One of the great pleasures of staying in hostels and small guesthouses with a certain international clientele is access to their book exchange !


The best thing about it is the very limited and random selection available. Here's a list to remind me what I read and then passed on. All highly recommended:


Rouge Brésil Jean Christophe Ruffin

Saga of two children accompanying a 16th century attempt to found a French colony.


Plays vol. II  Harold Pinter

Strange to plunge into that era again… in Bogota !

Learnt from it that an old school friend, Judy Buxton, starred in the Young Vic production of The Lover !


An artist of the floating world / A pale view of the hills Kazuo Ishiguro

Delicate portraits in post-war Japan.


Le voyant Jérôme Garcin

The incredible story of a blind young resistant and postwar intellectual.


The chase Alejo Carpentier

A harrowing evocative tale of torture in a Havana-like city (read twice !)


Most of these, you note, do not concern this part of the world. Anything local was in Portuguese or Spanish… or Dutch or German – no Anglophone tourists in South America. (Bernard managed to read Isabel Allende’s Paula in the original thanks to a dictionary … from a BE... !)


But this weird collection provided a very welcome change from guidebook overload. All of which of course, we also picked up in book exchanges !