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Reviews on Expat Lifestyle Books

Expat Lifestyle

Tales from the Expat Harem
Foreign Women in Modern Turkey
Edited by Anastasia M Ashman and Jennifer Eaton Gökmen
Seal Women's Travel

This is not just another anthology of writings by expat wives who long to get in print. This is a wonderful book, beautifully written, thought-provoking and inspiring. Every essay the editors selected is spot on, literary and insightful. With essays grouped into sections, the reader can really get to understand what the Turkish bath, or hammam, is all about. Enjoy learning about the dynamics of relationships with Turks and non-Turks, the food, the music, the humour and the passion. Get inside the mind of this warm-hearted and generous people, and, like me, be poised to book your next flight to Istanbul. I am hooked


Don't Tell Mum I Work on the Rigs, She Thinks I am a Piano Player in a Whorehouse
Paul Carter
Nicholas Brealey Publishing

A glorious romp around the oil rigs, Australia and England, as Paul Carter, describes a life packed with the kind of incident that makes most adult males double up with laughter. Carter writes exceptionally well, and his autobiography has been carefully crafted to retain nothing but the best, most visual and funniest stories. Oh, and some desperately sad ones too. You wonder whether it is normal to have witnessed so many horrific accidents, involving good friends and monkeys, and whether the author's sense of humour is what kept him sane. Working offshore for all his adult life, Carter has mixed with some of the roughest roughnecks there can be. Yet he is not afraid to show his soft and fluffy side when necessary. This is a great book, and had me, a girl, giggling out loud on the train as I read ­– a feat achieved by no other book since Bridget Jones' Diary.



In the Heart of the Desert
Michael Quentin Morton
Green Mountain Press

Between 1945 and the 1970s the author’s father, Mike, worked in the Middle East as an exploration geologist.  Throughout his career, which took him all over Arabia, Morton wrote diaries and letters and took photographs. His son grew up listening to his father's stories and was determined to preserve this record of a time that no longer exists, of remarkable people, barren deserts and life with the Bedouin. The author  conducted many interviews with him before he died in 2003 before turning all he now knew into this book. Mike developed a real soft spot for Oman, and spent a considerable amount of time in the wadis undertaking geological surveys. He became known by the Bedouin as the Angry Red Man, owing to his fiery temper and flaming red hair.

Cobbling together his father’s primary source material with well-researched historical facts about the time, the places and the world of exploration geology, Quentin has created a remarkable book that boasts more than 100 photographs. It will interest anyone who shares Mike’s obvious passion for the Middle East, particularly the places that are off the beaten track.



A Moveable Marriage: Relocate Your Relationship Without Breaking It
Robin Pascoe
Expatriate Press

A Moveable Marriage is the latest masterpiece from the Expatriate Press stable, and as usual, Pascoe does not mince words. A solid grounding in newspaper journalism has made the author unafraid of telling it how it is, even if at times some of her punches appear to be aimed below the belt. 
 Just as a relocating couple must write an inventory of all the physical possessions that will be shipped with them, so too must they inventorise their marriage.  They should take stock of its flexibility, its communication strategies and perhaps most important of all, the state of each partner’s self-esteem.
‘The better a woman feels about herself, the more likely it is she will feel confident and ready to live her entire life to its fullest, including her married life,’ writes Pascoe.
When a family moves abroad, the balance shifts. The wife may have given up her career, and with it, part of her identity.  The wife, by default, puts herself last in the To Do List, making sure all family members are settled and happy before taking care of herself.  If an ego is fragile before the move, chances are it may be smashed to smithereens when in transit.
Yet, in her inimitable way, Pascoe provides countless strategies, tips and insights to put your moveable marriage back on track. Before putting pen to paper, she conducted an indepth survey with expatriate wives to discover whether her own experience was unique, or matched many other mobile marriages. She did endless research, spoke to psychologists, marriage counsellors and divorce lawyers. And she read countless books by recognised experts.
No stone has been left unturned.  And the chapter entitled Money, Sex and Intimacy is among the most candid. 
‘When a wife feels out of control in her life and her marriage, it’s not uncommon for her to seize one part of the relationship in which she can claim the upper hand.  Some wives control the kids . . . but others set the timetable for sex,’ writes Pascoe.  Don’t be surprised to find this kind of straight talking statement followed by a ‘Sounds familiar?’ and, no doubt, a wry smile on the part of the author.
But what sets Pascoe’s books apart from others, is that she lays herself bare and shares experiences from her own 25 year marriage.  She tells the reader about the imaginary signs that read, invisibly of course, ‘this is not a criticism’ which she and Rodney would hold up to indicate that the following conversation should not be taken personally.  She tells the reader how she insisted on having her own bank account at the age of forty, just so she could give herself permission to spend it however she wanted. This account was called Robin’s ‘Screw You’ account.
I do not expect it was an accident that the very last word in this book is ‘love’.
Pascoe fans loved her earlier three books, but they will adore this one.  Her writing style is in peak form, each sentence sculpted to such perfection that it merits standing alone as a quotation.  I would not be surprised to hear that expatriate wives read this book with a highlighter pen in their hand.



The Global Citizen
A guide to creating an international life and career, for students, professionals, retirees and families
Elizabeth Kruempelmann
Ten Speed Press

A unique look at global living, written by an American, married to a German, who has lived and worked in a variety of countries.  Coming somewhere between a directory and a series of personal accounts, Kruempelmann has done a sterling job.  Written for anyone, at any lifestage, who wants to become a true global citizen, this book is a rich resource not only of all the names and addresses you could need to live, work, volunteer or study abroad, but also real life stories from contributors who already consider themselves to be international.  Going one step further, the author includes a range of exercises, personality assessments and questions to help you to work out whether you have got what it takes to succeed overseas.  There is a ‘mini-course for the culturally challenged’, which uses Richard Lewis’ Model of Cultural Classification and a survey to help you define your international goals.  This is a fascinating read both for those who are thinking of going, but want to check they have what it takes, and those who are already experienced expats who want to check they have made the right choice.



Nigerian Gems: Expatriate Tales of Adventure
Compiled and edited by Jo Dimmer and Gail Collins

Nigerian Gems contains stories written by 43 expatriates and their spouses from all over the world and now living in Nigeria. This collection of adventures from the daily lives of expatriates is fascinating. Readers can enjoy first impressions and images of the traffic, people and places in Nigeria that are so very different from the headlines of riots and corruption.

The book's title is appropriate as readers imagine the beautiful beaches, markets, festivals and local heroes in this fascinating and complex country. The stories are indeed gems.

Divided into seven sections: first impressions; everyday life; people to meet; places to go; letters home; helping others and epilogue. The writers appear to have all enjoyed the friendliness and warmth of the people and their enchanting and different culture. The stories also narrate how expatriates and their families make adjustments, cope with transition and create a home in such a foreign land.

Nigerian Gems is more than any anthology. It is a project, aimed at raising funds to help pay for school repairs and supplies of the Ishahayi Beach Light Nursery and Primary School, a small wooden hut school with 70 students at Ishahayi Beach. All proceeds from the sale of the book go to the Ishahayi School Foundation. By buying a single copy you help to pay for four days of a teacher’s salary.



Expert Expatriate: Your Guide to Successful Relocation Abroad-Moving, Living, Thriving
by Melissa Brayer Hess

This book not only covers the practical aspects of relocating; it enters unchartered territory, laying emotional and cultural groundwork to help the expatriate thrive.



U.S. Expatriate Handbook Guide to Living and Working Abroad
by John W. Adams

The Expatriate Handbook gives the reader an overview of all the issues facing business people when they're asked to take on overseas assignments. While every assignment varies with country and position, there are common issues every American should examine before accepting becoming an expatriate. The author draws on his years of experience working with European expatriates to provide useful guidelines to determine if the assignment is right for the reader.



A Portable Identity: A Woman's Guide to Maintaining a Sense of Self While Moving Overseas
by Debra, R. Bryson, Charise, M. Hoge

A Portable Identity: A Woman's Guide to Maintaining a Sense of Self While Moving Overseas, Revised Edition, is written by two former expatriate spouses who are also counselors. The book educates and empowers expatriate spouses to take charge of the changes in identity that occur during an international relocation. The most profound change a woman will experience when she moves overseas in support of her husband's career comes from within herself, to her own sense of identity. With two, three, or more years of an overseas assignment, a woman faces the formidable task of creating a life for herself in an unfamiliar country. Unlike any other book about overseas living, this book explains with clarity, candor and compassion, how each stage of the move affects a woman's identity. A Portable Identity is an interactive book with practical exercises and inspiring stories. It is designed to be a companion and guide for the woman who wants to know how her identity is affected at each stage of the move, from pre-departure to arrival, and while living overseas. The book also explains why the thoughts and feelings she may experience as an expatriate spouse are normal within the context of so much change, and how she can use the steps of The Wheel to shape her identity in a way that honors her sense of self while living in a foreign country and culture, as well as during repatriation. A Portable Identity is essential reading for military, corporate, non-governmental organization, missionary, and foreign service spouses. By learning how to take charge of change, a spouse can make choices for a happier and more meaningful life overseas. The result is a more successful transition to life abroad and a more "portable" identity that can thrive away from home. A Portable Identity is also a valuable resource for professionals, including human resource managers, international relocation specialists, employee assistance professionals and therapists. The book provides them with critical information that they can utilize to better assist the accompanying spouse during an international move...