Monday, April 22, 2013

H, H2O!

The beginning of this year, I undertook a personal challenge to read through the alphabet. I made sure it wasn't too difficult in order to fit in all the good reading that I wanted to get to that had been piling up while I read challenge books and group reads. I decided that this was the year that I would read what I wanted. The alphabet challenge has become a fun vehicle to do that.

#H1  Hostile Shores

Hostile Shores: An Alan Lewrie Naval Adventure
If you begin reading this book expecting the framework of the novel to be a timeline of English Naval history, you will likely enjoy it. I didn't figure this out until about halfway through the book. While I enjoyed the characters, humor, I kept waiting for something to happen. Okay. Things do happen. They just aren't scripted to happen like normal novels where the plot builds to a climax and then is wrapped up in a conclusion. Very few events or storylines "concluded" in this story. I will not say more to avoid spoilers.

Do not let this put you off from reading the book especially if you like history brought to light in a colorful, fun way.This book had me snickering with its snappy banter between ship captain Alan Lewrie and his crew. Like Captain McHale of the comedy series, McHale's Navy, he frequently finds himself in a scrape with authority and must contrive some slippery way out. However, lest I lead anyone astray by my comments, the book isn't comic like McHale's Navy, but it is funny. 
McHale's Island
Lewrie is known for tying on benders, getting too cute with his remarks to those in authority and using his genius for getting out of scrapes to show up (intentionally or unintentionally) those same Commodores, Admirals and such. The similarities between McHale include his loyalty to his crew, quick decision-making, his way with the ladies, running from ladies who want commitment, fast-talking, loyalty to his country, preference for comfort over dressing to regulation. (He was in slop-trousers, scuffed boots, and his oldest and shabbiest uniform, coat and hat.) While Lewrie earns the respect of those over him, he rarely is liked for long by brass such as his Commodore Popham.

Plenty of similarities with these crews!

Too bad there was no Chief Urulu...
Comm. Popham would agree with Capt. Binghamton, "I could just scream!"

The book cruises into a  romance, with spunky Lady Lydia Stangbourne, who provides the spark. But like many sailor's women of the period, Lydia is left waving on the dock while Capt. Lewrie hoists sails upon receiving his next set of orders from the Admiralty. The reader clutches his/her boarding pass and wonders whether wedding bells will ring in a future book...

From on deck, I look up at the stars and predict: Lovers of history and adventure will cruise through this novel. Lamdin also seems to have a large following of male readers. I predict, readers looking at their compasses, trying to charter a course, yearning for a formatted-style will hit choppy waters and get sea sick.

#H2  by Hali Felt

Soundings: The Story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean FloorSoundings: The Story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor 

I LOVE that  a book was written about Marie Tharp! What a lady. Pin Marie up as the poster child for those of us who didn't figure out what we wanted to do with our lives in High School. An uninspired Marie began college pursuing an art degree. She loved art, but wanted something more, something that challenged her. Of course the art courses turned out to be a stroke of genius once she discovered drafting and her great love, geology, because combined these studies fused her into the perfect mapper of the oceans.

This was one of those books I'm glad I read, but in truth, there wasn't a lot of content. Most likely this was
A young Marie
because Marie was a  private individual and didn't volunteer information about her private life, relationship with oceanologist, Bruce Heezen (Hay-zen), etc. It could have done with a closer look at Marie's opinions about events in her life especially during a difficult time of employment at Columbia University's Lamont Hall.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

One of Marie's maps

Related web content about Marie:

Columbia University bio of Marie
Marie Tharp Maps on FB
Oral History Transcript of interview with Marie
NY Times Obituary

View all my reviews


For the list-lovers amongst us, here's one I compiled of books I've read that take place on water or near water.

TitleAuthorNameGenre#PagesFirst words of the book…
A Passage to IndiaForsterE.M.Fiction404Except for the Marabar Caves-and they are twenty miles off…
Ahab's WifeNaslundSenaFiction704Captain Ahab was neither my first husband or my last.
Billy BuddMelvilleHermanYA Fiction160In the time before steamships, or then more frequently than now, a stroller …
Blue LatitudesHorwitzTonyAdventure Memoir480When I was thirteen, my parents bought a used sailboat....
English PassengersKnealeMatthewFiction446Say a man catches a bullet through his skull in somebody's war...
GalapagosVonnegutKurtFiction324The thing was: One million years ago, back in 1986 A.D….
Gift from the SeaLindberghAnneInspirational140The Beach is not the place to work; read, write or think.
Halsey's TyphoonDruryBobHistory322The clipped words slid out of the judge advocate's mouth…
Heart of DarknessConradJosephFiction200The Nellie, a cruising yawl, swung to her anchor without a flutter…
Kon-TikiHeyerdahlThorAdventure Memoir240Once in a while you find yourself in an odd situation.
Light Between OceansStedmanM.L.Fiction343On the day of the miracle, Isabel was leaning at the cliff's edge…
Robinson CrusoeDeFoeDanielFiction320I was born in the year 1632, in the city of York…
Sailing Alone Around SlocumJoshuaAdventure Memoir320In the fair land of Nova Scotia, a maritime province, there is a ridge…
Sea of GloryPhilbrickNathanielHistory452Most sailors did not refer to it as the Pacific Ocean.
Shadow DiversKursonRobertAdventure Memoir375Bill Nagle's life changed the day a fisherman sat beside him in a ramshackle bar…
Ship of GhostsHornfischerJamesHistory530Off the island of Bali, in the silhouette of mountains…
Shipwreck HunterVolgenauGerryAdventure Memoir200first words not available
Swiss Family RobinsonWyssJohannFiction352The tempest had raged for six days, and on the seventh seemed to increased.
The Cat's TableOndaatjeMichaelFiction269He wasn't talking.
The Whale RiderIhimaeraWitiYA Fiction150In the old days, in the years that have gone before us,…
Three Men in a BoatJeromeJerome KFiction288There were four of us...
Treasure IslandStevensonR.L.Fiction311Squire Trelawney, Dr. Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me…

Next week's blog will offer more looks at 2013 books plus surprise content.  Soon after, I will give my blog readers a chance to "caste" about in (I)ndia with a look at books that focus on the different levels of the caste system.