15 Jul SUMMER READING: POCKET ATLAS OF REMOTE ISLANDS BY JUDITH SCHALANSKY
With summer now in full swing, many people are likely to find themselves stretched out under a beach umbrella leaving the cares of work far behind for a spell. This little book is the perfect companion on a lazy summer afternoon, and it even appears to be bound with the beach in mind because the cover is weather resistant. The subtitle of the book is Fifty Islands I Have Not Visited and Never Will.
The fifty islands covered in the book each get four pages devoted to them; the first two-page spread contains a map of the island and a spare serving of vital statistics about the island—population, surface area, proximity to other land masses, etc. The second two-page spread is an impressionistic story about something that happened on the island. Each story is the adult equivalent of the
childhood experience of reaching into a goodie bag with one’s eyes closed and drawing out a random trinket.
There is the uninhabited island with such a huge penguin colony from which the curious explorer, wandering away from his party, never returns; there is another island that plays host to WWII era atomic tests; yet another tells a story of a boy from France who has recurring dreams in a language that turns out to be spoken in a south pacific island called Rapa Iti. Using about the same number of words as this book review, the author gives us a moment in the life of each of these islands, leaving the reader with a satisfying whiff of what makes each island unique.