The Tenth Island
From a Pulitzer Prize–winning writer comes an exuberant memoir of personal loss and longing, and finding connection on the remote Azorean islands of the Atlantic Ocean.Reporter Diana Marcum is in crisis. A long-buried personal sadness is enfolding her—and her career is stalled—when she stumbles upon an unusual group of immigrants living in rural California. She follows them on their annual return to the remote Azorean islands in the Atlantic Ocean, where bulls run down village streets, volcanoes are active, and the people celebrate festas to ease their saudade, a longing so deep that the Portuguese word for it can’t be fully translated.Years later, California is in a terrible drought, the wildfires seem to never end, and Diana finds herself still dreaming of those islands and the chuva—a rain so soft you don’t notice when it begins or ends.With her troublesome Labrador retriever, Murphy, in tow, Diana returns to the islands of her dreams only to discover that there are still things she longs for—and one of them may be a most unexpected love.

The Tenth Island Details

TitleThe Tenth Island
Author
ReleaseAug 1st, 2018
PublisherLittle A
ISBN-139781503941328
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Travel

The Tenth Island Review

  • Goth Gone Grey
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoy biographies and learning about other places - traveling without ever leaving my couch. This semi-fiction, semi-autobiographical book seemed a great choice for this month's First Reads selection.The book is filled with her experiences, but more with her longing for more. More peace, more romance, more beauty, more.. Saudade. The indescribable longing for something that you're not sure of, whether it be happy or sad, that's just out of reach with your fingers, and slipped away from your to I enjoy biographies and learning about other places - traveling without ever leaving my couch. This semi-fiction, semi-autobiographical book seemed a great choice for this month's First Reads selection.The book is filled with her experiences, but more with her longing for more. More peace, more romance, more beauty, more.. Saudade. The indescribable longing for something that you're not sure of, whether it be happy or sad, that's just out of reach with your fingers, and slipped away from your tongue so it can't even be described.The author shares stories of her life in California and Azorean Islands, as well as her career as a news writer. She leaps headlong into stories, with hiking boots and fire gear at the ready during droughts and fires, a sad normalcy in California for part of her career. Worn from experiencing this, she headed back to the Azorean Islands, where life is slower, and simpler... Except while bulls are charging at you, narrowly held by handlers with ropes.Between and during the narrative, she adds in theories that she believes to be true. I liked the first, but they soon grew a little tiring, distracting from the narrative and self-serving. An example:"The Importance of Dawdling Theory: This theory holds that there is nothing more valuable than time to waste. The most interesting things are the ones tucked away in the empty spaces to be discovered when dawdling, loitering, lying in bed. It's the only part of the universe you can truly call your own."Overall, the book is filled with the author's passion, but the factual, blunt manner is sometimes tinged with a hint of despair that makes it a less enjoyable read than I'd like. She touches on her romances, and issues thereof, in a manner which sings for sympathy, but I couldn't generate it. I wish her well, of course, but some of this portion could have been skipped with no impact to the tale.
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  • Mandy
    January 1, 1970
    This was neither a travelogue, nor a history book, nor a "lost my shit and found love in a foreign land" book. And I'm good with that.I was initially concerned that I was reading another version of Eat Pray Love (based on the notes on Amazon) but found that the author was less a lost soul and more of a searching one. The Azores sound so beautiful and welcoming, and the format of each chapter almost as a short story was very effective. The Murphy stories in particular were very entertaining. This This was neither a travelogue, nor a history book, nor a "lost my shit and found love in a foreign land" book. And I'm good with that.I was initially concerned that I was reading another version of Eat Pray Love (based on the notes on Amazon) but found that the author was less a lost soul and more of a searching one. The Azores sound so beautiful and welcoming, and the format of each chapter almost as a short story was very effective. The Murphy stories in particular were very entertaining. This book was I think a great deal about community and how she could appreciate it while still being something of an outsider. The theme of drought was both disturbing and effective. The Azores were both a verdant change of scenery (with looming active volcanos) but also a cure for an arid soul.
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  • Calzean
    January 1, 1970
    The author is a journalist, she is in a slump with nothing going right - no permanent job, no love life and no fulfilment. Through her work she meets some of the many emigrants from the Azores who make an annual pilgrimage back to their homes. She decides to visit this set of islands firstly for a couple of weeks, then a few months and years later for a year.Not surprising she finds happiness in the simple, community-based life style. She writes well, always with the respect of a visitor who is The author is a journalist, she is in a slump with nothing going right - no permanent job, no love life and no fulfilment. Through her work she meets some of the many emigrants from the Azores who make an annual pilgrimage back to their homes. She decides to visit this set of islands firstly for a couple of weeks, then a few months and years later for a year.Not surprising she finds happiness in the simple, community-based life style. She writes well, always with the respect of a visitor who is grateful for the chance to live in such a welcoming, laid-back and fun-loving people.
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  • Ieva
    January 1, 1970
    Rather odd None of the other Kindle first books for July appealed, so I defaulted to what I thought would be a charming travelogue about the Azores. This book did not turn out be what I had expected. I think I learned more about California than the Azores. I was reminded of how different the USA is to the UK and that we are divided by a common language. The narrative was rather introspective and very autobiographical and I had trouble being into the book because I kept wondering why I should be Rather odd None of the other Kindle first books for July appealed, so I defaulted to what I thought would be a charming travelogue about the Azores. This book did not turn out be what I had expected. I think I learned more about California than the Azores. I was reminded of how different the USA is to the UK and that we are divided by a common language. The narrative was rather introspective and very autobiographical and I had trouble being into the book because I kept wondering why I should be interested in this woman I don't know and her friendships and relationships. Somehow I kept going, thinking the story would become clearer with time, but even by the end part of me wonders why it was written and why I read it. the other parts found it quite intriguing and with the additional help of Google and Wikipedia, I learned new things about both the people of the Azores and of California.
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  • Sue
    January 1, 1970
    A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist from California, Marcum let go of everything to go alone to the Azores Islands off the coast of Portugal to explore the California-Azores connection. Although not Azorean herself, she felt a special connection on her first visit and took a year-long leave of absence from her job at the Los Angeles Times to spend more time in the Azores, mostly on the island of Terceira. She lived in houses rented or loaned to her and spent her days exploring. She made friends, A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist from California, Marcum let go of everything to go alone to the Azores Islands off the coast of Portugal to explore the California-Azores connection. Although not Azorean herself, she felt a special connection on her first visit and took a year-long leave of absence from her job at the Los Angeles Times to spend more time in the Azores, mostly on the island of Terceira. She lived in houses rented or loaned to her and spent her days exploring. She made friends, took off with near-strangers on hikes and car trips, and became part of the community, all without speaking more than a few words of Portuguese. It’s Eat Pray Love Portuguese style. My ancestors are Azorean, and I have been to the islands, so I loved reading about them. When she describes the street bullfights or the lava pools, I’m right back there. Marcum, now back at the LA Times, is a wonderful writer, her style informative yet easy.
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  • Shayna
    January 1, 1970
    I rarely give 5-star reviews, but this beautiful—and beautifully written—memoir most definitely deserves one. Kudos to journalist Diana Marcum for combining the depth and breadth of excellent reporting with the singsongy lyricism of a veteran novelist. I enjoyed every word and have added the Azores to my travel bucket list.
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted to like this book so much more than I did. The book overall is in chronological order (I think), but wow do the stories bounce around within certain time periods. It is very inconsistent and annoying with peppering of history about the islands/people/California to the point you just wonder, how is this relevant to what is going on? And I'm someone who appreciates historical context, but I got to the point, especially towards the end of the book, where my eyes would just glaze over when I wanted to like this book so much more than I did. The book overall is in chronological order (I think), but wow do the stories bounce around within certain time periods. It is very inconsistent and annoying with peppering of history about the islands/people/California to the point you just wonder, how is this relevant to what is going on? And I'm someone who appreciates historical context, but I got to the point, especially towards the end of the book, where my eyes would just glaze over when Marcum went into one of the long history lessons. I started skipping over all of it so I could just finish the book. For this being a personal account of her own experiences, the story felt a bit distanced. There's no real emotion or much POV thought - like the author is telling a friends detailed account of her experiences, but not her own. Also, if you're committed to reading this one, get a notepad to write down every person's name & how Diana met them because there are a lot, and I would forget who was who (or who was married to who) even reading the book consistently every night. I kept going back and forth on whether to give this book 2 or 3 stars, but because I really only liked small bits of it - not the entire thing so 2 stars it is. One of my lowest rated books. Which is sad because the idea and experiences behind this book deserve more than that, but in my opinion, it was just so poorly executed. I'm feeling deadline pressure or something going on here. The beginning of the book is so much better than later on - I even marked several quotes that really resonated with me (and thats not something I do often). Overall, it could've been much better storytelling - it's almost not worth the read because it wasn't done well.
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  • Karen M
    January 1, 1970
    In the Top Five of My Favorite Books Ever!I am a voracious reader and generally choose detective/sleuth, action-packed adventure stories but, agreeing with other reviewers of this book, it was the only one of the July free reads that remotely appealed to me, perhaps because of my love of travel and exploration of new places.I found this book relaxing and thought-provoking. Ms Markum has an extraordinary way of not only describing the sights and smells of the Azorean Islands, but she is also very In the Top Five of My Favorite Books Ever!I am a voracious reader and generally choose detective/sleuth, action-packed adventure stories but, agreeing with other reviewers of this book, it was the only one of the July free reads that remotely appealed to me, perhaps because of my love of travel and exploration of new places.I found this book relaxing and thought-provoking. Ms Markum has an extraordinary way of not only describing the sights and smells of the Azorean Islands, but she is also very deft at revealing inner thoughts and truths. The Portuguese word 'saudade' for an indescribable longing resonated with me. I've never bookmarked or highlighted more passages in any other books. I'm even considering buying the tangible, physical copy of this book to keep in my otherwise limited collection of great reads.A must for those who are armchair travelers and enjoy living virtually through other's experiences!
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  • Wendy Orford
    January 1, 1970
    Sorry but I did not enjoy this book. I continued reading it because I thought something interesting may happen to Diana on her Azores adventure but it didn't. I found the book rather rambling and difficult to keep up with the different people mentioned. Having said all of that and as a result of reading this book I am planning to visit the Azores next year for a holiday so it cant have been all bad.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    SaudadeAs a collector of words, saudade, loosely and inadequately translated to heartfelt longing, spoke to my soul, as did this entire novel. A newspaper reporter explores the lives and stories of Portuguese emigrants and immigrants between the Azores islands and Central Valley, California. Told with a mixture of wistful saudade, humor and descriptive personal experiences, Marcum allows you to travel vicariously to these beautiful islands. I've added a new destination to the top of my bucket li SaudadeAs a collector of words, saudade, loosely and inadequately translated to heartfelt longing, spoke to my soul, as did this entire novel. A newspaper reporter explores the lives and stories of Portuguese emigrants and immigrants between the Azores islands and Central Valley, California. Told with a mixture of wistful saudade, humor and descriptive personal experiences, Marcum allows you to travel vicariously to these beautiful islands. I've added a new destination to the top of my bucket list.
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  • Cat Hall
    January 1, 1970
    This is a beautiful, moving love story between a woman and a string of islands. It speaks to the part of my heart that longs to just go. It reminds me that I am my only obstacle. This book is a must read for those with this internal calling. Enjoy the journey!
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  • Tonya
    January 1, 1970
    I once lived in the Acores.When I say the cover of this book I knew where the picture was taken. I lived there. I was a Military wife at Lakes Field. I too fell in love with this mystical place. The people are amazing. I spent 2 years there (December 1992-Feb-1995). An adventure I will hold in my heart forever. Your book brought back so many memories, and yes once you have been chased by a bull in the streets,you never forget it. I lived in Bel Jarden. Then a year later move on base. I still use I once lived in the Acores.When I say the cover of this book I knew where the picture was taken. I lived there. I was a Military wife at Lakes Field. I too fell in love with this mystical place. The people are amazing. I spent 2 years there (December 1992-Feb-1995). An adventure I will hold in my heart forever. Your book brought back so many memories, and yes once you have been chased by a bull in the streets,you never forget it. I lived in Bel Jarden. Then a year later move on base. I still use my Alcatra pots, and cherish my memories of life on the Island. My children often talk of the friends they made and miss. I love your book. Thanks for the reminder of some of my favorite life experiences.
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  • Dlmrose
    January 1, 1970
    3.5
  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    Kindle First Reads - July 2018
  • Francesca
    January 1, 1970
    I really wanted to like this one - it started out strong and the culture and history of the Azores was very interesting. I just could not get on board with Marcum's writing style - the jumping back and forth in narrative was really confusing and I found myself skimming the pages and then just didn't finish it. The Azores are a very compelling topic but I think a more linear writing style may have worked better?
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  • Brian Stankich
    January 1, 1970
    Humor, History and HeartI liked Diana's humor, historical research and her example of being able to connect with all kinds of people. Her writing style is playful and she obviously has a big heart.
  • Allison
    January 1, 1970
    Loved it! Very engrossing, laugh-out-loud in places.
  • Christina
    January 1, 1970
    Outstanding workThis book is rich and delicious. It makes me want to visit the Azores like the brilliant author. I love how she writes with compassion for those around her and an excellent eye for detail.
  • Jm
    January 1, 1970
    This was a fast read. There is no plot, rather a voyage of self discovery, with vignettes from two geographically different, yet connected places and people. The experiences are from real life and are gentle, filled with humour, and are relatable. I found this to be an excelelnt summer read. As someone who has driven up and down the Central Valley, faced the drought, fire, and water crises in California, and also traveled across the Atlantic in search of Whatever, I enjoyed reading someone else' This was a fast read. There is no plot, rather a voyage of self discovery, with vignettes from two geographically different, yet connected places and people. The experiences are from real life and are gentle, filled with humour, and are relatable. I found this to be an excelelnt summer read. As someone who has driven up and down the Central Valley, faced the drought, fire, and water crises in California, and also traveled across the Atlantic in search of Whatever, I enjoyed reading someone else's version.
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  • John Tingley
    January 1, 1970
    Felt like I was there!Loved the stories and all the facts, humor and warmth embedded in them. Makes me want to travel to the Azores!
  • Kat
    January 1, 1970
    I'm the grandchild of Portuguese immigrants from the Azores, so this was a charming read for me. She captured saudade well. I appreciated that this was partially a travel memoir, but didn't feel like just another self-exploration tale in the string of post Eat, Pray, Love novels. The author's personal experiences and specific appreciation for Portuguese culture enhanced her ability to tell stories of the Azores alongside her own.
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  • Teri Valdez
    January 1, 1970
    Beautiful Placei really enjoyed this story and learning so much about a place i never knew existed. The authors words helped me understand how she feels about this place and makes me want to visit.
  • Jean Gordon
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't expect to enjoy this as much as I did. I think it was the characters that drew me in as well as the interesting descriptions of another ethnicity's traditions and transitions.
  • LeeAnn Greer
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you for this book. It brought the Azores to life for me, I want to visit. I had a employee for 27 years ago, from the Azores, and she told wonderful stories. This book added to the lovely warm feelings.
  • Gavin R. Laboski
    January 1, 1970
    Wonderful and fun readIf you have ever fallen in love with a place, this book understands and articulates that feeling. If you have never done so, you may want to after reading this.
  • Beverly B Sloan
    January 1, 1970
    An Island DreamThis story allows you to imagine yourself on an island where people work hard, play hard and truly enjoy family and life. Especially their roots! I felt like I was there and found it a delightful read.
  • Sheket
    January 1, 1970
    This was a great summer read. I liked Diana's writing style very much. Particularly enjoyed the people development that she did, as it makes the characters very familiar feeling -knowable and likable!
  • Betsy Hensley Smothers
    January 1, 1970
    An easy read. I felt like I too was a friend with each character. I enjoyed the narrative biography of Ms. Marcum. The description of the places visited were vividly described. I'd like to visit the Azores one day.
  • Philip Davies
    January 1, 1970
    Very much enjoyed this gentle book. Too me back to my own visits to the Azores in the mid-nineties. Captures the culture extremely well, the author's heart is certainly in the writing. If you intend to visit the Azores, or have been there, then I really have to recommend you read this.
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    Thank DianaI very much enjoyed this book.My father's side of the family is from the Azores.They ended up in Hawaii in 1880, working in the sugar industry.Thanks for including part of the history of the Azores islands.
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