Fiji: travel books to read before you go

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This excerpt from Lonely Planet’s Fiji guide provides a selection of travel literature to get you in the mood for your trip.

If there is one country that lends itself to whiling away the hours with a good book, it is Fiji. Consider packing something that offers a little local insight as well as the latest bestseller. Many of the books listed here can be ordered online through the USP Book Centre (www.uspbookcentre.com; University of the South Pacific, Suva) or bought on the campus. Other books can be purchased at the Fiji Museum in Suva.

On Fiji IslandsOn Fiji Islands, by Ronald Wright, is an oldie but a goody. It’s a great read to get your head around the history, culture and flavour of the country, complemented by personal anecdotes of the author’s travels.

Getting Stoned with the SavagesGetting Stoned with Savages, by J Maarten Troost, is a humorous personal account of the author’s tireless devotion to kava (mildly narcotic, muddy and odd-tasting drink made from the aromatic roots of the Polynesian pepper shrub) and the Fijians and Vanuatans he drank it with.

Footprints in FijiGeoff Raymond’s Footprints in Fiji is also good for a beautifully humanistic impression of the country. It is an endearing and humorous memoir of an Australian family that moved to Fiji in the mid-’80s to run a resort abandoned by its previous owners.

Yesterdays ChildYesterday’s Child: Once Upon an Island in the Fijis, by Wesley Hall, is a light-hearted romance, set at the end of WWII, and follows the fortunes of a man’s quest for fame, love and favour from a lesser god.

Kava in the BloodKava in the Blood, by Peter Thomson, is a strong, evocative autobiography of a white Fijian who became a senior civil servant and was imprisoned by Lieutenant Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka during the 1987 coup.

More travel literature reading lists for other destinations can be found here.