George Francis Dow put this book together actually in 1927; this version is a Dover Reprint (thank God for Dover for publishing long-forgotten books!)George Francis Dow put this book together actually in 1927; this version is a Dover Reprint (thank God for Dover for publishing long-forgotten books!). What it is is an examination of the slave trade out of Africa, told through first person accounts of persons actually involved in the slave trade. Sadly, what's not here are slave voices.
The least reliable stories, imho, are those of the captains & the traders, who set the scene in telling about the dangers faced by the crews & by the white people in their zeal to collect slaves off of the coast of West Africa. While the dangers themselves are real (terrible, often mortal illnesses and the fear of being attacked by Africans who have been either kidnapped or taken as war hostages for sale into slavery), the reports of how slaves were treated once on the ship made it sound like the captains were doing the captured Africans a "favor" by taking them out of their homeland. However, this is balanced by the reports of physicians who reported the truth of the conditions of the slave ships & of the psyche of those torn away from their families and homes.
Considering this is such an old book, and written before the term "political correctness" was coined, I thought it had a lot of insight into the slave trade. There was one story in here written by a former ship's medical assistant that was most likely fiction (and would have made for a sequel to Wide Sargasso Sea) so I discounted it, but the other nonself-serving entries really opened my eyes to the horrors of the slave trade.
I would recommend it, most definitely. If you read it, keep in mind that it was written at a time when the epithets used to describe Africans were perfectly acceptable and that the author was not intending this as a racist history....more
The Weight of Water is a book I just read for my book group. Anita Shreve's books aren't normally ones I would pick to read, so this was a bit of a chThe Weight of Water is a book I just read for my book group. Anita Shreve's books aren't normally ones I would pick to read, so this was a bit of a challenge.
I have to say that I didn't really care too much for the modern-day people and their woes. I just couldn't relate to the female characters here (either Jean or Adaline) as real people with real problems. However, I did enjoy the story about the Norwegian immigrants who came to Smuttynose Island. They had some serious issues to deal with, especially Maren, none the least of which were isolation, both mental and physical. Plus, a mystery always grabs me, and this one was based, in part, on real murders committed on that Island sometime back in the 1870s.
Overall, it was okay, and I say that because of the story from the past. The modern-day characterization was just kind of blah, and I think that it detracted from my reading and from trying to get a handle on the four people on the boat in the modern story.
I'd recommend it, but with reservations. I'm not a chick-lit kind of person, but I think readers who are will probably like the book much more than myself. ...more
This book was SO much fun to read. It scared me silly then kept me dangling up until the very end. One of the major criticisms of this book was its enThis book was SO much fun to read. It scared me silly then kept me dangling up until the very end. One of the major criticisms of this book was its ending, but I disagree. I liked the ending & it was appropriate. Other than that, there really wasn't much I didn't like about this book. The characterizations were good, the plot was outstanding & the creep quotient was right up there. For a fun, scary, adventure type novel, it definitely merits a good rating.
brief plot summary Ike Crockett and his girlfriend Kora have a business where they guide wealthy people around holy sites in Tibet. As the story opens, they along with their group find themselves stuck in a cave during a snowstorm In Tibet. Turning on their lights, they make the gruesome discovery of a mummy with writing tattooed into his skin. Then the next day, they wake up and one of their group is gone. Ike goes off in one extension of the cave to find him, and Kora & the others go the other way. After a long while, he has no luck, so he decides to go back to the others, but when he gets there, they've disappeared. He chases after them, to find Kora, but comes across a scene of death & mutilation. Then switch to the Kalahari, where Ali, a nun, is working in a leper colony. There she comes across knowledge of a deity known as Older-than-Old, and evidently, the locals are feeding their sick & infirm to the deities. Then, in the final introductory chapter, Elias Branch, an Army general oversees an operation involving locating mass graves in Bosnia. After making the decision to overfly a mass grave in his Apache helicopter after reconnaisance photos reveal large amounts of nitrogen being released (thinking the grave is being desecrated), he crashes & strange looking people come after him at the burial site.
It doesn't take long until humanity realizes that they are not alone in this world...all over the world weird creatures are emerging out of cave openings etc. After tests are done, it is shown that there is an entire complex of subterranean territory waiting to be claimed. But first the humans must deal with what is below. And let me tell you, what's down there ain't pretty.
Very similar in many ways to Dante's Inferno (you'll understand if you've read Dante), it's also kind of a Journey to the Center of the Earth type thing.
This is not your standard horror novel; I would say it goes between supernatural and science fiction. It is one of those books where you have to tell yourself going into it that you're here for the suspenseful experience and for the fun. I really liked this book and if you're into this kind of stuff, you'll like it too....more
First of all, I recommend this book to any reader of horror that wants something beyond what you can find at the grocery store. There aren't a whole lFirst of all, I recommend this book to any reader of horror that wants something beyond what you can find at the grocery store. There aren't a whole lot of answers here, but this one of of the creepiest ghost stories I've ever read. It is a very cerebral type of horror novel rather -- not like most of what is on the horror shelves these days.
In the acknowledgments section of his book, the author begins by saying "The Reckoning takes history for its haunted house." And indeed it does.
The story begins as Molly Drake, a young photojournalist who has made it into the big leagues and is working for the NY Times, arrives in Cambodia to do a story about a group of US military personnel who are trying to find any remains of a pilot shot down during the war with Vietnam. Among the group is a veteran, John Kleat, looking for his dead brother; an archaeologist, Duncan O'Brian; Samnang, hired by the American recovery team to run the dig, and who also went around collecting indigenous folk songs when he wasn't digging; and a person they call the Gypsy Man, who hides out in the shadows watching the group dig. Molly is there to take pictures, however, when she discovers a flight helmet buried under the bones of victims of the Killing Fields, the military takes her and all civilians off of the excavation. Just when Molly is ready to admit her mission is over before it starts, and just before returning home to New York, she is met in a restaurant along with John Kleat and Duncan by the Gypsy Man, whose name turns out to be Lucas Yale. He tells them of a mysterious place he can take them where they will find remains of US soldiers, and offers proof in the form of several dog tags.
I can't reveal much more without giving away the show - suffice it to say that it will hold your interest and keep you reading for a few hours.
Absolutely delightful; this book was one of those that I read straight through today without stopping until I'd finished. I can't recommend this one hAbsolutely delightful; this book was one of those that I read straight through today without stopping until I'd finished. I can't recommend this one highly enough; but I think that perhaps people who are interested in the topic are going to appreciate it the most.
In the author's "apologies and acknowledgments," on page 333, she notes that the book is about "how imagination meets research, how one believes what one believes...." and this really sums up the story.
Having done years of research myself, I know from experience that the first thing a good researcher needs is imagination -- so I could really relate. The book focuses on a young college student named Joe Roper, who has loved Shakespeare all of his life, and who, when the story opens, has just spent a year fact checking for his professors who published a new volume on the life of Shakespeare. Joe is now working on some documents called the Kellogg Collection, most likely forgeries. But something does draw his attention -- it is a letter that makes it sound like Shakespeare the writer that we all know and love didn't write his famous words. Enter Miss Posy Gould, a flamboyant spoiled rich girl from Harvard, who convinces Joe that he should take the letter to a friend of hers in England to have it tested for authenticity. Posy is a believer in the "Oxford camp," those people who believe that the current Earl of Oxford during Shakespeare's times was the true author of the Bard's works. Joe follows Posy, and the two of them spend time meeting with anyone they can find who will help shed some light on the authorship issue, while Posy's friend Nicky is authenticating the letter. Joe begins to do some in-depth research at the British Library, and begins to make some startling finds that could eventually make for some drastic changes in his life. I don't want to say more and spoil the book for the next reader.
I thought this book was truly wonderful and if you're into bibliomysteries, you'll love it....more
excellent story by probably my favorite author in the world, Umberto Eco. I've seen this book really panned because it didn't "measure up to" Name ofexcellent story by probably my favorite author in the world, Umberto Eco. I've seen this book really panned because it didn't "measure up to" Name of the Rose, but don't let that deter you. The two books are apples and oranges and shouldn't be compared together.
As the story opens, Constantinople is being sacked in 1204 and the hero of this novel, Baudolino, is telling his dear friend Niketas Choniates, who, as it turns out, is the most famous chronicler of these events. As Baudolino begins his tale, it takes the reader back in time to when he was just a child, the son of a peasant family in what is now Italy. By some bizarre chance, he encountered the famous Emperor Frederick Barbarossa (so called for his red beard) and again by chance, became his adopted son. The story continues through the sacking of the city, as Baudolino relates his very bizarre life and the odd things that happened to him before he arrived in Constantinople. The problem is that Baudolino himself knows that he is an accomplished liar. No matter; this story will keep you entertained for hours. It is funny, sarcastic, full of an H. Rider Haggard type of adventure, and the ending is probably the most ironic of any book I've come across lately. Please don't miss this one; it is one of the most intelligent things I have had the pleasure of reading in a long time. Highly recommended if you want something out of the ordinary....more
A local farmer digging peat for fuel in Drumcleggan Bog comes across a woman's head, complete with a full head of red hair. It is not long until the pA local farmer digging peat for fuel in Drumcleggan Bog comes across a woman's head, complete with a full head of red hair. It is not long until the police show up at the scene, then not long after that until Hugh Osborne, a local, shows up, wanting to see if the head is that of his missing wife. His wife had gone into town one day, bought their little boy a pair of new red boots, then disappeared on their way home. Osborne had no alibi and became the chief suspect. However, with no clues, the local police were forced to do nothing but wait for a lead. It turns out that it is not Osborne's wife; indeed the head belongs to a woman probably killed in the 17th century. Enter the archaeologists, Cormac Maguire and Nora Gavin. While they are trying to piece together any info about the woman whose head was found in the bog, Osborne commissions them to do some private work for him on his property, and allows them to stay at his manor house, which has seen better days. Strange things start happening afterwards. The local homicide detective, Garrett Devaney can't help but think that the weird occurrences after the finding of the head are connected to the missing woman and her child.
This was a fun novel, although I found it slow going at the beginning. Things picked up, but not until I was well into the story. As other reviews have noted, it does have some gothic undertones, but the best part of this novel is (at least for me, history nut) how the local history was preserved by those in the area. It was, I would say, mildly suspenseful, and it held my interest for quite a while. I'd recommend it to any mystery fan, most definitely. ...more