I can post again! Just in time for me to lose my internet this week for the move, oops. Fortunately Blogger seems to have fixed its weird "No, you can't edit your posts... yeah, go on, just try... HAHA TOLD YOU NOW YOU'VE DELETED EVERYTHING" thing, so I'm trying to sneak in quick and get a few things done! Once our home internet is turned off I won't have any at all at home for a while, so I'll be completely offline until we're back at work on Saturday. Even that's a bit dodgy at the moment, since our modem was throwing tantrums and cutting us off every hour or so yesterday. STUPID INTERWEBS.
I finished Bout of Books on Sunday night at a grand total of 473 pages, which wasn't too bad. I didn't read/finish all the books I wanted, but I DID smash my page goal of 350 pages, or 50 pages a day, which I was quite pleased about, given what a week I've had! I had a couple of good reading days, but I was working six out of seven days (as usual), was packing for the move, had two days where I spent most of the day sorting out challenge entries and replying to comments, and another day where I took a new painkiller for my back and ended up doubled up in the office for two hours with crippling stomach pains. Needless to say, I haven't touched those again since. Anyway, I read all of Ashfall by Mike Mullin - review on the way - plus a few of Charlie Brooker's Screen Burn columns, and then I started Vivien's Heavenly Ice Cream Shop by Abby Clements on Sunday night just to round things off. Yes, I did read it while eating ice cream. Specifically, Sainsbury's TTD farmhouse toffee ice cream, WITH tinned pears. I know how to live!
So, now I've filled you in (THANK YOU FOR STIFLING YOUR YAWNS), I'm going to sneak in a mini review. One down, three to go...
"'It's not going too well, is it, Pirate Captain?' said the scarf-wearing pirate, staring at the conspicuously whaleless sea. 'I'm worried that perhaps this whaling business is a little more difficult than we thought. Possibly that's why Ahab said he'd been chasing the whale for years.'"
This review really boils down to a very simple message. IF YOU HAVEN'T READ ONE OF THESE BOOKS YET JUST GET ON WITH IT ALREADY. Because they're funny and cheerful and warm and just a little bit naughty, and if you don't try one you'll never know if the humour clicks with yours or not. If nothing else, you'll learn something from the helpful trivia footnotes (for example, this time I learned the origins of the phrase "freezing the balls off a brass monkey"...). Soooo, go hit the library or something.
In this second installment of the series (I've read and reviewed An Adventure with Scientists (1) and An Adventure with Communists (3) already), the pirates buy a beautiful new boat from Cutlass Liz (who is AWESOME by the way) and spend the rest of the book trying to work out how to pay her off before their time runs out and she kills them horribly. All your favourite elements are in there - the Pirate Captain's beard and pleasant, open face, the long-suffering pirate with a scarf, the Pirate Captain's charming nemesis Black Bellamy and some ship's biscuits (bourbons preferable). Throw in a chance encounter with grizzly old Ahab, a prize ham, a randy whale, a casino, a lesbian albatross, a sexy figurehead and a compelling yet moving one-man show and you've got... well, just another Pirates! adventure, really. The perfect way to while away an idle afternoon and put a mischievous grin on your face! Oh, and don't worry if you haven't read Moby Dick - I haven't either, but so long as you know the absolute basics (y'know, whale, sea captain, Pequod, long rambling discourses about whaling) you'll be just fine. :)
BONUS POINTS - for this: "I wanted to tell you one thing - Pirate Captain, you were always my favourite pupil. Certainly you were much better than the others in your class, whom I regarded merely as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal." ONE OF MY FAVOURITE MOVIES OF ALL TIME.
EXTRA BONUS POINTS - for the little extras Defoe always includes at the back of the book. This time there's some handy information about whale conservation, Nantucket and debt ("Like the Pirate Captain, more people than ever are getting into serious debt, with the accompanying risks of depression, worry and not being able to buy things that you want"). He rounds off the whole thing with an exhaustive list of non-existent (but they totally should!) Pirates! titles, including The Pirates! In an Adventure with Risk Management, The Pirates and the Edge of Reason, The Pirates! Learn German in Five Easy Lessons, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Shaft and perhaps my particular favourite, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Jazzy Jeff. Hopefully that one would feature the Pirate Captain being forcibly ejected from a Beverly Hills mansion. Horizontally.
- "In the boat's dining room the rest of the pirates were already tucking into their lunch. On board a pirate boat it wasn't considered rude to start before everybody was present, and you could even put your elbows on the table. Those were just two of the perks that attracted people to the piratical life."
- "Because the pirate in green didn't have the Pirate Captain's firm grasp of economics, he wasn't sure he understood the exact way in which false economy worked, but he vaguely remembered that it tended to crop up a lot when the Pirate Captain was shopping for meat and fancied treating himself to something from the butcher's Finest range."
- "The noisy pirate climbed up to the crow's nest to look out for passing boats to plunder, whilst the rest of the crew got busy, polishing the cannons and swabbing the decks. They hoisted the Jolly Roger, to show they were back in business, but some of the younger pirates felt the skeleton face was a little too frightening, so they took it back down and used a flag that showed the Pirate Captain waving instead."
- "Out from the churning swell came the tip of something white, and it kept on coming until there, rising up on its tail, was the biggest whale any of the pirates had ever seen. If the pirates had been alive a hundred and fifty years later and had happened to be drawing the diagrams in biology textbooks, they would have said the whale was as tall as three double-decker buses stacked on top of each other, or about a half of one St. Paul's Cathedral. But they weren't, so they just thought that the whale was really very big indeed."
Source: Hanna sent me this one for my birthday. Very fitting, since she's the one who got me hooked in the first place! :)