Book Jacket

 

rank 1614
word count 59847
date submitted 22.10.2009
date updated 27.03.2012
genres: Non-fiction, Biography, Travel, Har...
classification: moderate
incomplete

Table for One

Jan B

The trials and tribulations of an expat meandering the world.

 

Ever heard of Tajikistan?
When I first did, I thought it was in Africa.
Table for One is about the adventures I have had during my career as a globetrotter.

 
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tags

africa, asia, australia, biography, brisbane, comedy, discovery, expatriate, flying, harper true life, indonesia, kalgoorlie, karratha, khartoum, mine...

on 11 watchlists

154 comments

 

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carlashmore wrote 1495 days ago

Hi Jan. This is a fascinating read. What an interesting life you have lived. I read the first three chapters and found myself becoming engrossed in the simplicity, or should I say accessibility of your prose. It seems like honesty and poignancy leaps off the page. It is clear that unlike many from Loftus you chose to get out, to see the world and to live life to the full. Yours is a story of many, yet so true to one. Although I certainly don;t profess to being an avid fan of this genre, your prose certainly drew me in to wanting to find out more. And who could ask for more than that. Well done.x

Jared wrote 1576 days ago

A biography has to have a reason to compel a reader's interest. Assuming the writer isn't a celebrity, the story of a person's life must have a specific fascination or be told in an engaging manner. This works on both levels and I found it a rich source of interest.

The opening chapter starts with an explanation of your name, short enough to remain interesting, and the rest of the chapter is an engaging start. The tampons episode must have been worth seeing. The following sentence incidentally, "The family unit through customs with no more ado," is presumably missing the word, "passed" after "unit."

Given the nature of the book, I've skipped around a fair bit, reading about exotic locations in the company of an accomplished guide. I liked the easy way you used language to bring an unfamiliar area to life and I would happily read much more of this.
Backed.
Jared.

John Harold McCoy wrote 1598 days ago

Hi. Jan. Good pitch. Makes a lot of promises and from what I've read so far it looks like it's going to deliver. Good start and I really like your style. A good pace and flow right along without stumbling. Ian is an intriguing MC and we get to know him, the who, how and why of him right at the beginning. Good job on this. On my shelf. I think this might do well here. Best of luck with it.

John Harold McCoy - Bramwell Valley

Scott Toney wrote 672 days ago

I really like your cover here, very creative! I like the premise too. I'll be reading soon!

Have a fantastic day!

Scott, Eden Legacy

strachan gordon wrote 750 days ago

A very interesting setting about which there is always something vaguely menacing - dictators , armed groups total systematic corruption - something along those lines , its a more promising setting for a book than , say, Romford . I'm glad you succeeded in taking a look at the map before you took things any further . The impact of 9/11 is a also effectively demonstrated , at least on a particular individual. Watchlisted and starred. Would you be able to look at the first chapter of my novel 'A Buccaneer' which is set amongst Pirates in the 17th century , with best wishes from Strachan Gordon

strachan gordon wrote 750 days ago

A very interesting setting about which there is always something vaguely menacing - dictators , armed groups total systematic corruption - something along those lines , its a more promising setting for a book than , say, Romford . I'm glad you succeeded in taking a look at the map before you took things any further . The impact of 9/11 is a also effectively demonstrated , at least on a particular individual. Watchlisted and starred. Would you be able to look at the first chapter of my novel 'A Buccaneer' which is set amongst Pirates in the 17th century , with best wishes from Strachan Gordon

lavery51 wrote 1292 days ago

Hi Jan, I read chapter one and it is well done. you have painted a character that is at once eccentric yet interesting and common. Your writing is fluid and good transitions between totally different topics. This is the kind of book one doesnt put down.Please take a look at myine if you can You Turn thanks, Lynne

Vanessa Darnleigh wrote 1406 days ago

The Russian greeting followed by the direct translation is a bit awkward I think...the meaning could be deduced in alternative ways
None of us...especially not...?
...proud of my obvious expertise... = seems rather redundant since you wouldn't need to be an expert to work that out!
...under-developed AND third world?
...I lay and watched...
I suspect the content would generate a high level of interest...some proofreading would help to tidy it up quite a bit...otherwise it reads well
Good luck
Stewart

Daniel Manning wrote 1407 days ago

Going through all the trails and tribulations while undergoing an apprenticeship in the industrial north was absorbing. Fascinating look inside a working colliery where the workers were moved about on scruffy old conveyor belts. Stumped by a pump, reminded me of my own dilemma one time with an electric generater, until a guy turned up, and showed me what i was doing wrong.
Very engaging story, may need to look at punctuation.
Backed with pleasure.
Daniel Manning
In Chapter five: I felt humilated and stupid. The know it all attitude had changed into knowing nothing and feeling like a complete tool. ( should the word be fool)

EltopiaAuthor wrote 1409 days ago

"Table for One" Chapter 5:

I have absolutely no comments as to how this might be improved. Rather, I have just thoroughly enjoyed reading to this point. This story is obviously a winner. I will plan to see you at the top ... if I make it. For some reason my story suddenly plunges like, maybe a thousand points or so. I can't figure out what would suddenly impact the story that way. Oh well, living and learning on Authonomy.

See you at the top.

F. Ellsworth Lockwood
"The Final Cruise"

EltopiaAuthor wrote 1409 days ago

"A mother who knitted" speaks volumes. Good writing.

F. Ellsworth Lockwood
"The Final Cruise"

EltopiaAuthor wrote 1409 days ago

"A Table for One"

OK, I am back. Gotta read some more of this terrific book.

F. Ellsworth Lockwood
"The Final Cruise"

Strayer wrote 1411 days ago

So, it's not a dining out book. You'll be able to say in your dotage that you have lived, not existed, I liked how you wrote this. Direct and easy to read.

name falied moderation wrote 1412 days ago

Jan, I dont see any pitch, is it my comp or is there not one up. Anyways your writing flows and I just love the way you share, open, funny, and real. You have had a very interesting life and it is only when we read into another s span that we can see we truly create our own reality. SHELVED by me and best of luck
Please take some time to read some of my book and give me your feedback. Though I get many comments they are always welcome, one can never get too much help.
BACKED
BEST OF LUCK
Denise

mvw888 wrote 1413 days ago

Definitely an intriguing read, given the foreign settings and political happenings. I found your voice to be a bit cold in the first chapter, meaning that I couldn't get much of an emotional feel for the character, but in the next couple of chapters it warmed up a bit. You have some grammar and punctuation issues. Examples:

Awkward phrasing: "The expatriates started to disappear off to their rooms" and "I expected to be facing some horrendous demise" to have "off" here is strange and also the verb in the next one.

Commas where they should and shouldn't be: from the 2nd paragraph "passing through the village (, comma here) and from the 4th paragraph "I waved at the armed guards (comma not needed here).

Unclear wording: "Passing through the bar was a short cut to my rooms, and gave me more opportunity to practice my spoken Russian." What is the subject for the verb "gave?" Of course, the meaning can be gleaned but this is awkwardly stated and really, unclear.

If grammar is not your bag, I'd hire a line editor. The story is strong and I'm sure, quite interesting. You have a great memory for detail and put in thoughtful observations.

---Mary
The Qualities of Wood

Mediocre Writer wrote 1416 days ago

Jan, this is very readable prose, and you present your information in a simple, straightforward style which I admire. Keeping text clear is a very important part of writing, I think, and you manage to do that here. What you say is interesting, and you managed to keep me engaged throughout the text I read. Backed.

EltopiaAuthor wrote 1418 days ago

I am still with you. This has a very genuine feel to it. Almost feels as if we are sitting around the livingroom table after you returned from a trip, and telling us all about it. Very nice writer's voice. Not smug, not show-off-ish. Matter of fact but filled with interesting details that cause me to become interested in the whole scenario, wondering what's going to happen.


A small nit: Maybe 25, 26 paragraphs down, you wrote, "I disliked my step family intently." Perhaps you meant "intensely."

Very profound insights, an enlightenment of sorts for a 14 year old child, and at times, a touch of humour. Did I spell that right? Everything on this UK site, I don't know whether to write labor or labour any more! Etc.

OK. Very interesting account. I anticipate that your arrow will soon turn back to green again. It surely has to if you keep going like this and then finish strong.

F. Ellworth Lockwood
"The Final Cruise"

EltopiaAuthor wrote 1418 days ago

Excuse me, I just noticed that this is non-fiction. Sorry about the earlier comment. Yes, I am drawn to first hand accounts from foreign places, and you tell this in a very interesting manner. I will continue on to Chapter 3..

EltopiaAuthor wrote 1418 days ago

Wow, I am interested. I have wondered about some of those small countries, Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan and others. Such foreign sounding names, now becoming dinner table talk. I like novels that take me to new and exotic places, or even new and not so exotic, and weave that into the story. I shall continue on to Chapter 2.
F. Ellsworth Lockwood
"The Final Cruise"

EltopiaAuthor wrote 1418 days ago

Interesting opening setting. When citing foreign languages, some authors choose to put the English immediately after the quote, only in parenthesis, like this: "Como le ha ido?" (How've you been?).

Good luck on your way up.

Robert Anderson wrote 1424 days ago

Alreet Jan,

a fellow Geordie, I'm afraid. I had your book on my watchlist, and honestly thought you'd backed me and you were to be my 3rd read - I must have just stumbled across your book.. Firstly, I'm no expert - have a look at When...? and you'll see. Well, its ok for a first outing, but I wish someone would say that When...? is shi#e, so I can ask them why? So I'm going to be critical, that's what I want and I hope you do.

I've read the first three chapters. The writing is good, but not compelling and descriptive enough to keep me interested. Although after a ffew paras I see that you've chosen a significant world event as a starter - clocking off etc? Needs to be more grabbing - we're consatantly told that editors soemtimes only read the first page.

I sense you wrote as steps (like I did) but i see more imaginary brackets in your writing,i.e. 'right what happenend next.'

Overall I think similar to mine in style. I would say though that you need more description. I know it's factual, but you need to be famous to get away with this as it is at the moment. Hopefully you're okay with this - it's all subjective Jan. I thinkk its far better to say what you see, and feel, rather than patting folk on the back, cheers Robert Anderson (When...?) Please feedback on mine - don't say it's shi#e though - is it?

PS Ian's not Irish for John - it's Sean, isn't it?

CraigD wrote 1427 days ago

Fascinating subject matter, just the kind of book I love. The writing is direct and no-frills, like a good piece of journalism. So easy to back.
Craig
The Job

Robert Mourningstar wrote 1430 days ago

Thank you for backing my book. I've added your's to my WL. I take a look at it when I get a chance.

Su Dan wrote 1433 days ago

you have written very well what i concider difficult to write; non- fiction. you give us nessasary information and keep our interest. good work...
on watchlist...
su dan...read SEASONS...

SueAnn Jackson Land wrote 1433 days ago

Jan,

I started reading your book thinking, “What a great idea to write from the perspective of someone outside of the US on 9/11” and then realized your tag said, “non-fiction.” One of the blessings of this Authonomy place is finding people with different perspectives. As you were describing Loftus, I found myself relating it to every man’s small town. Just wanting to get the hell out of there, with “a part time father and a mother who knitted.” I’m rejoicing with you when you come up in the cage drenched in water, seems like a whole lot of surrogate fathers and brothers accepted you at once. I read through 6 and enjoyed what I read!

Backed,
SueAnn Jackson Land
The Truth About Whales

EltopiaAuthor wrote 1434 days ago

You are a good writer. I backed you earlier and I think you are still on my shelf unless I removed it to the Watch List. See you at the top.

Bocri wrote 1435 days ago

15 May 2010
13:00
Table for One is the platform for a born raconteur. It consists of lean direct prose that, while not wilfully demanding attention , nevertheless effectively persuades the reader to settle back and experience foreign parts and to undergo the authentic draw and pull of exotic places. An attention holding opening exposes us to the shock of a world shattering event while outside the protective home boundaries before initiating the back story of an earlier life prior to that of nomad. Engrossing. Backed. Robert Davidson. The Tuzla Run.

EltopiaAuthor wrote 1435 days ago

I went back and did a second take at your novel A Table For One. This truly is the kind of book I would wish to see in hard bound or paperpback. Reading by computer seems so much like "working," but your book is one that I would enjoy sitting back and relaxing with, endulging myself in a soft, cozy chair. Wonderful beginning. I did back you already (of course you knew that).

Now, what I liked: Besides your writing in a casual but elegant, understated style (in my opinion), you take me to exotic places I have never been, and you make me feel as if I am experiencing it myself for the first time.

Jan, thanks for backing The Final Cruise. I am honored to have your backing.

beegirl wrote 1436 days ago

Jan,
Your style is different. You tell a story in an unrelaxed sort of way--formal so to speak. For example.... a chance to use my spoken Russian...is a formal way where as it was a chance to speak in Russian or practice my Russian ...would be more informal. There are a number of places where this is the case. The mood of the writing strikes me as sombre rather than light-except for the brief explaination of your name--which made me chuckle.

As I was reading at first I found the style above distracting--but I became accustom to it and by the end of chapter three I rather liked it. I felt that I if I met you I would expect a rather tall formal man with a wide experience of life that was somewhat quiet but spoke well. (Am I right?)

Great experience of life.
Barbara

Marija F.Sullivan wrote 1436 days ago

I've read 3 chapters and what can I say other than: amazing life.
Writing is nice and I'd like to back your book. Cheers, M

- Weekend Chimney Sweep
-Sarajevo Walls of Fate

James Rainsford wrote 1436 days ago

A compelling read with a strong narrative and fascinating details of an obviously very varied and interesting life.
Backed with pleasure.
James Rainsford.

EltopiaAuthor wrote 1437 days ago

I read first chapter. Interesting beginning. I would read the whole thing but I am reading five books from the library right now!

jamesmac wrote 1437 days ago

I've read three chapters of your book, sorry, your life I mean Jan.
They flew by, and flew by very enjoyably.
It's difficult for me to judge a book that is not fiction, because I'm looking for different things here - but all I can do is comment as a reader - and as a reader I found this to be a story that held my interest from beginning until my end.
I wish you well with this Jan because it certainly is a interesting story, and told with honesty and style.
Good luck.
James.

PATRICK BARRETT wrote 1437 days ago

This is inspired as a subject but will probably only appeal to a few. After a mining career in the UK I found it fascinating, well done. Patrick Barrett (Cuthbert-how mean is my valley)

Luk7 wrote 1438 days ago

Table for One: I have a friend who has also worked in many oil-rich places as an English teacher, and was immediately interested in case this might be her book. Well, you make a nice joke with the name Jan, not saying at first and then explaining. I'm intrigued by the theme of this and want to know more. Which countries will I visit if I read the book? Suggestion: a contents page so people can choose sections to read by region - and so I can find out if you have been to Azerbaijan and Yemen, like my friend. And maybe (this is personal, so I hesitate, but just maybe?) a change of title that will say more about the scope of this book. - Luk7 Pixelated

Leslie Rocker wrote 1441 days ago

I have happily backed this book for a number of reasons.
In the first place it is well-written and readable. Your recall of personal historical detail is remarkable.
Secondly, I like to think I have had a pretty interesting life, have written a 100,000 word account of it, which I have not even bothered to offer a publisher. I hope you will with yours and that you have success with it, because it deserves it.
Thirdly, I have also travelled widely, but you have been to places I have not even heard of. You might be amused at my reaction to Saudi Arabia : "Riyadh is wyadh; and Jeddah is not much beddah !" On the other hand I loved Brisbane and other Australian towns, particularly Adelaide, but that was back in the 40s.
Finally, it is a sad fact that publishers seem only to want to publish autobiographies of so-called celebrities, whose lives are as short and as uninteresting as the average grammar schoolboy. Let's strike a blow for readability !
Leslie Rocker, Adam's Apple

Elizabeth Wolfe wrote 1446 days ago

It's nice to see a biography on this site - seems fairly rare. You have a great adventure here! BACKED. -Elizabeth Wolfe (Memories of Glory)

Dawn DeRemer wrote 1447 days ago

This isn't my usual genre of preference, but I can appreciate the quality of writing, effort and a job well done.
Since is has good reviews, I think you've hit your target audience.
Best wishes for a speedy trip to success!
Dawn De Remer (Golden Moon)

Dawn DeRemer wrote 1447 days ago

This isn't my usual genre of preference, but I can appreciate the quality of writing, effort and a job well done.
Since is has good reviews, I think you've hit your target audience.
Best wishes for a speedy trip to success!
Dawn De Remer (Golden Moon)

stoatsnest wrote 1448 days ago

An interesting story and well told. Backed.

Lara wrote 1448 days ago

I loved this idea. I'm at a table for one in much more mundane circumstances and countries. Your descriptions are so vivid without glorifying or decrying anything that it makes the reader want to down tools and take off into the wilderness. Are you a journalist? if not, you should be and I'm sure you must have sold many interesting articles. Backed this already

Rosalind
Good For Him

DP Walker wrote 1449 days ago

Hi Jan
As a regular business traveller myself, I really like the concept behind this. I like your narrative style introducing the story. We also get to learn about some of the places you've visited as well. You written this as a kind of memoir in my opinion and it makes for a fascinating read.
DP Walker
Five Dares

Famlavan wrote 1449 days ago

This is absolutely great I have been (un)lucky to travel to some pretty weird places, but you sure have me beat.
I think how you have put this together and structured is very, very good.
I think you engage the reader to you the storyteller so well, this is a must read book. – Brilliant.

soutexmex wrote 1450 days ago

Jan. This website will improve your writing craft, if you allow it. The short pitch is acceptable. With the long pitch, drop that last line about 'read on ...' Perfecting your pitches is how you climb in ranking to gather more exposure and comments to better your novel. The writing is good so I am SHELVING you.

Though I have been a very active member for over a year, I can still use your comments on my book when you get the chance. Every little bit helps. Cheers!

JC
The Obergemau Key

Burgio wrote 1450 days ago

TABLE FOR ONE
This is an interesting book. In places it’s a travel log; in others it’s an autobiography; all the way through, it’s a good read. It’s what I call a “plane book” or something to read to take your mind off the fact you’re 30,000 miles up and strapped into a metal cage – because chapter by chapter this can do that. Places you’ve never been – and probably never will be – come alive in front of your eyes. I’m adding this to my shelf. Burgio (Grain of Salt).

Neville wrote 1450 days ago

Hi Jan, well written book with good description.
You have worked hard on this thats obvious and it should pay off.
Well done and best wishes.SHELVED.

Thank you for backing my book "The Secrets Of The Forest".

Kind regards,

Neville.

SusieGulick wrote 1480 days ago

Dear Jan, Amazing, all of your research! Thank you for sharing behind the scenes. :) I like that you have an introduction & epilogue. Since I have already backed & commented on your book, I will now put you on my watchlist to help your book advance more. Please take a moment to back my 2 books, "He Loves Me" & the unedited version, "Tell Me True Love Stories." Thanks, Susie :)

Burgio wrote 1489 days ago

This is an interesting read. first, because it's true. Second, becasue of your writing style. You describe distant places here that the rest of us will never see but you do it with a minimum of words so the vision is clear what something looks like - but you don't use such long descriptions that the pace slows down. Makes it a good read. Burgio (Grain of Salt).

SusieGulick wrote 1494 days ago

Dear Jan, Thanks for sharing your story. Hope you'll read mine, He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not & my unedited version, Tell Me True Love Stories of He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not. Thanks, Susie :)

carlashmore wrote 1495 days ago

Hi Jan. This is a fascinating read. What an interesting life you have lived. I read the first three chapters and found myself becoming engrossed in the simplicity, or should I say accessibility of your prose. It seems like honesty and poignancy leaps off the page. It is clear that unlike many from Loftus you chose to get out, to see the world and to live life to the full. Yours is a story of many, yet so true to one. Although I certainly don;t profess to being an avid fan of this genre, your prose certainly drew me in to wanting to find out more. And who could ask for more than that. Well done.x

RichardBard wrote 1502 days ago

This is a very well-written biography. I like that it reads like a story. I can only imagine what it must have been like to be watching what was happening in NYC from a bar in Tajikstan. A little unsettling, I would guess. I'm happy to back this. Well done.

Richard Bard
BRAINRUSH

Beval wrote 1504 days ago

Its always fascinating to read about other peoples llives, their experiences, hopes and dreams.

yasmin esack wrote 1505 days ago

Excellent book and very intriguing. I always like a book when it takes somewhere i have never been and into a life I know little off.

Best wishes.