Monday, March 1, 2010

A sailor's life for me

This week the A.V. Club's Wrapped Up in Books feature focuses on one of my favorite series of all time: Patrick O'Brian's beloved Aubrey-Maturin novels, seafaring adventures set during the Napoleonic Wars.

When it was my turn to select the book (we'd been around to every staffer and also had a couple of reader picks since I kicked the book club off back in May 2009 with Geek Love), I floated a few possibilities to the group. But it was Master And Commander that got the most "I've always wanted to read that" responses. I zipped through the book for the first time since I devoured it and the other 19 books in the series back in the nineties. And to my great relief, it was just as delightful as it was the first time around. I so enjoy being in Jack Aubrey's company. And this time around I paid attention as the sailors and their captain try to educate naval novice Stephen Maturin in the rudiments of yards, sheets, masts, and portable soup.

As far as I can tell from their initial posts, none of my fellow AV Clubbers participating had read any of the books before, although at least one is a fan of the excellent film adaptation from a few years back. While some have their problems with the book (I suspect we'll hear details later), I sense enthusiasm from others, and maybe even a bit of the unabashed love I myself bear them. Even better is the response from readers, many of whom are jumping in with their own deep affection for the series.

If you haven't read them, I can't recommend them enough. Yet I recognize that they push specific buttons that are very particular to me. I'm looking forward to the rest of the week -- partly to find out how widespread those buttons are among the staff and readership, and where what turns me on misses the mark for others.

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