Ricky waller

Summer is a great time for catching up, relaxing, exploring, starting new projects, or perhaps completing work in progress. Reading, of course, is key to all of these. With this in mind, we asked the librarians at St. John’s about books they will be reading over the next few months. The library has put up a display of the answers we received — it’s on the 3rd floor of St. Augustine Hall. We’ll be posting the individual entries here throughout the summer.

Ricky Waller, Head of Digital Information Services Davis Library at the Manhattan campus, writes:

               While on a recent jaunt to mid-coast Maine, I made a quick stop in Cambridge, MA to the Harvard Bookstore for last minute additions to my already heavily laden book sack. An intriguing title, The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific, by J. Maarten Troost, caught my attention. Cultural anthropology is not generally my first choice for vacation reads, but after a quick glance at the synopsis on the back cover of this non-fiction work, I was hooked. Troost, like many university graduates today, has difficulty finding work in his area of studies and lacks career direction. He drifts through a number of meaningless temp jobs when suddenly opportunity drops in his lap a chance to leave everything behind and travel abroad on a two year foreign-service gig to Tarawa– an extremely small, remote South Pacific island in the Republic of Kiribati. Contrary to its title, the book has very little sex and no direct accounts of cannibalism but does provide a captivating account of travels to a place cut off from almost all former amenities of Western civilization.

               Troost writes about his experience, adaptation, and learned appreciation of the couple’s immersive life among the l-Kiribati people in a lightly humorous, yet respectful way. This book is a quick read and a wonderful and informative description of the contrast of culture, habits and lifestyles in a part of the world few of us will ever get to see. This work comes highly recommended.