Monday, June 16, 2014

This week: Strife at Sea

This has been a productive week in fiction, of the short kind at least.  On Saturday afternoon I finished Power, Inc,  and that's another one down from the to-be-read-list.  That list has altered a touch; I was using the wrong title for a Frans de Waal book I own. (In honesty, all of his hey-look-chimpanzees-have-moral-instincts-too books are blending together for me.) Reviews or comments for both Power, Inc and The World Until Yesterday will follow this week. What's next? The Great War at sea, that's what.   I've also got my annual Fourth of July reading all lined up, so the TBR challenge may get put on pause for a few weeks while I dive into the American Revolution.

All these, however, were mere terrors of the night, phantoms of the mind that walk in darkness; and though he had seen many spectres in his time and had been more than once beset by Satan in divers shapes, in his lonely perambulations, yet daylight put an end to all these evils; and he would have passed a pleasant life of it, despite of the devil and his works, if his path had not been crossed by a being that causes more perplexity to mortal man than ghosts, goblins, and the whole race of witches put together, and that was -- a woman.

p. 14, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

The Cressey was sinking fast, like a heavy oil drum which had been split in target practice. 'She carried far over', Wedigen continued, 'but all the while her men stayed at the guns, looking for their invisible foe. They were brave and true to their country's sea traditions.

p. 54, The Great War at Sea, A.A. Hoehling

"We do not want the world any longer furred over with organic life, like what you call the blue mould -- all sprouting and budding and breeding and decaying. We must be rid of it. By little and little, of course. Slowly we learn how. Learn to make our brains live with less and less body; learn to build our bodies directly with chemicals, no longer have to stuff them full of dead brutes and weeds. Learn how to reproduce ourselves without copulation."
"I don't think that would be much fun," said Winter.

p. 173, That Hideous Strength, C.S. Lewis

To Be Read Takedown Challenge
Antifragile, Nassim Nicholas Taleb
The Vikings, Robert Ferguson (6/7/14)                                      
Power, Inc; David Rothkopf (6/14/14)
An Edible History of Humanity, Tom Standage
Small-Mart Revolution, Michael Shuman
The World Until Yesterday, Jared Diamond (5/29/14)
Fighting Traffic: the Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City, Peter Norton
Earth, Richard Fortey
Good Natured, Frans de Waal
Galileo's Finger, Peter Atkins


  1. The Great War at Sea sounds interesting.
    It reminds me that I have The Bounty Trilogy somewhere deep in my TBR pile. I can hear the sound of the sea in the background.

  2. It's an older history of the naval war, dating to 1965, and definitely intended for popular audiences, so it's a fun read. I may look for something a bit more scholarly to follow up on it, though.

    I've never read the Bounty books, though I know I had an illustrated version in my youth. It's amazing how many classics can fall through the cracks..

    By the way, I am planning on joining the Classics Club blog, since I've been wanting to make good on much neglect, particularly in American literature. Have you found it very helpful?

  3. Oddly my next book review on Thursday is about an early encounter between the British and German navy published in 1962...a first edition too.... [grin]

  4. Does it concern the German surface raiders? One of the more fascinating chapters in this history concerned a German cruiser penned up in a river delta; a small British flotilla was to track it down and destroy it, but they couldn't access the rivers so ended up using their artillery like mortars.

  5. The book is about the two first major encounters between cruisers of the opposing sides in the Pacific and South Atlantic in the opening months of the war - starting with a dramatic German victory followed by a crushing German defeat.

    It prompted me to do a bit more digging and I picked up a book about the Emden - a famous German cruiser operating in the Indian ocean in 1914-15.

    Oh, and my next WW1 book will be on the use of armoured cars, mostly in the Arabian desert. Then I'm planning on some WW2 reading - specifically about the French experience (it's just that I've picked up a third book on the subject and I do like the number 3)..

  6. Oh, fun! This history I finished was very narrowly focused, nothing on the Pacific.


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