I just finished my “detour” book (Let Our Fame Be Great by Oliver Bullough) a few minutes ago, and if I were a professional journalist or writer I would wait a little bit to talk about it. But I’m not, so I won’t. I probably should though; I still have a few tears in my eyes.
I’m a bit more prone to choose non-fiction over fiction; in novels, I often feel trapped or bullied by the voice of the author. That of course can happen with non-fiction, but it’s easier to ignore. Not a problem with this book – the author is someone I came to like and trust almost immediately. He tackled a huge, sometimes terrifyingly brutal topic and treated it with amazing sensitivity and openness.
I’m trying to stay away from writing standard-issue book reviews; the world is full of self-appointed experts and critics and it sometimes drives me crazy. Suffice it to say, I highly recommend this book. It’s not an easy read in an emotional sense, but the knowledge gained is well worth it.
A little background on what motivated yesterday’s post:
This detour was triggered by one of the books I picked for Georgia: Let Our Fame Be Great by Oliver Bullough. Not just about my chosen country, it’s a exploration of the history and modern-day struggles of different cultures in the Caucasus. One of the first groups mentioned in the book are the Circassians – a people with an amazing history, but who are now scattered in exile around the globe without a homeland to call their own.
As I approached this part of the world for the first time, I realized I knew almost nothing about it. AT ALL. So, I wanted to create some kind of framework for myself before reading about Georgia; I was concerned that otherwise, my introduction to one particular country would color everything that came after.
How do things fit together in the Caucasus? Turns out that is a huge, complicated question – the region is truly one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse regions on the planet. And just look who their neighbors are…they certainly make life interesting, don’t they?