A LIT­TLE FLIGHT READ­ING

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel -

WHAT we have here is a search and a jour­ney — as the sub­ti­tle says, ‘‘ Chas­ing the his­tory, mys­tery, and lore of the Per­sian car­pet’’ — through the far­thest reaches of Iran and Afghanistan. Mad­der is a leafy lit­tle plant used as a dye for tra­di­tional car­pets (re­mem­ber Mad­der Lake in wa­ter­colour paint­boxes?); but its im­pact is pow­er­ful (it can ‘‘ turn our bones red’’) and its pres­ence has been recorded through the re­motest his­tory. Mad­der is the fo­cus of this book and its search. With each sen­tence it be­comes more in­trigu­ing: the root of mad­der, dried and ground to a pow­der, ‘‘ was car­ried by Phoeni­cian traders and men­tioned in Egyp­tian hi­ero­glyph­ics’’. The an­cient Greek his­to­rian Herodotus noted its colour in the ver­mil­ion goatskin cloaks of el­e­gant Libyans. Mad­der ap­pears in the Bi­ble (as pu’ah ) and in the writ­ings of first-cen­tury Ro­man Pliny the Elder (as ru­bia, now its sci­en­tific name). This en­joy­able book is a jour­ney through time, his­tory and the in­trigu­ing Arab world. Ju­dith Elen

MEM­OIR

LET Bookey Peak lead you on a nos­tal­gic me­an­der through Stone Hills Wildlife Sanc­tu­ary and Malalangwe Lodge in the Ma­tobo Hills, Zim­babwe. Bri­tish-born Bookey pur­chased the es­tate in 1989 with her hus­band, Richard. They then be­gan the process of open­ing a sa­fari lodge and la­bo­ri­ously trans­form­ing the area into a safe haven for thou­sands of an­i­mals to live with min­i­mal hu­man in­ter­fer­ence. Her light-hearted anec­dotes about run­ning the lodge are at times rem­i­nis­cent of Fawlty Tow­ers . There are in­trigu­ing de­scrip­tions of land­scape and lo­cal his­tory and cul­ture but it’s the non-hu­man in­hab­i­tants that shine in th­ese tales: kudus, ea­gles, steer­bucks, owls, gi­raffes, ze­bras and, the star of the show, a warthog named Poombi. More than any­thing, AlltheWayHome is about a pas­sion for an­i­mals and for the unique con­ti­nent that is Africa, set against highly volatile times. Sharon Fowler

GUIDE­BOOK

TheGreyNo­mad’sGuide­book Cindy and Jeremy Gough (Pan Macmil­lan, $24.95) MOST of us have cast an en­vi­ous eye to­wards a con­tented bunch of grey no­mads, those re­tirees who spend their time cir­cling the coun­try in all man­ner of recre­ational ve­hi­cles, hap­pily pur­su­ing noth­ing in par­tic­u­lar. The world, or at least Aus­tralia, is their oys­ter. Lucky them. But it’s not as free and easy as it ap­pears, judg­ing by Cindy and Jeremy Gough’s book. There’s much to trou­ble the would-be no­mad (maybe that’s why they are grey). For starters, there’s the money: the au­thors, no­mads them­selves, es­ti­mate it can cost up to $500,000 to get the show on the road. There’s in­sur­ance to worry about, what to do with the fam­ily home, which ve­hi­cle to choose. New or sec­ond-hand? Diesel or petrol? What about the ra­dio? Do you need GPS? Is your first aid up to scratch? (Read­ers are ad­vised to take a short course.) There’s food for thought here for all bud­ding no­mads, what­ever their age or hair colour. Barry Oliver

NAR­RA­TIVE

TheRootofWildMad­der Brian Mur­phy (Si­mon & Schus­ter, $29.95) AllTheWayHome:Sto­riesfrom anAfricanWildlifeSanc­tu­ary Bookey Peak (East Street Publi­ca­tions, $26.95)

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