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review 2022-01-21 05:34
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
Moby Dick - Herman Melville, Charles Child Walcutt (Editor)

Captain Ahab seeks revenge on Moby-Dick who bit off his one leg

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This was not as bad as I expected it to be. I liked parts of it. I was bored with other parts. I also read the commentary that was included after the story was over. My edition is 670 pages.

 

Moby-Dick is three books in one. The first book is the story of the Pequod, its crew, Captain Ahab, and the search for the Whale. I liked this part the best. I liked Ismael and Queequeg are quite a pair.  Most of the humor come through them.

 

The second book is the information on whaling. That was mostly interesting.

 

The last part is the philosophy that Melville put in the book. Some of it was interesting (chapter 42--The Whiteness of the Whale) but most of it went over my head so was boring.

 

The commentary at the back of the book was mostly boring. I did like modern day criticism of D. H. Lawrence (from 1964). It goes with chapter 42 and is extremely timely for now.

I was glad I read it, but I doubt I will reread it.

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review 2022-01-03 16:22
Titanic. Destination Disaster. The Legends and the Reality
Titanic. Destination Disaster. The Legends and the Reality - Charles A. Haas,John P. Eaton

Na przestrzeni dekad dziewiczy rejs liniowca Titanic stał się przedmiotem wielu dyskusji, sporów ale też fascynacji wielu ludzi. W książce "Titanic Destination. The Legends and the Reality" autorzy podejmują próbę odpowiedzi na wiele pytań związanych z katastrofą. Czy można było jej uniknąć? Czy zawinił ludzki błąd, czy może od początku musiało się zdarzyć to, co nieuchronne, a Titanic miał nigdy nie dopłynąć do Nowego Jorku, gdyż takie było jego przeznaczenie?

 

W książce mamy obraz katastrofy widziany między innymi oczami dzieci, które przyglądały się agonii statku z perspektywy szalup oraz tych, którzy ocaleli. Przeczytamy o orkiestrze grającej do końca i spekulacjach co do tytułu ostatniego zagranego utworu, ale przede wszystkim przyjrzymy się tym najbardziej wstrząsającym relacjom, opisującym tragedię krok po kroku: od chwil na niedługo przed uderzeniem w górę lodową, przez moment kolizji i wydarzenia następujące po nim, aż po zatonięcie rufy Titanica.

 

W kolejnych rozdziałach dowiemy się jak inne statki (w tym Carpathia) dowiedziały się o katastrofie i kiedy rozpoczęła się akcja ratunkowa. Przeczytamy o historii Harland & Wolff oraz krótko o innych statkach z linii White Star Line, o budowie Titanica i bliźniaczego Olympica; zwodowaniu Titanica i pierwszym kursie do portu Southampton, z którego miał on wypłynąć 10 kwietnia 1912 roku w swój pierwszy i zarazem ostatni rejs.

 

Przyglądamy się też prominentnym pasażerom statku, takim jak między innymi: John Jacob Astor z małżonką, małżeństwo Duff-Gordon, czy też Benjamin Guggenheim, Molly Brown...

 

Końcowe rozdziały książki przedstawiają przebieg wielu obrad, procesów dotyczących katastrofy, mających na celu dochodzenie jak doszło do zderzenia z górą lodową oraz znalezienie osób winnych tragedii. Ostatni rozdział dotyczy odkrycia wraku Titanica oraz przedmiotów, które wraz z nim zatonęły. Autorzy zastanawiają się tu: czy eksplorowanie wraku jest naruszeniem spokoju zmarłych oraz gdzie jest granica pomiędzy pasją i chęcią historycznych odkryć, a byciem "hieną cmentarną"?

 

W książce zamieszczono sporo czarno-białych fotografii oraz parę kolorowych zdjęć. Dzięki nim czytelnik może lepiej przyjrzeć się na przykład opisywanym postaciom lub miejscom, o których jest mowa w tekście (między innymi port Southampton, port Cherbourg). Fotografie wraku, artefaktów i pamiątek po Titanicu potęgują odbiór książki.

 

Na końcu książki mamy cztery dodatki, dzięki którym można porównać parametry Titanica, Mauretanii oraz statku United States, obejrzeć fotografie pomników i miejsc stworzonych dla upamiętnienia tragedii i pasażerów, którzy odeszli na dno razem ze statkiem, kalendarium oraz przebieg tragedii "dzień po dniu", "godzina po godzinie" oraz położenie statku w chwili tonięcia i obecne położenie wraku.

 

Książka jest interesująca, polecam zwłaszcza miłośnikom tematu. Warto się z nią zapoznać. Jest ona wydana także w Polsce pod tytułem: "Titanic. Nieuchronna katastrofa. Legendy i rzeczywistość", Wydawnictwo: Gord, 1998 rok.

 

Opinia opublikowana na moim blogu:

https://literackiepodrozebooki.blogspot.com/2022/01/titanic-destination-disaster-legends.html

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review 2021-10-30 01:23
ALL ABOUT TOADS AND FROGS: A KIDS INTRODUCTION TO FROGS AND TOADS--FUN FACTS AND PICTURES OF THE WORLD'S COOLEST AMPHIBIANS! by Susan G. Charles
All About Frogs and Toads, A Kids Introduction to Frogs and Toads - Fun Facts & Pictures About the Worlds Coolest Amphibians! - Susan G. Charles

I learned a lot about frogs and some about toads.  I now know the difference between them.  I liked how the book was divided into sections so that I got the cycles they live through.  I liked that pictures were provided but I would have liked to see a photograph of the frog or toad that was being spoken about above or below the information not just random frogs.  I liked the illustration of the poison dart frogs.  I wish they would have been named.  They were colorful and I had to guess which one was the yellow banded poison dart frog.  But I did enjoy the information.  This is a good overview for your 4-8 year old. 

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review 2021-08-08 04:06
UNFIT TO PRINT by KJ Charles
Unfit to Print - K.J. Charles

Gil has been requested to come to his half-brother's funeral. He refuses until asked by his cousin Percy who shows him his half-brother's book and photography collection then asks him to dispose of it of which Gil can have any money he makes from it. He strikes a deal with Percy and then, with Percy's help, loads it and takes it back to his bookstore. Meanwhile a family asks Vikmar, a solicitor and Gil's old friend who thinks Gil is dead, to look for their 16-year-old son. Vik comes knocking at Gil's door and is shocked to find Gil alive and well. Resentment is brought out as they reacquaint themselves with each other. Old feelings are also brought up. The two men band together to find the boy as well as a few other things. Will they find the boy? Will they solve their differences and pasts? Will this bring them together or apart?

 

I liked this story. I liked the historical element of it where people's behavior and actions can put them in jail. From the little I have read from that time period she gets it right when it came to unfit to print books, photographs, and book stores. I appreciated how Gil points out, how on the bench, a judge takes the moral high ground while he comes to Gil for his fix of books. Hypocrisy has been around a long time and few are immune regardless of station or class. I felt it was important the Vikram points out to Gil about the exploitations of those poorer than the upper classes and how they are used and abandoned and forgotten. I really enjoyed the scene when we meet Vikram.

 

This book and characters captured this era very well. Once Gil realizes the importance of the exploitation in his life and in Vikram's client's lives, he changes his mind and helps Vikram. He also does a lot of thinking about how he and Vikram can be together. He makes a lot of major decisions. I look forward to more books by K. J. Charles.

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review 2020-07-29 18:04
A Cold War thriller devoid of thrills
Show Of Force - Charles D. Taylor

When I was growing up, my local library was one of my favorite haunts. It was by walking through their stacks and perusing their displays that I came across many of the books that I would take home to enjoy. One of these was Charles D. Taylor’s novel. Before Tom Clancy made his millions churning out tales of Cold War-era conflicts between the superpowers, Taylor published his tale about a battle between American and Soviet armadas in the Indian Ocean. I can still remember how I was drawn to the stark minimalism of the dustjacket, and how eagerly I devoured the description of the battles that waged between the opposing vessels. Recently I encountered a paperback copy of the book at a used bookstore, and seeing the book again brought all those memories of reading it flooding back, inspiring me to reread it to see how well it well it has held up.

 

What stands out most today are the very elements I avoided when I first read it. More interested in the naval battle than I was in the characters, I skipped over Taylor’s development of the novel’s two central figures. Though commanding forces on opposing sides, the two men, David Charles and Alex Kupinsky, are both portrayed as honorable men who over the course of their careers develop a strong friendship towards one another. Taylor first matches them up against each other during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the two young lieutenants find themselves on ships facing off against one another in the blockade. They meet face-to-face over a decade later while stationed as naval attaches in London, by which time they have gone on to further distinction in their respective careers.

 

All of this is meant to add a layer of tragedy to the battle that the author situates at the heart of his novel. Yet for all of his effort Taylor fails to develop his two main characters beyond this. Instead they become little more than archetypes of great naval officers – smart, dedicated, brave, and patriotic leaders of men. Even the log entries and letters that Taylor inserts between the chapters don’t do a lot to differentiate them or flesh them out beyond the roles they perform. And these two represent Taylor’s most sustained effort to develop any of the characters in his book, as the rest are often little more than names or even just titles inserted to play supporting roles.

 

This matters when it comes to the action. It was here where the contrast with someone like Tom Clancy stood out for me; by developing his characters to the degree that he does, Clancy used them effectively to convey the emotional impact of the action in his books. By contrast, the action in Taylor’s novel comes across more as zapping targets in a video game, with little real emotional impact conveyed in the description of the thousands of men dying as a result of the battle. It all feels incredibly hollow and pointless, an excuse for writing up what amounts to a paper exercise hypothesizing what a 1980s naval battle might look like. The artificiality of the premise and the conditions only underscores this, as it’s all so Taylor can have his ships pounding each other to smithereens.

 

In retrospect, its easy to see why novels such as Taylor’s are not regarded as great literature. For all of the enthusiasm their authors bring to writing them, by prioritizing the action over the characters they leave out what it takes to make for truly gripping fiction. The result is little more than a series of descriptions of imagined battles that in this book are conveyed with all the enthusiasm and punch of the rattling off of a list of ships’ names in a column. It makes me realize just how much my appreciation of the book is tied up with nostalgia for my naïve youth, and how in the end this caused me to remember this book with more fondness than it deserves for its merits.

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