A South Pacific Reading List


In a Sunburned Country – Bill Bryson
It is hard to go wrong with a book written by Bill Bryson.  He is insightful, irreverent and witty.  Sometimes, he is darn-right snarky, which is always fun.  In this book, we accompany Mr. Bryson on his travels around Australia.  I view it as part travel guide, part essay, and part Australian history/sociology.

Love with a Chance of Drowning – Torre DeRoche
Torre DeRoche is a woman who falls in love with a man who dreams of sailing around the world.  The only catch is that Ms. DeRoche is terrified of the ocean.  She is a terrific writer who vividly brings to life the joys and terrors of her life at sea.

The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific – J. Maarten Troost
Travel memoirs are my favorite book genre, in part, thanks to Mr. Troost.  In The Sex Life of Cannibals, he skillfully conveys both the wonders and extreme challenges of living in a remote island in the Republic of Kiribati.  It has been several years since I read his book, but I can so clearly envision his stories that I almost feel as if I have visited Kiribati myself.

Getting Stoned with Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu – J. Maarten Troost
In this follow-up to The Sex Lives of Cannibals, Mr. Troost returns to live in the South Pacific, this time on the islands of Fiji and Vanuatu.  In addition to learning more about these new cultures, we follow his life as he becomes a father for the first time.

All Good Things: From Paris to Tahiti: Life and Longing – Sarah Turnbull
I became a fan of Sarah Turnbull while reading Almost French, her memoir of living in Paris as an Australian expat.  All Good Things takes us through the next phase of her life when her husband takes a job in Tahiti.  Particularly moving is her description of her struggle to have a child during the time covered in the book.

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