Saturday, December 29, 2007

this is MY SHIP!

Firstly, alittlepregnant.com has a hysterical take on scary radiator noises. I agree-they are terrifying (second only to The Dark)-the ones in my apartment sound like the tormented souls of the damned.


Speaking of the damned. I've been reading Mutiny on the Bounty which fulfills several of my reading requirements:

1. It involves a ship
2. Takes places circa 1790-1805
3. Men in breeches
4. Is small enough to fit in my purse
5. Battered enough that I don't feel bad about shoving it into my purse

I found this book at the thrift store. I felt kind of ripped off because this copy was originally thirty-five cents, but the thrift store charges fifty cents for paperbacks, but it's all for a good cause, so I decided to suck it up and fork over the extra fifteen cents. I was afraid that I wouldn't like this book because I've bought books that have fufilled the above criteria only to plow to a halt halfway through them because of the dense language but Mutiny on the Bounty is RIVETING. I mean--it's just an amazing story. AND IT'S TRUE! I had no idea that the story was based on actual events. It's just amazing the sheer forces of will that were involved in these events. Of course, being a book about the Navy, there's a lot of talk about duty and honor and even though modern interpretations tend to sympathise with the mutineers, it's obvious that the narrator still feels a great deal of loyalty to Captain Bligh, and we're supposed to be horrified that anyone would disobey orders or break ranks like this.

The authors manage to create these incredibly suspenseful story ("WILL the mutineers be HUNG?!") even though the narrator mentions the battles he's been involved in--Camperdown, Copenhagen and Trafalgar--and all these take place after 1792, so it's pretty obvious he survived--but even so, I nearly missed my stop on the train because I was dying to see what happens next. Roger Byam is the name of the narrator, and he's based on a real-life figure, Peter Haywood, who, after being acquitted of mutiny, went on to become a captain in the navy. (He also served on HMS Bellerophon, which is the ship Napoleon surrendered on, fyi.)

I was quite pleased with myself for not having to look up the definition of "fothering" while I was reading, and gave a little squirm of recognition when the president of the court martial was named as Lord Hood. Slowly, the bits of British naval history fall togther. (Another reason we're supposed to sympathise with Captain Bligh--Nelson spoke highly of him after Copenhagen, and if Nelson likes someone...I still get a kick out of how ANY naval occurence in this time period must have one Nelson reference. It's so cute.)

I definitely recommend this book to everyone. It's just so damn fascinating.

2 comments:

Laura said...

but not as fascinating as smoking a cigarette with you over a little Master and Commander and a pint of Ben and Jerry's.

I think a little bit pregnant is what the Romanians translated the title of Knocked Up to.

Jack said...

You left the door ajar, the invitation warm and sweet.

I stand on the threshold, momentarily hesitant to enter –
not in fear of combat,
not at all.

But in anticipation of anticipation,
in enjoyment of enjoyment.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?