King Solomon’s Mines – H. Rider Haggard

KIng Soloman's Mines

Sometimes it is at one of those moments when you are most desperate for a good read that you stumble across a real diamond (no pun intended). With little hope for any great finds I was rummaging through a box of English novels in a backstreet bookshop in the Liberdade quarter of Sao Paulo and I stumbled across this book. (The only decent offering in the box). I make no excuse for never having read this fantastic classic. A great read – wonderful escapism for a long trip away from home and the perfect African adventure story – dated of course and with whiffs of racism that would certainly be offensive unless you remind yourself that this is a book that was written in far less enlightened times. Nevertheless Haggard’s love and understanding of Africa come across keenly in this unforgettable book. My only regret is that I didn’t read it when I was about 16…so that I could be re-reading it for a second time now!

I read this book on a rivertrip up the Amazon and left it in a cabin on a cargo boat called ‘Globo do Mar’ that was sailing between Santarem and Manaus. Wonder if it will make it back to that box in Liberdade again!


Kitbaggers book project – travel literature on speed.

Have you ever handled a classic paperback and wondered where it’s been and whose hands it passed through? Do you love the well-handled look of a book that’s obviously seen decades of serious mileage through places you might only have imagined?

This project was conceived long ago through a conversation (in San Jose, Costa Rica) between a group of friends who’d wondered about these same things and thought it would be interesting to try to trace the history of just a few random books that we read on the road.

More than just a review – this is also the story of a single adventurous copy that’s probably still out there touring the world somewhere. Let us know if you find it.

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