Teaser Tuesday: In the Heart of the Sea

Like the rollers on the office printer spitting out stapled copies of my final exams, the Wheel of Time has turned ’round to Teaser Tuesday.

Just in case you don’t know, Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Books and a Beat. Anyone can play along! All you have to do is grab the book you’re currently reading, open to a random page and share a few sentences from that page. But make sure you don’t share any spoilers!*

*I wish I could take credit for this introduction, but I shamelessly stole it from Heather over at bitsnbooks. To help me make amends, you should go check out her blog.

This week I’m reading In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick. I wanted to read the book before the movie came out, but actually saw the movie before finding a copy of the book at a local bookstore (the same one where I found Stardust). For those that might not know, the tragedy of the Essex forms the basis of Herman Melville’s classic Moby Dick.

The Truly Random Number Generator sends us to page 62:

Without hesitation, Captain Pollard declared it to be Staten Island, off the eastern tip of Cape Horn. The crew was staring at this legendary sphinxlike sight when it suddenly dissolved in the hazy air. It had been nothing but a fog bank. 

Heart of the Sea cover

ok, so it’s the movie cover – – beggars can’t be choosers

In Retrospect:

Symphony for the City of the Dead

It took me some time to finish Symphony for the City of the Dead. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Shostakovich or classical music, or to anyone interested in understanding the Siege of Leningrad or Stalin’s Russia.

The book is highly informative, but as the early chapters of the book deal with the rise of Communism in Russia and the German invasion, certain passages are not for the faint of heart.

For a print book, the author does a wonderful job explaining and describing Shostakovich’s music. However, I feel the book would be enhanced with a CD containing the musical passages discussed. Yes, I know that would raise the price of the book, but I feel it would be well worth the cost.

As it is, you can find performances of the pieces for free on YouTube or cheap on iTunes. You may also get lucky and hear them played on Pandora Radio (as I was a few times).

4 stars

Stardust

If you read other reviews on Goodreads, you’ll see that other readers either love or hate Stardust. The haters generally fall under the “I saw the movie and then read the book” tent, while the lovers generally come to the book having already read some Gaiman (and therefore know what they’re in for).

However, remember that the movie was based on the book; it was not meant to be the same story. Yes, the movie might have been “more exciting” and the book may have “lacked” certain desirable characteristics (like character development or a likable protagonist) but that isn’t the point of the book .

Gaiman has written a lovely English fairy tale in the vein of Wilhelm and Jakob Grimm. The story is divided into a series of vignettes, any of which could be expanded upon (and which the movie did). The characters may be flat, but then again, so are most people.

Personally, I enjoyed the light, moving pace.

4 stars

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