Five Recommended Expat ‘How-To’ Books

Book Reviews 'How To'


Expat Book Reviews: Five of the Best… ‘How-To’ Books

By Jo Parfitt

In this section of Global Living magazine, we feature five examples of good books in a specific genre. This issue we focus on ‘how-to’ books. Expatriates often turn to ‘how-to’ books to help them solve a problem. Books on subjects such as buying property, understanding your expat children or coping with culture shock could all fall into this category. Here I share reviews of five books that you may not have heard about but that do a great job of answering some key questions – questions you may not even realize you had. If you would like to suggest books for review in this section, please contact: Jo@summertimepublishing.com.

Expat Teens Talk (Dr. Lisa Pittman & Diana Smit | Summertime Publishing; 202 pages, $19.35)

Helping the voice of a seldom-considered victim of the expat lifestyle – the teenager – to be heard, Pittman and Smit are both experts in their field. Pittman is a psychologist and Smit an educationalist. This one-of-a-kind book explores the genuine stories of expat teenagers around the world, and provides advice on common dilemmas that traveling teens often face, such as coping with alcohol, isolation, bereavement and the divorce of their parents. The authors use real-life questions and then proceed to share the responses of peers, parents, teachers and counselors. The reader is then invited to make up his or her own mind. A useful read for teens themselves and their long-suffering parents. No school or expat home’s bookshelf should be without it. Great to chomp on a morsel or two occasionally or consume in one absorbing bite, this book teaches teens how to draw on the positive aspects of being a Third Culture Kid in order to get the most from their amazing adventures abroad and grow up to be well-rounded, secure adults. Reviewer: Laura Dunbar (expat teen)

Buying Property in Portugal (Gabrielle Collison | Summertime Publishing; 212 pages, $18)

Collison manages to write an instructive manual on property buying in the popular European country of Portugal. It’s a very practical guide, well thought out and insightful. Collison provides an accessible, step-by-step approach to a complicated process and adds to it her personal account of the pitfalls that she encountered herself. The checklists are of top importance and her research appears to be very comprehensive. Even if I were not planning to move to Portugal, I would read this book in order to be enlightened about the property purchasing minefield. It certainly opened my eyes. Collison is a talented writer who makes complicated matters look easy. Reviewer: Niamh Ni Bhroin (author of The Singing Warrior)

Buy Spanish Property and Move to Spain – Safely (Nick Snelling | Summertime Publishing; 328 pages, $22.59)

Planning to buy a home in Spain? Nick Snelling has useful information to offer prospective buyers, not only on acquiring property in Spain but also on local lifestyle, health and education. Readers will be so well-informed that their move will have a very good chance of being for the long term. Snelling has an indomitable spirit and asks tough questions for you, such as: “Why do I want to relocate? Will it improve the overall quality of my life significantly?” Along the way he explains all the pertinent Spanish terms too, which is invaluable. Snelling loves his own life in Valencia with his family and he understands Spanish real estate, culture and bureaucracy. He shares his knowledge regularly on the website CultureSpain.com and has written a number of books and articles on related subjects, so if you are serious about moving to Spain, his work is worth checking out. Reviewer: Laura Dunbar

How To Be A Global Grandparent: Living with the Separation (Peter Gosling & Anne Huscroft | Zodiac Publishing; 140 pages, $12.99)

The authors are, respectively, a global grandparent and a global parent and know first-hand what it feels like to be separated from family by an ocean. First published in 2009, this helpful book is an essential read for any grandparent wishing to stay in touch with family abroad, sharing personal anecdotes from the authors’ own experiences alongside invaluable nuggets of information. There’s advice on everything from visiting your grandchildren overseas to receiving them in your home, followed by a step-by-step, easy-to-use guide on the Internet and even how to get the most out of telephone conversations. This book will enrich the lives of many a forlorn grandma and grandpa. Reviewer: Laura Dunbar

Subtle Differences, Big Faux Pas (Elizabeth Vennekens-Kelly | Summertime Publishing; 382 pages, $16.29)

As someone who comes from a mixed background and has lived and worked in different countries, I thought I knew a fair bit about cross-cultural communication. Reading Subtle Differences, Big Faux Pas made me realize that there is always more to be learned about this topic. Elizabeth Vennekens-Kelly, an American married to a German and living in Belgium, provides a manual about cross-cultural communication. She presents a wealth of useful information in a light-hearted and entertaining manner. In fact, each chapter ends with a fun quiz to test your knowledge on the subject. This book explains that what is acceptable in one culture can be offensive in another, and vice versa. Its fun anecdotes make it an engaging read. Reviewer: Rawia Liverpool

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