Monday, March 11, 2013

CCLaP: História, História

Well folks, it's March 11th and do you know what that means? We have a book birthday to celebrate!

História, História: Two Years in the Cape Verde Islands begins its journey out into the big bad world today. This collection of creative non-fiction personal essays by Eleanor Stanford will break your heart while it lifts your spirits. It's an intimate peek into the life of twenty-something year old Ellie, a Peace Corps Volunteer who is stationed in the Cape Verde Islands - a cluster of islands off the coast of West Africa - with her husband. Ellie shares her struggles acclimating to the island lifestyle and the stress it puts on her young marriage; the nuisances of the Creole language; the eating disorder that she develops during her stay; and the students she teaches, who pull at her heartstrings. 


The book is already pulling in some very thoughtful and lovely reviews:

Rebecca, over at Love at First Book, felt a personal connection to História, História - her cousin volunteered out of Peru for the Peace Corps and one of his sisters is currently with the Peace Corps in Madagascar. Rebecca had this to say about the book:

"Her writing was beautiful....It reminded me of ‘The Sex Lives of Cannibals.’”

Jennifer of The Relentless Reader felt Eleanor's struggles pulling her straight into the story, and a strong desire to travel to Cape Verde to explore the island for herself. She says:

“[A] small book that leaves a big impression....Melancholy and luscious.” 

Heather, at Between the Covers, wished the book had been longer. Of Eleanor's writing, she says:

“...she does a great job of writing about ... the people and culture of Cape Verde (and how an American woman fit or did not fit within that culture)...”

Ash of Bitches with Books created a specialty drink for the book's release and had this to say about  História, História:

"... It’s engaging, cultural and thoughtful, and in some ways very haunting..."


Eleanor was interviewed about traveling on Ralf Pott's website Vagabonding:

"... living and traveling as a Peace Corps volunteer gave me a clearer understanding of the sort of travel I was interested in doing: that is, not so much traveling, as living in a place long enough to have an inside view of what it was like."

And she appears in a guest post, about why she wrote her book, in Superstition Review:

“ I cast about for what to do next with my life, Cape Verde’s landscape and people and the intensity of my experiences there haunted me.”

I'm really excited to be promoting Eleanor's book as first my "marketing director" project with CCLaP. It's certainly opened my eyes to a whole new world of writing - creative non-fiction is new territory for me as a reader. Though her collection is short, it packs such a powerful punch and will force you to take stock of your own life and your #firstworldproblems (as they say on twitter). Through História, História, Eleanor teaches her readers about the intricacies of Creole and the cultural nuances of small island life that we take for granted here. She also openly discusses the toll her experiences took on her, her body, and her marriage. 

Ellie and I met for the first time this week, grabbing a quick bite of breakfast with fellow CCLaP author Kevin Haworth, during the AWP conference. Incredibly sweet and lovely, I couldn't help but think to myself that I was sitting across the table from a woman who had experienced so many life-changing things, seen so many beautiful and heart-wrenching things, who had selflessly given her time and energy to another country... who was so wonderfully worldly... that at times it just blew me away. 

You can now purchase a gorgeous, hand-made hard cover edition of História, História on CCLaP's website. The book is also available for Kindle on

Look at those lovelies! I cannot wait to get my hands on one of those things! 

If you read it (whether in print or digital) and decide to share your thoughts, please link me to it so I can share it with the world! It'd also be cool to start a História, História meme, where, if you bought a hardcover copy, you take a photo of it out in the world somewhere and send it on over to us... I'll post every picture I get on CCLaP's facebook page!

Happy reading, everyone! 

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