Good value in the vast distance and many cultures and nations covered, and the many hours of densely packed details he puts in, so if you want to be taken on a very long and detailed journey from Europe to Japan, it's the book to get. By the end though, the overall feeling was a bit depressive and jaded and the impression of nearly all the societies he visited was on the negative side - most of the population he encountered seemed to be either poor, desperate, drunk, grubby, corrupt or willing to do anything for a buck, which of course may well be true but was a fairly humourless theme. And his focus on talking to and about prostitutes wherever he went was starting to tip the balance from general interest to slightly uncomfortable obsession towards the end. Overall, quite engrossing and informative but not very optimistic about that part of the world - which is a pretty big chunk of the world - and I'd have to say ultimately no "feel good" in fact a bit of a "feel bad" experience.
Packed full of entertaining, good natured anecdotes and philosophies from an exceptionally fully lived life.
You don't need to be a Tom fan - or even have read his books - to enjoy this.
Narration is perfect, can't imagine a better match for this book.
Most helpful thing I have to say - if you're looking for a great book about travelling through Africa on two wheels - get Sam Manicom's "Into Africa".
My summary of Masked Rider - he didn't enjoy the trip, didn't like Cameroon or it's inhabitants, didn't like his travelling companions. And didn't even manage to get some humour out of it.
Whatever the opposite of inspiring is, this book was it for me.
Or maybe a mini series.
Great cast of characters and sub-plots, great period detail, great landscapes, great entertainment.
And a genuine love of long distance running runs throughout.
This is not the usual type of book I go for, but it was genuinely gripping - flows along in a way that makes it really hard to put down at any given point.
Very well written, sharp and mesmerising insight into two people's psyche's and the tension never stops.
It did get a bit too dark for my liking, and though I'd like to read more from the author, I read the synopsis for her other books and they sound ever darker, so think I'll give them a miss.
Though I agree with most of her philosophies and opinions on life and feminism,
I would have liked it if there was a version with not quite so many f and c words in it- more than any other book I've read, or heard of - and the chapter when she's 13 could have done with WAY less detail.
My ideal travel story - great details of the people, countries, landscapes and culture along the way, told in a light-hearted, upbeat, entertaining style. Not a story of soul searching or "finding himself" but not superficial either, packed full of one fascinating episode after another.
Sam gets fully immersed in Africa and the people around him, and his observations are totally open-minded and non-judgemental. Love that he narrates it himself, and he comes across as a totally likeable guy.
I loved his pragmatic "just deal with it" attitude - whether getting malaria, dealing with the many excruciating border crossings or having a serious bike crash.
Found out he's written several more travel books and my only disappointment is - why are they not on audible??
If you love stories about escaping to the wilderness and living a totally self-sufficient life with only the wildlife for company, you'll love this.
But what I loved most was Richards' unfailing cheerful, practical, philosophical attitude to everything that happened to him and everything he had to do. This is a guy who gets dropped off in the middle of nowhere and cheerfully sets about building a log cabin from scratch, making every piece of furniture; hunting, fishing and growing food, exploring the surrounding mountains - all of it with no help or company, except for the occasional supply drop and the local friendly wildlife.
There's no angst or hardship, no preachy-ness, just a genuine appreciation and love for his surroundings, and uncomplaining embracing of the fact that anything you want done, you've got to work out a way to do it yourself.
It's entertaining, moves at a steady pace, and the overall effect is totally uplifting and inspiring. Makes you want to go live in the mountains and build a log cabin yourself, even if you'd never thought about it before.
Hard to avoid the cliché - they don't make many like Richard anymore but you so wish they did.
Some potential great stories, but they're so brief you might as well be reading the blurb on the back cover - or that's how it seemed to me. Even Shackleton's incredible epic journey gets turned into a short and not very impressive story which I wouldn't have thought possible.
I love amazing sailing stories, but amazing story summaries are not the same thing.
It's a truly epic journey and gripping survival story. Mary's ability to survive her hellish ordeal was almost super-human and definitely inspiring, BUT...be warned - it's quite relentlessly grim and harrowing.
I kept waiting for the small triumphs to come, maybe catching a fish just once, or finding some moss or bark or leaves they could make something out of, but once they were on the trail there were very few light moments or any relief from the constant grimness.
And that was after the gruesome brutality of the Indian attack and captivity.
But if you can handle that - definitely recommended as an epic story of survival against all odds, and makes you very grateful for every small comfort - like food, warmth, clothes, river bridges...
The ending was really great, a long epilogue covering what happened to Mary and her family afterwards which was very satisfying to hear, and put it into context with the history of the time and place. You don't always get that and I really appreciated it.
I knew his life would be full of fascinating, entertaining, funny stories and I fully expected to enjoy it, but I had no idea he's such a fantastically entertaining writer.
If you're interested in him already - definitely get it, you'll love it even more than you expect.
Detail, honesty and humour by the bucketload. Particularly loved hearing about the process of how certain classic songs came to be written, and all the detail about different bands and people he played with over the years - all written in a totally entertaining way. Always fast moving and entertaining. Never angsty or plodding. Of course not, it's Rod.
And even if you're not particularly interested in him - get it anyway. It's a brilliant read, never a dull moment. Everything you'd expect, plus fantastic descriptions of life in London and L.A the 50's, 60's, 70's. Lot's of it is hilarious and he comes across as such a likeable person, with the exception of how he treated some women along the way, but even that's O.K since karma eventually got him for it.
Not only highly recommended - he should write more books!!
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