Since my books have a central travel theme, I thought it’d be good to occasionally share with readers places I have visited which they may not have heard of, or visited themselves. Malta is an island spliced with grand architecture, searing nightlife and a cascade of apartment living reaching further up the mountain, similar to Santorini but a lot more congested, with urban grittiness. The nightlife of Paceville is one of the most insane and action-packed places I have ever visited. Having been to Ibiza and Mykonos, I thought I had seen it all but Paceville leaves them both trailing by a hefty margin. At times it seems nightclubs are competing with each other just to see who can be the loudest, while promoters line up outside handing out ‘free drink’ cards. For anyone in the mood to go out and dance, or if you really want to experience a lively vibe unparalleled anywhere else, Paceville is the place to visit.
Malta of course, is a lot more than Paceville. St. Julian’s and Sliema are two laid back, yet bustling places which photographers, artists and writers would die to see. With inexpensive, delicious dining (Italian food is the major cuisine) and taverns that would make any in Greece envious, Malta certainly has a refuge-style quality to make you forget any worries back home and just enjoy the moment. To my knowledge, there aren’t many recent novels set in Malta, so maybe I’ll have to do something to change that in the near future. If anyone knows of books set here, please let me know! I recently joined up with Amazon’s Shelfari, which is a cool social network site where you can create virtual bookshelves listing titles you have read, plan to read and are reading at the moment. My bookshelf isn’t complete just yet, but it can be viewed by clicking this link here. What writers read usually has an impact on their output, and looking at my bookshelf I can say that is partially correct. I’ve always viewed ‘Vagabond’ as a mix of Alex Garland’s ‘The Beach’ and Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist,’ two novels which to me are perfect pieces of literature. ‘The Alchemist’ needs no introduction, but ‘The Beach’ which has a film by the same name, deserves a highlight. Garland’s epic backpacker adventure takes place across Thailand (the gateway to South East Asia and the #1 travel destination for Aussies), and at length discusses realistically what it is like to step foot in a beautiful, corrupt culture filled with pandemonium and contradictions. Having visited Thailand at length a couple of times before, I can honestly say nothing will prepare you for it. My heart rests with the wonders of Europe, but Thailand has an unmatched craziness for it which finds its visitors laughing, crying, dancing and trailing in a whirlwind of expats, counterfeit gems, depressing and questionable street prostitution, Muay Thai ‘go for gold’ inclusions which leave everybody in bad shape, and a million bars with their own stories, sports fanatics and meeting points. Garland’s ‘The Beach’ essentially asks how far we are willing to go for paradise, and as we learn throughout his cult novel, the measuring stick of morality is a subjective one at best. I picked up a copy while backpacking through Airlie Beach in 2006 at a second hand bookshop, and have read it multiple times since. I highly recommend it. If you have Shelfari follow me and I’ll follow you back, and if you haven’t got it sign up today!