (and fools who did are what got it taken off the main market in the first place), but at least in suspension form I'd imagine it would be hard to stomach enough of it to do yourself any real danger. I've tried as much as about 2/3 of a tablespoon (which, trust me, is a chore to get down) and all it did was make Return of the King a slightly more vivid experience.
|Date:||January 11th, 2007 03:56 pm (UTC)|| |
I loved his Sex Lives of Cannibals
That previous book of his, Sex Lives of Cannibals, is better. Do give it a try!
I've debated with myself as to whether or not I'd actually like to travel with Bill Bryson. It's a cosmic battle between my unholy love of lazy mornings in hotels and my desire to witness his perpetual delight with culture.
Ultimately, I compromise a series of lunch meet-ups in some fantastic city where we both happen to be. :)
I'd go with the man. He'd have to do the research to find out all of these neat things, and I could get into that.
|Date:||January 12th, 2007 03:32 am (UTC)|| |
Getting Stoned with savages
I loved this book. Not often does a book make me laugh out loud but this one did. Check out my review of it at www.readthemandeat. Let me know what you think!