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The Boat Who Wouldn't Float

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It seemed like a good idea. Tired of everyday life ashore, Farley Mowat would find a sturdy boat in Newfoundland and roam the salt sea over, free as a bird. What he found was the worst boat in the world, and she nearly drove him mad. The Happy Adventure, despite all that Farley and his Newfoundland helpers could do, leaked like a sieve. Her engine only worked when she felt like it. Typically, on her maiden voyage, with the engine stuck in reverse, she backed out of the harbour under full sail. And she sank, regularly.

How Farley and a varied crew, including the intrepid lady who married him, coaxed the boat from Newfoundland to Lake Ontario is a marvellous story. The encounters with sharks, rum-runners, rum and a host of unforgettable characters on land and sea make this a very funny book for readers of all ages.

256 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 1969

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About the author

Farley Mowat

141 books563 followers
Farley McGill Mowat was a conservationist and one of Canada's most widely-read authors.

Many of his most popular works have been memoirs of his childhood, his war service, and his work as a naturalist. His works have been translated into 52 languages and he has sold more than 14 million books.

Mowat studied biology at the University of Toronto. During a field trip to the Arctic, Mowat became outraged at the plight of the Ihalmiut, a Caribou Inuit band, which he attributed to misunderstanding by whites. His outrage led him to publish his first novel, People of the Deer (1952). This book made Mowat into a literary celebrity and was largely responsible for the shift in the Canadian government's Inuit policy: the government began shipping meat and dry goods to a people they previously denied existed.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship RV Farley Mowat was named in honour of him, and he frequently visited it to assist its mission.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 186 reviews
Profile Image for Debbie Zapata.
1,791 reviews38 followers
December 18, 2015
Auctions are thrilling and dangerous places. On the spur of the moment you can buy all sorts of things you did not know you needed until the bidding starts. This is part of the reason Farley Mowat became the proud owner of most of the nautical equipment being auctioned off at a defunct Canadian chandler's shop back in the early 1960's.

And what do you do with tons of nifty equipment and supplies? Find a boat to match it, of course. Then you dream of sailing off to Bermuda or some other southern port, and work yourself ragged trying to make that dream come true.

This is the story of how Mowat found the ship to go with his gear. And all the happy misadventures that went along with that ship. She leaked. She had a cranky engine. She was stinky. Her cabin roof was so low that no one could stand up straight below decks. But she was Mowat's, and eventually they sailed together. Not to Bermuda or anywhere close to the dreamed of southern ports. But it turned out there was more than enough excitement right around Newfoundland to keep Mowat and his ship busy for years.

We get bits of history of the area, we meet the grand people (and some of the animals) who lived there, and we explore the Newfoundland coast. Along the way we do a little smuggling and a lot of
repair work. I enjoyed the whole journey very much, but I did feel a bit sorry for Mowat and all the situations he got into. Some were caused by weather, some were caused by temper, and some were just plain meant to be. This is one of those books sharing incidents that were frustrating at the time but that make you laugh a few years later. Sometimes even just a few hours later, if the smuggling went off properly (the main item smuggled at the time was alcohol).

I've read a lot of sea adventures, and I thought this was a wonderful book. I do wonder why Mowat describes his boat as 'snoring along' through the water at one point, though. In all the naval books I've read, no other ship had ever snored. But then, this was an eccentric vessel with a mind of her own. I suppose she simply had to snore.

Profile Image for Katherine.
102 reviews2 followers
December 25, 2019
I adore this book. I don't know if there are still books like this being read out there - well written, eloquent without being stuffy or pretentious and moments of beautiful writing that capture you in the story. I wonder if we have the patience for them if they aren't big and full of long, dull paragraphs, or short with little story to tell. But, if one is looking for a fun, self effacing, humorous look at life - with some truly magical passages of writing stuffed in between the exploits of a boat with a personality larger than she, this book will hold water - and your attention. Makes me want to run out and find Mr. Mowat's other books and pencil in some time to follow along on his journeys.
Profile Image for Esther Espeland.
277 reviews18 followers
December 26, 2021
Just delightful! Haven’t laughed out loud this much since reading the last Farley mowat! My dad used to read this to my brother at bed time and now I’m like wth why didn’t I get to be part of the ritual! Makes me so nostalgic for my dads Canadian boyhood, or how we’d have to take two separate ferries from Vancouver to visit my grandpa Bruce’s home on a small island. My family and I were going to take a week trip to Newfoundland last summer which was obvi cancelled bc of Covid but reading this book was another way to experience what that could have been! I really really hope to go back to the Canadian maritimes. Just a delightful book that makes me feel so connected to my family and grateful that I live in a part of the country where the outdoors is so much more accessible
8 reviews1 follower
February 15, 2009
One of the few books that had me laughing out loud while I was reading it. My grandfather suggested in to me and told me it made him laugh. I was sceptical but found myself looking foolish while reading it on a bus trying to keep myself from cracking up.
813 reviews2 followers
November 26, 2012
I can't recall the last time I so thoroughly enjoyed a book. This one held me in rapt attention. From the opening lines through to the final word. I've read that Farley Mowat is a 'natural story teller' and I totally agree. I burst out in laughter so many times while reading this book, and often in public places. Thankfully most everyone on the plane was sleeping while I was trying unsuccessfully to contain my chuckles.

What did I find so amusing you might ask. Well, just about everything Mr. Mowat wrote. He can manage to turn the most sorry of stories into an award winning humorous novel.

This is the tale of his little Newfoundland boat that just didn't want to float. Whether it was the wood or the design, the Happy Adventurer was continually threatening to take Farley and his sailing companions down into the deep.

During the several years of fretting and sailing this little vessel, there were many times when Farley could have called it quits, but he perservered and eventually succeeded in turning her into a sea worthy ship. This true life story shows great spirit and tenacity.

I have several more books by Mr. Mowat that I am moving to the front of my reading list. I can't imagine why I haven't read any of these works earlier.
Profile Image for Denise.
78 reviews14 followers
August 27, 2018
As I sat in the companionway of our Alacrity eyeing a leak, a fellow sailor suggested I read “The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float.” After reading the book, I feel we may have sold the Alacrity too soon. Farley proves that with some work and determination, a leaky boat is still able to provide plenty of adventure. He tells an endearing story of finding his boat, dreaming of a cross Atlantic sailing to Bermuda, and the many adventures that are realized with “Happy Adventure” at sail.

The book has amusing characters throughout. Many with the fearlessness that East Coast living brings: like the dark cliffs that stand tall through years of wind and fog and rain. Farley’s writing took me there. I could imagine searching through the fog for a safe harbour or watching an incoming tide to be sure we made our crossing in time.

Learning the geography of the area and the history of those who settled to live with the Miq’Mac Nations was a bonus, and most surprising to me, the islands of St.-Pierre and Miquelon: the last piece of French territory in North America. I’m now curious to visit these islands that are officially French and just 12 miles south of Newfoundland.
143 reviews2 followers
June 25, 2018
Funny and satisfying. Mowat chronicles his misadventures sailing around the Canadian Maritimes in the 1960s. The lack of GPS and anything more modern than a compass make his time at sea sound like the ancients'. He recounts a drive across Newfoundland destroying his car's muffler and tailpipe, blowing 7 tires, and lasting 5 days! Google Maps says it now takes 9 hours. The 50-year-old world of this book is as distant as the Vikings.

For a chapter or two Mowat anchors in Saint Pierre and Miquelon, a delightful quirk of geography, islands off the coast of Newfoundland that are French. Not just francophone; they belong to France, not Canada.

This is my second reading of the book. I read it in middle school. I so rarely re-read books because I read so so slowly and life is short. It was fun to experience the semi-familiar.
Profile Image for Jonathon.
7 reviews1 follower
August 7, 2008
What a book. My brother gave this to me a few years ago, and it blew me away. This is for the kid in all of us "grown" men that still wants to go out and see if we can turn our ideas into adventures. A highly entertaining tale.

By the way, my brothers boats all float, and they are stylish to boot.

Profile Image for James Boyce.
95 reviews3 followers
March 7, 2022
This is a hilarious piece of Canadiana. Mowat ends up with a terrible boat and sails it all around Newfoundland, St. Pierre and Miquelon, Nova Scotia and finally up the St. Lawrence in time for Expo '67. His stories about Newfoundland ferry crossings, coffee made with rum as the water, the memorable Jack McClelland, and avoiding the RCMP boats while smuggling all made me laugh enough to make others around me uncomfortable. Now, time to head to an auction sale...
13 reviews
February 22, 2010
One of the classic sailing novels of all time.
Anyone who's an inexperienced sailor that's spent time sailing a boat that needs a lot of repair will appreciate this book.
Farley Mowatt's sense of humor in seemingly impossible circumstances makes this book a joy to read.
Profile Image for Cristina.
59 reviews
September 12, 2022
Loved this book. A maritime travelogue from Newfoundland to st Pierre and finally to Montreal, expo 69. This would be a great book for upper grades. Good storytelling, Impressive nautical jargon and humorous.
Profile Image for LobsterQuadrille.
879 reviews
April 24, 2020
I have really liked most of the Farley Mowat books I have read, both fiction and non-fiction. Sadly, I found myself a bit bored with The Boat Who Wouldn't Float. There were enough funny moments, but in between those it was often repetitious and I didn't feel invested in most of the side characters. The exception was Jack McClelland, who was certainly the most entertaining. Unfortunately, when Jack wasn't around the humor was notably less consistent. It is a decent light read and I liked the way Mowat's writing gives some personality to the titular boat, but this isn't one of Mowat's best. But boat enthusiasts will probably get a kick out of it, and they are probably more of this book's target audience anyways.
Profile Image for Marie Charron.
158 reviews
July 28, 2022
Things I liked: The rich history of Newfoundland and its people (similar enough in tone to fit the theme of “coastal Maine” I was going for this week), the light tone, the characterization of the boat herself, and the details of the many misadventures of the Happy Adventure and her crews.

Things that confused me: Who is reading this and experiencing a “belly laugh on every page?” And why did Mowat take on this misadventure at all? While the tone was light and funny, it wasn’t laugh out loud hilarious, and Mowat did sort of strike me as a rich guy who enjoyed being able to tell the story of trying to take a sinking boat on a pleasure cruise.
35 reviews1 follower
January 21, 2023
This was a fun and entertaining book to read. I had remember reading Never Cry Wolf by the author as a required text in junior high but did not recall the writing style of the author. I certainly will check out other works by Mowat. It was interesting to hear Mowat’s description of the small ports and inhabitants of the various locations along the coast of NL. Many of these communities I am familiar with from my career working in the aquaculture industry within the province a half a century after the writing of this book.
Profile Image for Ben.
968 reviews86 followers
January 18, 2020
A most enjoyable story. It aims for light humor (and not much more), and usually succeeds. The humor is never cruel, but always tolerant and humane. The people, the boat, the dog, are all wonderful characters (yes, even the boat). There is some real adventure, but Mowat's endurable cheer is relentless.

> She immediately proceeded to give evidence of what was to be her most salient characteristic. She leaked as no boat I have ever known, before or since, could leak.

> A hundred arms began to wave as hoarse voices were raised in a great shout. Jack, at the wheel of the red beast, was delighted. He thought the people were welcoming him to Muddy Hole. He also thought he was still on the ill-defined track which led down the boulder scree to the shore of the cove. He was wrong on both counts. There was no road, and the inhabitants were trying vehemently to warn him of this fact. "My son!" one of the observers of the scene told me afterwards. "It were a wunnerful sight to see!" And here I had better explain that in Newfoundland the word "wonderful" still means what it used to mean in older times: full of wonder, full of awe. The car negotiated the first few yards without incident, then the slope abruptly steepened and although Jack, suspecting by now that all was not well, tramped on the brakes, it was too late. Down came the red behemoth, careless of the boulders in its path and heedless of a number of split-stick fences, leaping and bounding with the abandon of a hippopotamus driven mad by hashish

> There was no clutch and no gear box. When, and if, the engine started, the boat immediately began to move. She did not necessarily move forward. It is an idiosyncrasy of the make-and-breaks that when they start they may choose to turn over either to left or to right (which is to say either forward or astern), and there is no way known to man of predicting which direction it is going to be.

> It was Jack who saved us all. He did not even pause to curse, but leapt into the engine room with such alacrity that he caught the bullgine sleeping. Before it knew he was there he had spun the flywheel and, even without a prime, the green beast was so surprised she fired. She had been taken totally off guard, but even as she belched into life she struck back at us, thinking to make us pay for our trickery by starting in reverse. There were a great many people watching from the fish-plant wharf. Since they could not hear the roar of the bullgine above the thunder of the plant machinery they were incredulous of what they saw. Under full sail and snoring bravely along, Happy Adventure slowly came to a stop. Then with all sails still set and drawing—she began to back up. The fish-plant manager, a worldly man who had several times seen motion picture films, said it was like watching a movie that had been reversed. He said he expected to see the schooner back right up Obie's stage, lower her sails, and go to sleep again.

> The engine roared and the heat became so intense that we were sweating almost as much water back into the bilges as we were pumping out. We pumped.

> Trepassey is, as they say in other parts of Newfoundland, "t'place where t'fog is made." I believe it. Happy Adventure lay in Trepassey for almost a week, and during that time we never knew if the sun still shone somewhere, or if it had been extinguished by some cosmic cataclysm.

> "They're a nasty bunch over there. They won't hardly part with a drop of gasoline on tick. Won't give a feller no credit at all. I told 'em last time I filled up there I’d pay 'em when I got the money, and one of these years I may."

> The bullgine had learned how to heat herself up until she got so hot that when we tried to stop her we could not do it. Disconnecting the battery did no good because the igniter, having become incandescent, would continue to fire the gasoline charges anyway. The only way we could stop her was to turn off the gasoline tap at the main tank, and it then took up to five minutes for her to consume the gasoline remaining in her huge carburetor before she would finally give up the ghost. She revealed this distressing new trait the day before the Jeannie Barnes arrived, when we made a voyage across the harbour to the wharf of a small merchant who sold fuel, food, and sundries to fishermen. His dock was crowded with small boats and so, for safety's sake, I ordered Jack to stop the engine while we were still some distance, off. The engine refused to stop and we ploughed ahead at full speed. I managed to heel her over in a sharp turn, doing no more damage to the moored boats than to skin the paint off a trap skiff. Shaken to the quick, I headed the vessel back toward the cen tre of the harbour—whereupon the engine stopped. Naturally it would not start again.

> While stationed in Holland after the end of the Second World War Mike Donovan stole a German v-2 rocket. After painting it blue, building a wooden conning tower on it, and brazenly calling it a one-man submarine, he shipped it back to Canada as a glorious souvenir.

> We had given up our original intention of sailing to the tropics because it was clear from a scrutiny of our log that, even if we maintained our current rate of progress, it would take us sixteen months to reach the Caribbean; twenty-nine months to reach the Azores; and seven and a half years to reach the South Pacific.

> Happy Adventure puttered blindly on into the dark and brooding murk and I was soon fog-chilled, unutterably lonely, and scared to death. Since rum is a known and accepted antidote for all three conditions I took a long, curative drink for each separate ailment

> "Where you bound, Skipper?" someone called across to us. "St. Pierre," I cried back. "Heading to clear Cape St. Mary’s with a five-mile offing." There was a long thoughtful silence from our neighbour. And then: "Well, byes, I don't see how you’re going to do it steering the course you is. Unless, that is, you plans to take her up the Branch River, carry her over the Platform Hills, and put her on a railroad train. If I was you, I'd haul off to port about nine points. Good luck to ye!"

> The thought occurred to me that if we had to find ourselves in a situation of some jeopardy, we were better off aboard Happy Adventure than aboard a well-found, comfortable, and properly equipped yacht. "You have to be kidding!" Jack said when I propounded this idea. "Not at all. Look at it this way. If we were in a hundred-thousand-dollar yacht we’d have to worry like hell about the prospect of losing her. We don't have that worry aboard Happy Adventure."

> They were very good about some other small matters to which I had forgotten to attend before we left Muddy Hole. For one thing, I had not obtained official clearance for my vessel to sail to foreign ports. Also, I had not bothered to have her registered and so I had no papers. No papers. No flag. No port of registration, and not even a name painted on her stern or bow. It was a wonder that Mike and I were not immediately jailed and our ship interned.

> "If one o' they cutters comes onto we, we heaves bags and boxes over side. The salt, bein' heavy, takes the boxes straight down below, and there they stays 'till the salt melts into the water. How long that'll take depends on how much salt you uses and what kind o' bag. A brin bag'll soak out fifty pounds o' salt in fifteen hours; but fifty pounds in a flour sack'll take nigh onto twenty-four hours."

> The cargo that was lovingly unloaded from the skiffs was the real stuff; whereas the cargo we had carried from St. Pierre consisted of fourteen wooden cases—filled with rocks—ballasted with fourteen salt bags—filled with sand. Our role, as determined for us by the Hondas brothers, had been that of a stalking horse charged with deflecting and preoccupying the hounds of the law

> They had her hauled on the slip, nominally for repairs, but when they discovered she only needed cleaning out and the replacement of one plank in her counter, they arranged to increase the repair costs by the simple expedient of tearing off six feet of her stern with crowbars.

> What, two months earlier, had appeared to be the prospect of a pleasant voyage to Expo now loomed as an ordeal from which it seemed unlikely that any of us would emerge unscathed. My one remaining hope was that the weather, which had been atrocious since late May, would stay that way until October, giving me at least a semi-legitimate excuse for remaining snugly moored in Messers Cove until the whole idiotic scheme had been forgotten. The weather on the Sou'west Coast being what it was, I felt reasonably safe in publicly announcing that we would sail on the first fair-weather day. Wednesday, August second, dawned fair. … The inexplicable facts are these: when I woke at nine o'clock it was to find a clear, cloudless day, not a breath of wind, perfect visibility, and a sea as calm as an average lily pond. And Happy Adventure was not leaking. At first I did not believe any of it, but when conditions had not changed by noon I had to accept the unpalatable conclusion that there was nothing, short of my sabotaging the boat or engine, that was going to enable me to abandon the voyage.

> "She sucked the mud right into her," Ralph explained. "Filled her pores right up with mud. Now she can't leak no matter how she tries…not until the mud washes out of her, that is. And when it does, well, you better find yourself another mud bank, quick."

> "Put back? God almighty, that's all you ever do! If you had the guts of a canary you'd hold your course. Afraid to die, are you? Bloody coward!" I was very much afraid to die, but I was also afraid of having to live with Jack in future years unless I took his dare.

> Once beyond Cap Gaspé, and properly into the estuary of the mighty St. Lawrence River, our progress slowed from a healthy snail's pace, to that of a badly crippled one.

> "Christ Almighty," he burst out. "We could swim to Montreal faster than this!" He was overstating the case a little, but was not far enough off the mark that I cared to argue with him. I kept my peace because, although he was not yet aware of it, we were changing our position in regard to Fame Point. We were getting farther and farther away from it!

> It was perhaps underhanded of me, but I arranged with the man who told me the story to come aboard Happy Adventure one night, and tell it again. When he was through I asked him what would happen to the forlorn little vessel. "The government, they take her for wharfage fees," he said, and, brutally, "they sell her cheap to some fellow in the town. This winter he will haul her out and cut her up for firewood. Good riddance, too." That night Happy Adventure did not leak a drop. When we departed for Quebec on September first, she behaved so well that we ran on by day and by night.

> Somehow Glen had switched his attention from the light on Goose Cape to the bright masthead light of a big ship heading east down the southern channel. Happy Adventure was making about seven knots over the bottom, on a falling tide, and heading resolutely for salt water and for home.

> "Well, dear, it's all over now. Want some coffee? I'll put the kettle on." I swung my legs out of my bunk…and stepped into twelve inches of cold water. She had done it again.
Profile Image for Michael.
152 reviews
January 2, 2023
This was one of my dad's favorite books which I inherited amongst a trunk of other of his favorites. This true story is so funny and well written that I made myself only read about a chapter a week to drag out the good feeling.
251 reviews3 followers
October 20, 2017
The local Newfoundland color in this book is simply delicious, and many of the anecdotes it contains are quite humorous. However, I felt that Mowat's use of a fatuous, James Thurber-esque writing style was somewhat incongruous with the subject matter. If this book is factual, then Mowat came very close to dying on a whole number of occasions; by adopting a lighthearted, humorous approach even while describing the danger, Mowat removes the sense of realism that his otherwise exemplary study of the Newfoundlander outports creates.

In the end, I am forced to compare this book unfavorably to Jerome K Jerome's Three Men in a Boat, which seems an obvious literary antecedent. There, a light-hearted tone makes sense, for the exploits are clearly fictitious, and the dangers encountered on the river exist only in the imaginations of the foolish characters. Mowat's fictionalized version of himself is tilting at genuine giants, not windmills, and deserves prose to match.

Nonetheless, the portrait of a dying Newfoundland (one that is now entirely lost) is so remarkably deep and poignant that I would have given this book four stars but for the ending. Once the Happy Adventure leaves the Newfoundland coast, Mowat seemed to tire of his subject matter, and the book is forced to a quick conclusion without the rich anecdotal tangents that colored the first four-fifths of the narrative.
Profile Image for Gail Amendt.
642 reviews24 followers
July 21, 2018
Farley Mowat was an amazing storyteller, and when he wanted to be funny, he was very, very funny, so I knew this book would be a fun read. In the late 1950's, Farley and his friend and publisher, Jack, bought a boat in Newfoundland, with the intention of having many adventures sailing around the world. What they got instead was a long series of misadventures, as the boat was really not seaworthy, and spent more time being repaired than sailing. Most of these misadventures occurred in and around the many tiny, dying outport communities of southern Newfoundland and in the nearby French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, and involved copious quantities of liquor and wonderfully eccentric local characters. The real beauty of this book is the look it gives us at the locals and their way of life. Along the way, Farley met and married his wife Claire, and I so wish he had elaborated on this. As much of their early courtship seemed to involve the wretched boat, it's a wonder she stuck around. Most of this book was laugh-out-loud funny, but it seemed to fizzle at the end. It's not like Farley Mowat to rush an ending, but he did this time.
Profile Image for Donna.
252 reviews2 followers
July 14, 2018
Another great bedtime book from Margaret's book sale.

I read this story of Farley Mowat's boat many years ago. It was definitely worth reading again. This true tale of his and friends' attempts to get the boat resurrected and afloat is hilarious. It's just good, clean fun....okay it's quite cheeky in a! lot of places.
Aside from the story of the getting the boat out, the characters that you meet in the telling are so funny!

All in all, this is a great book. It's not a long read and I had to pace myself so that I wouldn't finish it too quickly. This would also be a good book to take to the cottage or the beach or the back yard.
582 reviews8 followers
April 14, 2018
This memoir probably belongs in a category called semi-fiction or something like that, given Moeat's reputation for looseneds with the facts. It is a (mostly) humorous tale of Mowat's years in southeast Newfoundland in the 1960s, and his frustrations with a small schooner was less than seaeorthy most of the time. The humor probably does not work for all, but it works better for me than that of Bill Bryson, Mowat being a little mre upbeat.
Profile Image for Dana Stabenow.
Author 125 books1,910 followers
January 30, 2022
Worth reading for the three cardinal tenets of rum drinking in Newfoundland alone. (”The first of these is that as soon as a bottle is placed on a table it must be opened. This is done to “let the air get at it and carry off the black vapors.”)
Profile Image for Matthew Parsons.
127 reviews
February 2, 2017
Holy crap I loved this book. It works even if you don't know anything about sailing and is FUNNY. Mowat is a natural story-teller and I would have loved to have had a few beers with him
Profile Image for Sarah Emtage.
Author 3 books13 followers
November 25, 2019
Dad just read this aloud to us on our road trip. We frequently laughed so hard we could barely breathe.
2 reviews
June 4, 2023
I love historical events like this.
Boats and historical events are what make me love reading. Could you please share the sequel books of your series?

In fact, even though I started reading very late, I'm getting more and more immersed every day.

It is a great chance to read the books of important authors. I know that. I'm looking forward to your new books.

I am writing the importance of reading a book here for friends who want to read this book. I hope it will benefit sellers and customers...

Are the top 10 benefits of reading for all ages:

1. Reading Exercises the Brain

While reading, we have to remember different characters and settings that belong to a given story. Even if you enjoy reading a book in one sitting, you have to remember the details throughout the time you take to read the book. Therefore, reading is a workout for your brain that improves memory function.

2. Reading is a Form of (free) Entertainment

Did you know that most of the popular TV shows and movies are based on books? So why not indulge in the original form of entertainment by immersing yourself in reading. Most importantly, it’s free with your Markham Public Library card.

3. Reading Improves Concentration and the Ability to Focus

We can all agree that reading cannot happen without focus and in order to fully understand the story, we have to concentrate on each page that we read. In a world where gadgets are only getting faster and shortening our attention span, we need to constantly practice concentration and focus. Reading is one of the few activities that requires your undivided attention, therefore, improving your ability to concentrate.

4. Reading Improves Literacy

Have you ever read a book where you came across an unfamiliar word? Books have the power to improve your vocabulary by introducing you to new words. The more you read, the more your vocabulary grows, along with your ability to effectively communicate. Additionally, reading improves writing skills by helping the reader understand and learn different writing styles.

5. Reading Improves Sleep

By creating a bedtime routine that includes reading, you can signal to your body that it is time to sleep. Now, more than ever, we rely on increased screen time to get through the day. Therefore, by setting your phone aside and picking up a book, you are telling your brain that it is time to quiet down. Moreover, since reading helps you de-stress, doing so right before bed helps calm your mind and anxiety and improve the quality of sleep.

6. Reading Increases General Knowledge

Books are always filled with fun and interesting facts. Whether you read fiction or non-fictions, books have the ability to provide us with information we would’ve otherwise not known. Reading a variety of topics can make you a more knowledgeable person, in turn improving your conversation skills.

7. Reading is Motivational

By reading books about protagonists who have overcome challenges, we are oftentimes encouraged to do the same. The right book can motivate you to never give up and stay positive, regardless of whether it’s a romance novel or a self-help book.

Profile Image for Dan Trefethen.
767 reviews23 followers
April 4, 2023
Comfort read. I read this 50 years ago shortly after it was published in 1969, and I was living in Canada. It was interesting to revisit it.

Farley Mowat, with no seafaring experience, decides to buy a boat (relatively unseen) in Newfoundland and set sail down the Maritimes. Hilarity and hijinks ensue, and Murphy's Law reigns supreme. He encounters friendly if odd people along the way who help him, along with various crew members.

This book sort of fell into a category popular at the time, the 'hilarious outdoor adventure' where the protagonist was overwhelmed by (nature, technology, vehicles, boats, fish, etc.). “The Long Long Trailer” appeared in 1951 and was made into a movie with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. The books of Patrick McManus are in this genre. More recently, Bill Bryson worked this area with his humorous travelogues about Australia and England. Even Cheryl Strayed's “Wild” sort of falls into this category, although it is more self-reflective than the others.

Mowat's approach is closer to Mark Twain, who said something like “never let the truth get in the way of a good story” and appreciated a good 'stretcher'. Just as Twain's funny travelogues need to be taken with a grain of salt, so do Mowat's humorous stories. I don't doubt that he bought and operated a boat in this way, but I suspect many of the anecdotes are 'enhanced for effect.' Some of his other books such as “The Dog Who Wouldn't Be” and “Never Cry Wolf” should be viewed in this way. (Although whether true or not, the latter book was made into a terrific movie.)

Can the book still be read and enjoyed today? Yes, although some of the 'old boy' jokes about women are wince-inducing. Still, it captures a time and place (Newfoundland coast, 1960s) that may have changed quite a bit. Or maybe not...I haven't been there.
Profile Image for Paul.
182 reviews
July 30, 2017
The Boat Who Wouldn't Float is one of renowned and prolific Canadian author Farley Mowat's more lighthearted and romantic works. It recounts his rash purchase of an unseaworthy Newfoundland schooner, his efforts to make her fit to sail, and the 5 years he spent among the outports of Canada's youngest province.

Ironically christened Happy Adventure before her untrustworthiness and penchant for catastrophic mechanical and hull failure were fully realized, the boat consumed Mowat's life during this period. His original goal - to sail to the Caribbean with his friend Jack - became, instead, a series of mishaps and misfortune mixed with joy, wonder, humor and deep friendships. The little ship sank several times, was refitted several more, and put Mowat and his crew in harm's way often. It was also a means of bonding between the author and the communities he encountered, the people he met, and the woman who would eventually become his wife.

Mowat writes with wit, wisdom and a deep affection for life. The Boat Who Wouldn't Float will leave reader shaking their heads, smiling, and with an appreciation for the significant risks and heartfelt rewards that come with sailing among the stormy and fog-shrouded reaches of the North Atlantic.
Profile Image for Mark Lisac.
Author 7 books29 followers
May 27, 2021
Made me laugh, made me admire the writing that has plenty worth reading on every page, and made me forget the covid epidemic and other ills of the world while enjoying the voyage through Mowat's Neverland. One suspects exaggeration at work here; perhaps some disguising of names and compression of events as well. How could so many disasters fall one after another? Going along for the ride is all part of the generous spirit in which the book is written. It's not just about the boat. Mowat cleverly worked an admiring portrait of southeastern Newfoundland and its people. If so inclined, one might even take the rickety and cantankerous little schooner, called the Happy Adventure when it was not briefly sailing under a Basque name, as a symbol of the province itself, somehow kept afloat by optimism and willing hands. The 1974 McClelland and Stewart edition also has scores of great drawings illustrating the text. Now if only Mowat had explained how an Ontario shipyard owner finally solved the boat's years-long tendency to leak … well, why not leave a little mystery?
171 reviews2 followers
July 28, 2022
It's a nice story, I suppose. Mowat spins a yarn displaying occasional literary leaps sprinkled among the more directly told tale, and while I appreciate these I wonder what the book might have been had he dedicated more energy in that direction. The book sure dissuades me from even the slightest inclination to buy a boat.

A couple of nagging problems. (1) Where, oh where, does he find the money to repair, and repair, and REPAIR this boat? The story spans years but there's nary a hint as to his means of support, never mind where he finds the funds to bankroll this money pit. (2) Poor Claire...it's implied that there's a relationship between Mowat and Claire, but he doesn't acknowledge any relationship at all. She's barely mentioned, yet she's evidently a fairly constant companion. Were I Claire, I'd be upset.

In the chapters approaching the conclusion, I really didn't care very much if the boat made it to Montreal, or not.
Profile Image for Kenton Shantz.
12 reviews
January 4, 2021
Great read. I enjoyed getting reacquainted with Mowat's writing style.

A testament to the effectiveness of his prose is that upon completion of the book, I find myself briefly considering the feasibility of undertaking a naval voyage myself. Since this has come about after reading an entire book regarding a mutinous boat who refuses to float, I'm forced to conclude that either I'm going slightly crazy during lockdown or that Mowat managed to convey his love for his vessel and the misadventures he had on it in such a way that they are both engaging and appealing.*

*Personally, I'm going to go with the second option but your mileage may vary.
Profile Image for Moon.
102 reviews2 followers
January 30, 2023
Listen, there are absolutely some laugh out loud moments here. Full blown slapstick in a couple of spots. And I did laugh out loud.

But I did find myself just sort of plodding through a fair bit of it, and it lost my attention way too easily. Also, when I would be going through it smoothly, if I put the book down for any reason, even a moment? I had trouble getting back up to pace.

So, 3.5* - definitely enjoyed myself but took far too long for such a short book.

(One nice surprise - expected a lot more cultural insensitivity considering the book's age, but there were only a few places that made me raise an eyebrow.)
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