Review by Brendan Donaghy -- The Ultimate Island

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Brendan Donaghy
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Review by Brendan Donaghy -- The Ultimate Island

Post by Brendan Donaghy » 27 May 2019, 07:50

[Following is a volunteer review of "The Ultimate Island" by Amit Offir.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Amit Offir is, according to the information at the start of this book, ‘a world traveler, an adventurer, and a sought-after lecturer.’ He also finds time to write books. In the pages of this one, The Ultimate Island, he combines his passion for travel and adventure to produce an interesting and unique guide to the beautiful Mediterranean island of Malta.

This is a short book consisting, as it does, of just seven chapters. Before he begins the account of his trip, the author explains his reasons for choosing to visit Malta. He also serves notice on the reader that this is not to be the usual kind of travel book. Instead, it will also be ‘a reflection of the attitudes and ways of thinking’ that the author has used in his travels around the world and in his other business ventures.

Each of the seven chapters covers one day of the writer’s stay on the island, and each is headed by a quote from Napoleon Bonaparte. This may seem like an odd choice until one learns that Napoleon led the French invasion of Malta in the late eighteenth century. The chapters include one day exploring the capital Valletta, a day spent sailing to the Blue Lagoon, and another spent on a walking tour of Comino Island. The writer also devotes a day to visiting locations on Malta that have been used in film and television productions. Over one hundred and ten movies and shows have been shot on the island. The book is also liberally sprinkled with color photographs of the writer in Malta, engaged in doing the things he is writing about.

I enjoyed reading this book, for the very simple reason that the author is an interesting guide with an infectious enthusiasm for the place he is visiting. He is an adventurous tourist, both physically and mentally. He enjoys active pursuits, so is quite at home touring the island on a rented motorbike, or snorkeling in the warm sea around its coast. Nor is he the kind of traveler who searches for restaurants offering a familiar, home-from-home style menu. He is content to sit at a roadside café or bar and eat locally produced food. He strikes up conversations with villagers and finds out interesting facts about the area that might not turn up in other guide books.

While I enjoyed this book, it is not without its flaws. A note at the start tells us that it has been translated from Hebrew. Perhaps as a result of this, there are times when the writing lacks a little fluency or when verb tenses get a bit confused. There are also more than a few grammatical and typographical mistakes. These can be slightly distracting but could be easily fixed with a competent edit. One final point: those picking up this book expecting to find within its pages a traditional travelogue, should be warned that the actual tour of Malta does not get going until page thirty. Prior to that, we are given the author’s attitudes and reflections on life. Personally, I could have done without these and not felt that I had missed too much.

I would give this book three out of four stars. The high number of grammatical mistakes prevents it from getting the maximum score. I chose to review it because I visited Malta at around the same time that Amit Offir made his trip and I wanted to compare his thoughts on it with my own. His enthusiasm for the island, his descriptions of the places and the food, reminded me of a holiday I thoroughly enjoyed and made me want to go back. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy traveling and who are looking for ideas for that next trip. Movie buffs may also enjoy the author’s visits around the various film set locations.

******
The Ultimate Island
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danielleamy
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Post by danielleamy » 10 Jun 2019, 06:38

Thanks for the review! If I get the chance to visit Malta I'll be sure to check this book out before I go. I know that Game Of Thrones was partly filmed there, so that's an added bonus!
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Post by Nisha Ward » 10 Jun 2019, 07:37

Very nice review you've got there. It sounds like the book makes Malta come to life in many ways, though the fact that it takes 30 pages to get started seems a bit much.
"...while a book has got to be worthwhile from the point of view of the reader it's got to be worthwhile from the point of view of the writer as well." - Terry Pratchett on The Last Continent and his writing.

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Brendan Donaghy
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Post by Brendan Donaghy » 10 Jun 2019, 09:22

danielleamy wrote:
10 Jun 2019, 06:38
Thanks for the review! If I get the chance to visit Malta I'll be sure to check this book out before I go. I know that Game Of Thrones was partly filmed there, so that's an added bonus!
At the time I visited Malta, I wasn't much interested in GoT so I didn't bother looking out for the film locations. I've since binge-watched the whole 8 seasons - now I'd be very keen to see where it was filmed! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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Post by Brendan Donaghy » 10 Jun 2019, 16:36

Nisha Ward wrote:
10 Jun 2019, 07:37
Very nice review you've got there. It sounds like the book makes Malta come to life in many ways, though the fact that it takes 30 pages to get started seems a bit much.
Yeah, I could have done without those 30 pages to be honest, but overall I really enjoyed the book. Thanks for your comments!

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Post by daviddawud » 16 Jun 2019, 01:30

This is an intriguing review. The book makes me want to visit Malta too! I will definitely check it out. Great review you have written here!

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Post by Prisallen » 16 Jun 2019, 03:01

I would love to go to Malta, and I may have to check this book out. The island sounds wonderful. Thanks for a very informative review!

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Post by CommMayo » 16 Jun 2019, 11:44

This sounds like a fun and unique guidebook. It is a total shame about the lack of editing. What was the author thinking?!?!

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Post by Ekta Swarnkar » 16 Jun 2019, 11:51

What's better than a book delivering a travel experience and an informative review. Good work with the review 👍

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Post by Brendan Donaghy » 16 Jun 2019, 15:55

daviddawud wrote:
16 Jun 2019, 01:30
This is an intriguing review. The book makes me want to visit Malta too! I will definitely check it out. Great review you have written here!
Malta's a terrific destination - well worth a visit if you ever get the opportunity. Many thanks for your comment!

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Post by Brendan Donaghy » 17 Jun 2019, 01:46

Prisallen wrote:
16 Jun 2019, 03:01
I would love to go to Malta, and I may have to check this book out. The island sounds wonderful. Thanks for a very informative review!
Get to Malta if you can - I can recommend it! Thank you for taking time to comment.

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Post by sarahmarlowe » 17 Jun 2019, 11:09

I chose to review it because I visited Malta at around the same time that Amit Offir made his trip and I wanted to compare his thoughts on it with my own. His enthusiasm for the island, his descriptions of the places and the food, reminded me of a holiday I thoroughly enjoyed and made me want to go back.
What a wonderful opportunity! I'm so glad you enjoyed this book. And, I enjoyed your review. You did a fine job covering all areas. Nice job!
sarahmarlowe
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Post by Brendan Donaghy » 17 Jun 2019, 12:16

CommMayo wrote:
16 Jun 2019, 11:44
This sounds like a fun and unique guidebook. It is a total shame about the lack of editing. What was the author thinking?!?!
Definitely fun, and definitely unique! With regards to the editing, I think something, quite literally, got lost in translation. It wouldn't take an afternoon to correct the errors, as it's quite a short book, so maybe things will improve if there's another edition. Thank you for your comments!

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Post by Brendan Donaghy » 17 Jun 2019, 16:26

Ekta Swarnkar wrote:
16 Jun 2019, 11:51
What's better than a book delivering a travel experience and an informative review. Good work with the review 👍
Thank you for taking the time to comment!

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Brendan Donaghy
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Post by Brendan Donaghy » 18 Jun 2019, 11:47

sarahmarlowe wrote:
17 Jun 2019, 11:09
I chose to review it because I visited Malta at around the same time that Amit Offir made his trip and I wanted to compare his thoughts on it with my own. His enthusiasm for the island, his descriptions of the places and the food, reminded me of a holiday I thoroughly enjoyed and made me want to go back.
What a wonderful opportunity! I'm so glad you enjoyed this book. And, I enjoyed your review. You did a fine job covering all areas. Nice job!
Thank you for your comments!

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