Gurkha: Better to Die than Live a Coward

READ THE WORLD – Nepal: Gurkha: Better to Die than Live a Coward by Colour Sergeant Kailash Limbu

A memoir from Colour Sergeant Kailash Limbu on his time in the army, the tough training he went through to become a Gurkha, and what it was like during the thirty one day siege in the town of Now Zad in Helmand, Afghanistan during the summer of 2008.

I hadn’t really heard of the Gurkha’s much, not until when actress and comedian Joanna Lumley became the public face of the campaign to provide all Gurkha veterans who served in the British Army before 1997 the right to settle in Britain, in 2008. This led me to learning more about the Gurkha’s and I was fascinated by how determined and fearless they were.

Colour Sergeant Kailash Limbu’s story definitely puts across what the mentality of the Nepalese soldiers who become Gurkha’s is like. Only a handful who apply each year actually make it through the three stages of the tough selection process to become Gurkha’s and join the British Army. He recounts the things he went through in training and how being a Gurkha, like his grandfather and uncle, was all he ever wanted to be.

The book almost seamlessly goes between Kailash Limbu’s childhood and training to what was happening during the siege in Now Zad at regular intervals. This means that while the parts on the Gurkha selection are no less interesting, they are slower paced compared to the action in Afghanistan. I thought it explained military terminology very well, along with things like Nepal’s caste system. There’s a lot of information to take in really but it’s all pretty easy to understand.

The sections on the siege are tense and compelling. It does a great job of putting you right into the action and how relentless the attacks on the small compound the Gurkha’s were based in. You get to know the men Kailash Limbu fought with and how they do all get scared sometimes but they fight through it and do the job that needs doing.

Gurkha: Better to Die than Live a Coward is a great memoir. It is interesting and exciting and is a great insight into what it means to someone to be a Gurkha and why they are so revered in the military. 4/5.

My BookTubeAThon TBR

The BookTubeAThon starts next week! The BookTubeAThon is a readathon that was the brainchild of Ariel Bissett over on YouTube. While it’s a readathon that focusses on the BookTube community and there’s many video-related challenges, you can take part whether you make booktube videos or not. There’s even Instagram challenges during the readathon if bookstagram is more your thing. You can learn more about the BookTubeAThon here.

BookTubeAThon is from midnight wherever in the world you are on Monday 24th July till 11:59pm on Sunday 30th July. This actually works out quite well for me as I am at my dad’s in Spain from the 27th July, and at my dad’s I always get a lot of reading done. Also, you can read anything during the BookTubeAThon – novels, audiobooks, comics, graphic novels, non-fiction, poetry, short stories – ANYTHING!

During the BookTubeAThon there are seven reading challenges you can attempt to complete (you can use a book for more than one challenge and the challenges are in no way compulsory) and here they are:

1. Read a book with a person on the cover.
2. Read a hyped book.
3. Finish a book in one day.
4. Read about a character that is very different from you.
5. Finish a book completely outdoors.
6. Read a book you bought because of the cover.
7. Read seven books.

Here’s my TBR and theoretically I’ll be able to complete all these challenges with it:

For both the “Read a book with a person on the cover” and the “finish a book in one day” challenge I have multiple comics/graphic novels. The ones I’ve chosen are Saga Volume Six and Seven by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples, Kaptara Vol. 1: Fear Not, Tiny Alien by Chip Zdarsky and Kagan McLeod and Filmish by Edward Ross. For the “Hyped Book” challenge, I have The Unexpected Everything by Morgan, which coincidentally also works for the “Person on the cover” challenge.

For the “book you bought because of the cover” challenge I have Sirius by Jonathan Crown and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by David Shafer. Gurkha: Better to Die than Live a Coward by Colour Sergeant Kailash Limbu fits the “read about a character that’s very different to you”. This is a non-fiction book but it’s the story of a solider of the Brigade of Gurkhas and I have never been in the army and I don’t really know anything about Gurkhas.

While I’m not sure which book(s) I’ll read outside, I know I will read outside while at my dad’s as I have a spot by the pool in the shade that I always read in. Also, I have eight books on my TBR so theoretically I should be able to read seven of them books during the readathon.

Is anyone else taking part in the BookTubeAThon? Whether you take part or not, I highly recommend checking out the readathon’s discount page here – you can get 10% off all the books listed there with the code “BTAT2017”. I’ve already taken advantage of it – I’ve decided from August I’m going on a book buying ban for at least two months so I’m making the most of it right now!

My #AroundTheWorldAThon TBR

Thanks to the Readathon News Twitter account (a great place to learn about different readathons happening each month) I heard about the Around The World-AThon readathon. The aim of this readathon is to read books that are either set in certain countries or the authors are from those countries and it’s the perfect thing to give me a push with my own Read the World Project.

The Around The World-AThon is hosted by Aprilius Maximus and Melbourne on my Mind and it runs from midnight wherever you are on Monday 15th May till 11:59pm on Sunday 21st May. There’s just two challenges for this readathon:
1. Read a book set within the set countries
2. Read a book by an author from an area within set countries

And the set Countries/Territories are: China, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Nepal, Bhutan, Mongolia, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

This is great for me as I haven’t read any books in these countries yet for the Read the World Project and while I don’t have a potential book for every country I’ve got a few to choose from.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami would fit for Japan, both as it’s set within the country and the author’s Japanese. I bought this book at least a year ago and I think I mainly picked it up because I liked the cover and the title was quite eye-catching.

The Fat Years by Chan Koonchung is a good book for China. I picked this up on the London Bookshop Crawl earlier this year and it sounds like it’s right up my street. It’s a kind of dystopian look at China with political commentary as well as humour.

The Accusation: Forbidden Stories From Inside North Korea by Bandi is a series of short stories about life in North Korea by a North Korean writer who smuggled the stories out of the country. I’ve heard amazing things about this book and while North Korea is often the butt of the West’s jokes, there’s still people living there in trouble.

Gurkha: Better to Die than Live a Coward: My Life in the Gurkhas by Colour-Sergeant Kailash Limbu would work for Nepal. I’ve been interested in the Gurkha’s and their history with the British army for a while now so when I discovered this autobiography I knew I had to read it.

So those are my four possible reads for the readathon. As usual, as long as I read one of them during the week I’ll be happy. That being said, with one of the books being a short story collection I might manage to make it two books read this readathon.

Anyone else going to be joining in the Around The World-AThon?