Tuesday, March 6, 2012
"Zarzura": a desert diary (reading challenge #7)
book journey continued: my reading challenge now lead me to Africa. in book #4 about Alaska, i followed the route of Arctic explorers who traced their way through ice deserts. this book leads into the counterpart region: into the Libyan desert. it's the journey diary of an expedition during the 1930s, lead by Almásy - the real "English Patient". here’s the wiki note on them:
“The western side of the Gilf Kebir was explored in 1932 by the Clayton-Almásy Expedition. The expedition explored the area by Gypsy moth plane, by car and on foot.”
the book i am reading, "Zarzura", was written by one of the expedition members, a German. the title is derived from the mythical oasis in the desert the explorers searched for. what they didn't know: the oasis existed. and the stoney region that surrounde it had caves, with paintings from ancient times. one of the caves later was named "Cave of Swimmers".
here’s a collage from the region, from google's image page with images from the regions, and of the cave paintings:
the cave paintings, they also are how the book connects to the Cave of Forgotten Dreams i blogged about in February. it actually was this blog entry that made a friend of mine browse her bookshelf for the Zarzura book.
reading through "Zarzura", i got all wrapped in this desert journey. such an adventurous expedition. and the journal, so well-written that it takes you there, into the sand dunes, into the wadis, and into this white square they were exploring – a blank spot on maps.
some additional links:
-a summary: History & Exploration of the Libyan Desert
-a page about Almasy with images and notes: László Almásy: the real 'English patient'
-the wiki page: Gilf Kebir
Global + European Reading Challenge
this year, i am taking part in a global and in an european reading challenge. the idea: to read books from each continent of the world / several countries of europe. so far i've been to:
- book 6: Jericho (Israel/Middle East)
- book 5: Ledra Street (Cyprus/Europe)
- book 4: Disappearance. A Map (Alaska/America)
- book 3: Paris was Ours (Europe/France)
- book 2: Anar (Middle East)
- book 1: The Tigers's Wife (Europe/former Yugoslavia)
- more books: virtual bookshelf
- about: the Global Reading Challenge