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review 2017-04-30 21:35
OTT, but Uber Cool!
Iceberg - Clive Cussler

There was a time when Dirk Pitt was one of my favourite fictional heroes and Clive Cussler the master at placing his creation in the most intriguing of plot-lines. Who can forget, "Raise the Titanic" (1976), which brought the world's attention to the 'National Underwater & Marine Agency' (NUMA), led by the phlegmatic Admiral Sandecker and his resourceful, but unruly director of operations. The echoes of James Bond are unmistakable, yet the brand of Dirk Pitt novels has also been synonymous with raucous adventure, just without the accompanying blockbuster movie franchise (a couple of spin-off movies have not remotely done justice to the original Cussler books). Not that comparative failure at the box office should diminish the written word, wherein the author has retained a solid readership.In fact, "Iceberg" (1975) preceded Mr Cussler's seminal novel and clearly Dirk Pitt and his crew received further polish, but the familiar format is established here.

 

Based on an unlikely, though plausibly fascinating premise, Cussler nurtures the reader's curiosity, suspends incredulity and weaves a spectacular tale of against-the-odds triumph of good over evil. The Bond-esque one-liners, the steely-eyed propensity for violence, Pitt's gritty good looks and predictable womanizing gives a rather dated feel to the macho hero. Still, the OTT, unreal nature of the characters and the plot are perhaps just necessary components of the genre's worship of unadulterated escapism. Whatever the flaws, it's a fast-moving yarn that in the past might have been described as 'swashbuckling' and the protagonists get the appropriate comeuppance!

 

Sadly the thrill I experienced following Dirk Pitt as a teenage reader, isn't so vivid today, but perhaps, just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, emotional grip is very much in the mind of the reader. Unlike DP, I have got older!

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text 2015-05-08 19:51
New To My TBR
Pretty Baby - Mary Kubica
Under the Udala Trees - Chinelo Okparanta
Chasing River - K.A. Tucker
China Rich Girlfriend: A Novel - Kevin Kwan
Street Poison: The Biography of Iceberg Slim - Justin Gifford
The Marriage of Opposites - Alice Hoffman
The Color of our Sky - Amita Trasi

Super excited about the new titles added to my tbr. Here I'm showing a few that I want to read asap. I chose two  genres that I rarely read, thrillers and new adult. Oh yeah, I have a biography. I don't think I've ever read a biography. I'm trying to branch out just a bit ensuring that the subject matter really interest me. 

 

You all already know I love books set in other countries. I will be in China, Bombay and Nigeria. I enjoy being swept away to different locations. I've been fascinated by asian culture and traditions for quite sometime and am excited to read Kevin Kwan's books. In The Color of Our Sky there's a 10 year old girl who has escaped prostitution to only be kidnapped years later. I knew this was a must read for me.

 

Now comes the hard part, reading faster, prioritizing and staying the course.

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review 2014-06-30 13:15
The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor
The Girl Who Came Home: A Novel of the Titanic - Hazel Gaynor

Let me begin by saying that I’ve read quite a lot of books and articles on Titanic. I’ve seen ‘the’ movie several times and watched various documentaries. I’m always on the lookout for something new or different. I liked that this book was presented from the perspective of a third-class steerage passenger.

 

We meet seventeen year old Maggie Murphy who is about to embark on her journey to America on Titanic. She doesn’t want to leave Ballysheen (her home village) and her boyfriend Seamus. But when her mother passes and her Aunt Kathleen comes from America to collect her, Maggie has no say in the matter. She and her aunt, along with twelve other folk from Ballysheen, decide to travel together. Maggie’s friend, the outspoken Peggy Marden, is ready to leave. She dreams of marrying a rich American man and living in a fancy mansion.

 

The story then switches us to Chicago in 1982 and we meet Grace Butler, a journalism student who sets aside her studies when her father passes so that she can stay home with her mother who is in a deep state of depression. After watching her great-granddaughter give so much of her self to her family, an 87 year-old Maggie decides to open up about that fateful voyage on Titanic. It is Maggie’s story that helps Grace get on with her own life, take up her studies once more and reunite with her own boyfriend whom she hasn’t seen in over two years.

 

Maggie’s story is moving, especially since her emotions embody those of her fellow travelers. Her realization that she should have stayed in Ballysheen with Seamus are reinforced as Titanic moves further away from Ireland. With her great-granddaughter’s help she rediscovers her small travel case that contains two parting gifts from Seamus as well as her journal. Happily Grace writes the story of Maggie’s journey on Titanic and it is printed in a prestigious newspaper. It is that article that reunites Maggie with people and artifacts that she thought she had lost long ago.

 

Although I liked this book overall there were too many similarities to the movie that starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet: the narrator was an original Titanic survivor, an old woman; there were scenes that could have been lifted in their entirety from the movie, i.e., the lowering of the lifeboats; and I won’t give any spoilers but the ending of the story was quite similar to the end of the movie (other than the ship sinking). Because the story has become over-told I suppose that all of these scenes could overlap in the various re-tellings. I did like the detail behind the New Yorkers who waited for word of their loved ones and the hospital scenes with young Maggie.

If you are fascinated by the Titanic story, you’ll like this book. Worth reading for the differing point of view and the story of the folk from Ballysheen which is based on the true story of the Irish folk who made the journey.

 

 

Source: marionmarchetto.com/wp/book-review-the-girl-who-came-home-a-novel-of-the-titanic-by-hazel-gaynor
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review 2013-06-03 00:00
Lulie the Iceberg
Lulie the Iceberg - Hisako Takamado Huh. Beautiful illustrations, but the story was a bit, well, I don't know, odd, maybe. The story felt incomplete, too. The ending just dropped, and I'm not quite sure what we were supposed to take away from this book. My niece liked the story, and both she and my nephew stuck with it, even though it was a little long. I guess my sister and I were less than impressed with this one, but the kids seemed to think there was something to this story.
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review 2013-05-28 00:00
Iceberg - Clive Cussler I don't think this story was as good as Cussler's others. As much as I like Dirk Pitt, I just didn't get a connection with him this time. Maybe it was just too violent though violence doesn't usually set me off. Also, Cussler's portrayal of women is just terrible. Without checking the publication date, I would have said this was written in the 70s (2004 to be exact!). Cussler dumps a little bit of everything into this one, homophobia, racism, degrading woman, heck even a transsexual. Honestly this wasn't a book I would recommend to anyone.


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