January 12, 2005

Master And Commander

I don't remember if I've written about my reading yet but Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander lies before me now. It's cheesy, movie-inspired cover mutely reproaching me as I type these words. I know I have to finish it (I don't, really, but I do have to sincerely try). It's just so... tedious. I've never read adventure fiction as bogged down in its own pretention. Ok, Napoleonic War, a bunch of naval talk, I've always liked pirate books but this is just too much. I am reminded of how I saw Mutiny On The Bounty (Mel Gibson's) and thought 'Wow, what a story' and then I wanted to read the book. If you haven't read it I advise that the last half of the book was the trial and contained more British Naval Law than any person should read if they are not in the British Navy. I didn't see the movie in the case of Master And Commander but I've heard the books talked up so much I thought I'd give them a try. I intended to get the first three but the second on was checked out so I just got the first. I'm so relieved. A big stack of books I don't want to read would really depress me.
Especially since farther down in the stack is Years Of Rice And Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson. This is a book I wholeheartedly recommend. I give it my highest approval. I probably read 300 novels a year and this is one of only two books that stand out as timeless classics. If you haven't read it, do. I'm saving it for last to reward me for my virtue finishing Master and Commander, or to console me after my surrender.

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