[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
I'm about halfway through Ada Blackjack: A True Story of Survival in the Arctic by Jennifer Niven, which tells the story of the disaster that overcomes an expedition of four young white men and Ada, an Inuit woman hired to sew for them, when they venture to colonise Wrangel Island in 'The Friendly Arctic'. They've been sadly misled by expedition founder Vilhjalmur Stefansson into believing life on Wrangel will be easy. You'd think at least the one member of the expedition who'd been to Wrangel before--and nearly died there of starvation--wouldn't be taken in. But Stefansson (born Stephenson) seems to have a charismatic hold over those he meets. Even when he knows perfectly well he hasn't got the money to send the relief ship on which the expedition is depending, he blithely reassures the families that all is well, and that their relatives are in no greater danger than they would be at home. Ahem.

This book is a fascinating read. Niven's obviously researched the story thoroughly, and she makes no attempt to gloss over the more reprehensible behaviour of the people involved, or to gift Ada with a hagiography. I do wonder if she's not sometimes tempted to label Stefansson a dangerous fantasist, but she never does. Perhaps she's content merely with allowing us to deduce this for ourselves.

There's a harrowing account of one expedition member's experiences with scurvy and of Ada's confrontations with the polar bears of which she's terrified. Even though I know things are not going to end well, I can't resist reading on. A compelling, well-researched story.
[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
Am tired and hot and hot and tired so this will be a perfunctory list from today's trawl of Waterstones and charity shops and the newly-discovered (by me) stall that sells secondhand SFF. Oh yeah!

I only managed to buy one book I already have. Ahem. It will not be listed.

Waterstones:

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (yes, the book everyone's talking about; so sue me);
Race for the South Pole by Roland Huntford (a comparison of the diaries of Scott and Amundsen)
and
The Invisible Woman by Claire Tomalin.

At some point, you have to stop picking up books in Waterstones. That point is usually when you see the look on your husband's face.

Secondhand SFF stall:

(It was here that the mistake was made)

World's End by Joan D. Vinge;
The Byworlder by Poul Anderson;
Hellflower by George O. Smith;
The Palace of Eternity by Bob Shaw;
The Face in the Abyss by A. Merritt;
The Ragged World by Judith Moffett
and
Farthing by Jo Walton (not actually SFF).

Oh how I have missed picking up cheap secondhand paperbacks en masse and taking them home to try out new-to-me authors. Or finding another book by an author I love. Sigh.

The look on the guy's face when I handed him my treasures was delight. I'm guessing not many people wander in and buy a third of the stock.

Other secondhand book stall:

Xingu: The Indians, Their Myths by Orlando and Claudio Villas Boas
and
The Vinland Sagas: The Norse Discovery of America, translated by Magnus Magnusson and Hermann Palsson.

Charity shops:

Nobody's Child by Kate Adie
and
Extra Titanic: The Story of the Disaster in the Newspapers of the Day, from the collections of Eric Caren and Steve Goldman.

Really wanted to send that last one to Monissa, but it's Big and Heavy. So I guess it stays here until she comes visit.
[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
Endurance: The Greatest Adventure Story Ever Told by Alfred Lansing.

A gift from someone clearing out their bookshelves. Missing its dust jacket, but otherwise in good nick.
[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
Via Book Fairy:

The Lost Photographs of Captain Scott by David M. Wilson.

Gorgeous book. My dad says it ought to be called the Found Photographs. Eh.
[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
After dangling two charity bookshops in The Big City in front of my nose for weeks, husband took me there on Saturday. Ah, what bliss. We did the two charity shops, had pizza for lunch, then briefly trawled Waterstones. I got the points off an old receipt added to my loyalty card, bought two books, and got my stamp card stamped. A very successful day.

And a lot of books.

A *lot* of books.

Books....

In no order whatsoever:

Black Boy by Richard Wright;
Race to the Pole by James Cracknell and Ben Fogle;
Masada by Yigael Yadin (this book was snatched off the shelf with happy cries of Mine! You're coming home with me!);
The New Gulliver, or, The Adventures of Lemuel Gulliver Jr in Capovolta by Esme Dodderidge (a Women's Press SF book);
The Fox Boy: The Story of an Abducted Child by Peter Walker;
Print and Prejudice by Sara Goodman Zimet (husband chose this book for me);
The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw;
Contradictionary: an a-z of confusibles, lookalikes and soundalikes by Fritz Spiegl;
Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delaney;
The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett;
White on Black on White by Coleman Dowell;
Pastoral by Nevil Shute;
Downbelow Station by C.J. Cherryh (am surprised the charity shop was still selling this, even at £1, as the book block has entirely separated from the cover and, furthermore, broken into two pieces);
The Birth of the People's Republic of Antarctica by John Calvin Batchelor;
The Saxonbury Printout by Phil Smith (am pretty sure I already have a copy, but WHERE?);
The Pride of Chanur by C.J. Cherryh (which seems to have managed to get damaged since coming into the house)
and
The Baby in the Mirror: A Child's World from Birth to Three by Charles Fernyhough (another of husband's picks).

Where'm I going to put 'em all??????
[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
Before I talk about the books I picked up yesterday while we were trawling a different local town from the usual, after our exciting purchase of A Brand New Bed, I'd just like to mention the book I found today at the flea market in the usual local town.

Printed Ephemera Cover

Printed Ephemera is a hardback and was published in 1962 and cost £5 5s (which my dad has pointed out is actually five guineas). A lot of money at a time when a paperback novel cost maybe 2s and 6d. The book itself is in good condition but the dust jacket has seen better days. Someone had attempted to repair it with sticky tape, which has, over time, transferred its brown sticky to the paper, making that unsightly and itself useless. Five to ten minutes were spent applying much Magic Tape to this problem, but the brown stains are probably permanent. Shame. Copies of this book are selling on Alibris from ~£30 upwards. I got mine for £1.

Okay, onto yesterday's books:

Harold Shipman: Prescription for Murder by Brian Whittle and Jean Ritchie;
Corsaireville: The Lost Domain of the Flying Boat by Graham Coster;
Bats Sing, Mice Giggle: The Surprising Science of Animals' Inner Lives by Karen Shanor and Jagmeet Kanwal;
The Meadow: Kashmir 1995--Where the Terror Began by Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark;
To the Poles (Without a Beard): The Polar Adventures of a World Record-Breaking Woman by Catharine Hartley
and
English Journeys: A Collection, comprising One Green Field by Edward Thomas; English Folk Songs by Ralph Vaughan Williams and A.L. Lloyd; Some Country Houses and Their Owners by James Lees-Milne; Through England on a Side-Saddle by Celia Fiennes and Voices of Akenfield by Ronald Blythe.

A non-fiction extravangza, it appears.
[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
Yes, it was back to the charity shops and the local bookshop again today. Perhaps as punishment, it rained, hailed and thundered. We kept having to take shelter because of the risk of either drowning or zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz-CRACK. A couple of times one of my eyes got so full of water I couldn't see out of it.

One of my recent en-route books arrived: The Fall of Carthage by Adrian Goldsworthy. I shall hope to take better care of this one.

That aside, I picked up:

The Road Not Taken: How Britain Narrowly Missed a Revolution by Frank McLynn;
Napoleon's Wars by Charles Esdaile;
Gendering the Master Narrative: Women and Power in the Middle Ages, edited by Mary C. Erler and Maryanne Kowaleski;
Training in Observation and Tracking by Gilcraft, a book for Scouts and Cubs first published in 1927
and
Shipwrecked on the Top of the World: Four Against the Arctic by David Roberts.

Also took a lot of books to the Mind shop. The top ones got wet.
[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
The Windup Girl will go to the local supermarket's charity table as soon as anyone's going that way. After all, it's only bad, not evil. It deserves a chance at a loving home.

Meanwhile, I've started reading To the Pole by Caroline Hamilton. This book is full of the sort of people I'd usually run to one Pole or the other to avoid. Certainly I wouldn't normally invite them into my head for any length of time. The sort of people who sail through life on a flying carpet of privilege, and actually seem to believe that everything that's been handed to them on a plate is something they've earned. Jolly hockey sticks!

It's striking however that Hamilton seems to need a man to tell her she can do things, even from her position of privilege. Daddy tells her to go to Cambridge (jolly hockey sticks!) and a man, a Real Polar Explorer Man, tells her, yes, Cinders, you can go to the ball. So she goes. What would have happened if RPEM had said, no, the Pole's not for you girl, so back to the hockey field with you? The mind boggles.

There are however touching and funny moments in this book. It's not nearly as annoying as it could have been. When the explorers are searching around with their GPS's trying to find the elusive North Geographic Pole, their combined excitement and frustration are catching. When they start singing our crap National Anthem, however, it's back to the hockey sticks.

I'd back this lot to get up Everest and down again, though.

Profile

The Little Dog Laughed

December 2016

S M T W T F S
    123
4 5678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 24th, 2017 06:39 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios