Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mountain climbers, pirates, the French, and the Montmoravians

Forever on the Mountain: The Truth Behind One of Mountaineering's Most Controversial and Mysterious DisastersForever on the Mountain: The Truth Behind One of Mountaineering's Most Controversial and Mysterious Disasters by James M. Tabor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Two things could have bumped this rating up to a five:

1. If I had known about this disaster before I read the book, and had a pre-existing understanding of all the who-blamed-who and non-rescue drama.

2. If I had read a physical copy of the book instead of listening to the audiobook.

I mention the first because it was jarring to be thrown into the midst of a controversy where I wasn't previously aware that one existed. To a certain degree, the book seems to assume that I already know who Joe Wilcox is and that I already assume he's the bad guy. The book is also very clear from the beginning about how many and which people die on the mountain.

As for the second, well, this was a very long book, which made for a very, very long audiobook, unrelieved by pictures or maps or charts. Near the end, Forever on the Mountain started to remind me of that guy at a party who corners you and talks your ear off: "but did I tell you about THIS conspiracy theory????" In print, I don't think it would have come off that way.

BUT. Good book. Probably a great one if you are already familiar with this mountaineering accident or, even better, if you remember when it actually happened.


Empire of Blue Water: Captain Morgan's Great Pirate Army, the Epic Battle for the Americas, and the Catastrophe That Ended the Outlaws' Bloody ReignEmpire of Blue Water: Captain Morgan's Great Pirate Army, the Epic Battle for the Americas, and the Catastrophe That Ended the Outlaws' Bloody Reign by Stephan Talty

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


3.5 stars. Very good. The last few chapters are the most interesting - the invasion of Panama by pirates, followed by a horrifically devastating earthquake.




The Scarlet PimpernelThe Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


2nd reading, March 2013. Even better the second time because you already know the twists and surprises...and that this book is kind of a let-down in the end. Having realistic expectations this time made it an even better read!




A Brief History of Montmaray (The Montmaray Journals, #1)A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thoroughly enjoyable. At (different) times, the story reminded me of Indiana Jones (Last Crusade), Gone With the Wind, Sense & Sensibility (but set on a remote island in the 1930s) and Flavia de Luce.

At other times, I was annoyed with the book's slavish devotion to the journal format. Sophia writes everything down, not just the interesting stuff, you know? Just like a real journal would be.

But a fun adventure in the end.

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