Thursday, May 05, 2005

Swimming through oceans & sailing through libraries

I have finally discovered the Google search that best sums up this blog: a websurfer in the Netherlands searched (the Dutch word, if you're curious, for the verb to search is zoeken) recently reached this blog by looking for "avignon + donuts".

Welcome aboard, O Seekers of French fried pastries!

Apologies for thin posting of late: even after returning from travels, I've been mobbed with work.

But I want to pitch the book I'm reading. Lucky for you, I have not finished it, so I will not blow the plot--a special bonus, since it is a mystery.

I don't know if you have read any books by the Spanish novelist Arturo PĂ©rez-Reverte, but I have yet to find one that I have not loved. His books are absolutely absorbing, full of wild characters, and capable of making you think you need to become a restorer of old paintings or an enforcer for the Vatican. The stories require you to use your own brain if you are to have any chance of figuring out the mystery, but he always provides you the tools to do so. The Flanders Panel, for instance, whose plot involves an elaborate chess game, has the board diagrams and everything, so a reader who is acomplished in chess can start to anticipate moves. (That reader would not be me: I know how to move the pieces around and everything but have no skills.)

But what I am reading now is The Nautical Chart. I know next to nothing about sailing and ships, but now I feel like I am a part of that world--if only briefly. And if you do know something about sailing, and perhaps already crave a life at sea (and dahling, you know who you are!), You'll love this one.

The set-up is a treasure hunt for a long-lost Jesuit ship, and the main character is a sailor who, as a result of an accident, is exiled from piloting ships, and a bit, as it were, adrift. Enter a beautiful woman who at an auction bid powerfully on an old nautical atlas, and for conflict,the Dalmatian man with two-different-colored eyes who bid on the same atlas, but lost. Lots of echoes of Melville, Conrad, Coleridge, occasional trips through archives and plenty of shady folks.

It's summertime people: treat yourself to a fun read.


mtnRoughneck said...


Nice to have you back. I hope your work and research are going smoothly.

I am always grateful for book recommendations. Currently I find myself on a Marquez kick (Love in Time of Cholera and 100 Years of Solitude back to back) but could use a break from the magical realism and unrequited love.

So many books, so little time... said...

Club Dumas is APR's best, I think, irregardless of the crummy movie made therefrom.

Nerval from Portugal said...

Never read APR. But the name is familiar.
I'm reading now a Portuguese translation of Paul Bowles' "Let It Come Down". The translation is not so good, still I'm enjoying it a lot. Tangier... what a place.

uno studente d'italianita' said...

Chi sei? Cosa fai coi tuoi studi?