Friday, June 4, 2010

Books for May 20010

I got a lot of reading done in May, because I was in bed recovering from oral surgery for a week, and on a plane for a couple of days. Here are the books I read in the month of May:
  • The Truelove by Patrick O'Brian: this one is another that dips just slightly in the pace of the story, though there are some very important pieces of the overall arc introduced here. (9)
  • The Wine-Dark Sea by Patrick O'Brian: good overall, there is a section of this one that drags for a few pages. By this point O'Brian had reached the stage as an author wherein his editors print whatever he gives them without a critique; in the larger scheme of things an entire section of this book could have been cut out completely (maybe he was leaving open the development of a character who never emerges again as a prominent figure; that's the best explanation I can offer). (9+)
  • The Commodore by Patrick O'Brian: back up to the pace and quality through-and-through with this one. (10)
  • The Yellow Admiral by Patrick O'Brian: (10)
  • The Hundred Days by Patrick O'Brian: another segment is folded into this one that is a bit tedious, but not so much as the others. Overall, this one is quite good, though the death of a couple of characters is dealt with in surprisingly-brief form. (9+)
  • Blue at the Mizzen by Patrick O'Brian: First-class as an unintended end to the series, with only a few minor details left open-ended. This one makes a satisfying conclusion. (10)

One final comment about the O'Brian novels:
Blue at the Mizzen, #20 in the series, was NOT O'Brian's intended end of the series; at his death in 2000, he was part-way through the writing of #21, which was never titled. That partial work was published in 2004 as The Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey (in Great Britain) or simply 21 (in the U.S.), and is interesting both in form and content-- as a publication, we see O'Brian's hand-written notes on one side of the book, and the typed transcript that he completed himself on the other side (the handwritten parts, which are very difficult to read, go on for quite a bit longer than the typed portion). I bought a copy immediately at its release, but can't find my copy! So I'll read it when I can either find mine or get another.

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