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Sunday, October 14. 2018
I have always loved them. I love ships and boats, and even canoes and kayaks. Some of my life-long favorites off the top of my head:
I learned from O'Brian that the original use of the term "skyscraper" applied to topgallant masts which reached up to catch the highest breezes. What is a mast and what is a spar? You can figure it out yourself.
Whether true stories of fiction, the sea is a dramatic setting for tales. What are your favorite sea stories?
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:09 | Comments (30) | Trackbacks (0)
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Oh God, Moby Dick. A few years ago I decided I had to do more "great books" reading. I started with Moby Dick. By the end I was rooting fervently for the whale. What a torturous plod that "classic" was.
As a young boy I loved reading Howard Pease sea adventure stories. Great stuff.
From a 1939 newspaper tidbit posting
Classic: Any famous work that nobody would publish or read if it was written last month
Joseph Conrad's novels should get a mention. English was his 3rd language.
The Hungry Ocean by Linda Greenlaw
Later chapters in the book of Acts
The Hornblower series. Page turners every one, and a wealth of knowledge about sailing ships. Pretty good history books as well.
My favorite library books, once I graduated from Red Fish, Blue Fish. Hornblower rules the waves.
"Endurance - Shackleton's Incredible Voyage" by Alfred Lansing
"The Voyage of American Promise" by my late friend, Dodge Morgan, who held the record for the fastest solo circumnavigation ever made at 150 days... that record has since been shattered, but it's a great read, and there's a video kicking around that accompanies the book...
The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition, Caroline Alexander (there are other versions too). The endgame, navigation to the South Georgia Islands is something else.
Island of the Lost, more shipwreck survivor than sailing
Not sure of the title, but there is a book on the sinking and rescue of the S-5 submarine. It is excellent, with the following legendary exchange:
"Hell by compass."
Sailing races gone wrong, both excellent:
The Proving Ground, Bruce Knight
Fastnet Force 10, Rousmaniere
Hunt for Red October, great book. Clancy invented a genre with this.
Treasure Island - I had to put this on the list.
In addition to what you listed, I also liked the Hornblower series and nearly everything C.S. Forester has written.
For a more modern look at naval antisubmarine warfare during WWII, you can't go wrong with Forester's "The Good Shepherd" or "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat.
"The Cain Mutiny" by Herman Wouk is also a good read.
"The Cruel Sea" and "The Cain Mutiny" were made into pretty good movies back in the 50's. "The Cain Mutiny", of course, starred Humphrey Bogart as the infamous Captain Queeg.
We have enjoyed the Alan Lewrie series by Dewey Lambdin. A little raunchier than some of the earlier series, but enjoyable none the less. It starts during the American Revolution from the Brits’ point of view and goes on from there. Several good romps.
Not books as much as music. Sea song artists like "Schooner Fare", and Stan Rogers, and "Cry Cry Cry".
I'll add: "Grey Seas Under", about a North Atlantic salvage tug
I can't remember the name of the book, but it was the same story of the German Raider that the movie, 'Under Ten Flags' (1960) was based. Very good story about managing a crew at sea for was in one or two years.
I didn't like that story though I wanted to initially. I had high hopes. But, much like the protagonist, the tide rose. I might change my mind if this sentence can be deciphered.
"Almost the fisherman, waiting out infinity, envied him his pattern." Speaking of the dog.
I'm very fond of the story, but cannot for a minute defend (much less decipher) ...
"Almost the fisherman, waiting out infinity, envied him his pattern."
Had to read it in middle school, and was really captivated by the ending.
Lots of great sea stories--one of the best is 'The Caine Mutiny', which I reviewed here:
A very interesting sea story, this one a narrative of real events rather than a novel, is the memoir of Captain Georg von Trapp, best known as 'The Captain" in 'The Sound of Music'---he commanded an Austrian submarine in the First World War. Reviewed here:
MS Found in a Bottle by Poe. Although it takes place on a ship I'm not really sure that it's a sea story. Great story either way.
Tinkerbelle by Robert Manry is a good one. A 13 foot boat sailed acroos the Atlantic solo.
Another good one is Gipsy Moth Circles the World by Sir Frances Chichester. Solo circumnavigation
Have to say the "Two Years Before the Mast" is an all-time favorite. Not only for the seafaring parts but the look at the Californios before the arrival of the 49ers.
I'd have to add to your list the Mutiny of the Bounty trilogy, especially the middle volume where Bligh takes his loyal crew in a small, open boat from near Tahiti to Jakarta.
Captain's Courageous -- a one-off, but by Kiplilng, so terrific.
Ah yes. The Aubrey-Maturin series... I believe them to be the best books written, not just SOME OF, but THE. Like you, I am drawn to the sea and all things nautical. I live on my catamaran part of the year, and will be moving aboard full time within this year, if all goes to plan. I have read the entire series at least 10 times now. I also have them on disc - I bought them all - read by, possibly the greatest voice actor of all time, Patrick Tull. These may still be available through Border's Audio, and they are well worth buying, even if the price is steep.
Ken Ringle wrote the best reviews of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey Maturin series, a small sample I will quote here:
"...Don't great works of literature concern themselves ultimately with great themes?
Well, yes. But what are they? When you come right down to it, there are only six: Man vs. God or Fate, Man vs. Nature, Man vs. Woman, Man vs. Man, Man vs. Society, and Man vs. Himself. Let me repeat that: Man vs. God, Man vs. Nature. Man vs. Woman. Man vs. Man, Man vs. Society, and Man vs. Himself. That's really it. All great literary themes boil down to those six. I encourage you as you read and enjoy the works of Patrick O'Brian to notice how skillfully and how profoundly he explores not just one of those themes, but every one. Every one in every book."
The full review is here, and it is well worth reading. You will recall that Captain Aubrey's tender was named Ringle - after Ken Ringle.
Superlatives runneth over, but they are all well deserved.
Knox Johnston 'A World of My Own'
Spray, by Joshua Slocum. Retired fisherman solo pilots a second hand 39 foot oyster dredger around the world
Can’t remember the dates but he had to worry about cannibal passing thru Tierra del Fuego