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message 1: by Monissa, Deck Hand (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:23PM) (new)

Monissa | 87 comments Mod
I decided to read these in the order they were written. Finished Beat to Quarters/The Happy Return this week.

Wasn't overly taken with it. In fact, I found the first chapters rather dull and the writing was awkward in places, so I put it down for a few days. When I went back to it, it picked up within a few pages. Easy read, if nothing else.

I'll give the second one a try, once I find a copy, and then see what I think.


message 2: by Debbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:23PM) (new)

Debbie Moorhouse You've been spoilt by O'Brian :D.


message 3: by Monissa, Deck Hand (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:23PM) (new)

Monissa | 87 comments Mod
Oh yes.

Now, are you going to read it?


message 4: by Debbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:23PM) (new)

Debbie Moorhouse It's on my wishlist :). And after the amount we just had to pay to have the car serviced, that's probably where it'll stay!


message 5: by Melissa (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:23PM) (new)

Melissa (melissaharl) | 21 comments Hello Monissa,

I can see why you're reading the Hornblower books in the order they were written -- but the characters get less wooden and the settings more alive a few books into the series, which of course was not written in a set chronological sequence. This tendency is visible I think, to a lesser extent to be sure, in O'Brian.

I think some of the books about the younger Hornblower, written a bit later when Forester had hit his stride, are the most fun. My personal favorite of the series is Lieutenant Hornblower, which is told from the perspective of Wm. Bush. Yet my second favorite is probably Admiral Hornbloer in the West Indies.

I long have wished that O'Brian would have felt free to diverge from his linear chronology (even with a decade-long 1812!) so that he could have written about Jack and/or Stephen before they met in 1801, or alternately, in the longish gaps between some of the story lines in the earlier books.


message 6: by Monissa, Deck Hand (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:24PM) (new)

Monissa | 87 comments Mod
This is good to know. I think writers of series books either peak with the first book and never quite reach that high again, or they better as they write more. I was hoping for the latter, which is why I decided to read them in the order they were written.


Mohammed Abdi Osman | 40 comments Any fans of Hornblower books in this group that are reading the books ?

An old topic but i was wondering if there were any fans that arent decades old fans of the books.
I discovered him with The Happy Return only late 2008 and was so impressed that i have read chrono wise from Mr Midshipman Hornblower,Lieutenant Hornblower,Hornblower and the Hotspur,Hornblower under The Crisis and currently reading Hornblower and the Atropos.


message 8: by Ron (new)

Ron | 3 comments Hello Mohammed, right now I'm tied up with Bernard Cornwell's The Last Kingdom but I have been eyein the Hornblower series. I was also considering reading Master and Commander but have not made up my mind what I want to read next. I wonder if Monissa ever progressed further in this series??


message 9: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse I haven't even started with Hornblower. There were some Alexander Kents in the charity shop that I looked at thoughtfully, but I left with only a bio of Wellington and a book by Charlotte Bronte.


message 10: by Mohammed Abdi Osman (last edited May 05, 2009 03:58PM) (new)

Mohammed Abdi Osman | 40 comments I tried Master and Commander but it wasnt as interesting read as Hornblower. Sailing wise,character wise,showing the historical times in a good way i think Hornblower is unbeatable.

I will read O'Brian again after Forester only because im interesting in historical nautical tales now and there isnt many series like that that might actually be good.


I have read many historical fiction writers from Conn Iggulden to Cornwell but C.S Forester is a must read to me. You dont even have to be intersted naval story to like it. I never even cared about nautical,navy stories before it in any genre from historical to fantasy.


message 11: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse I think Master & Commander is pretty intimidating to start with--lots of nautical terms thrown at the reader. The books are worth persevering with, though. There is plenty of action to come!


message 12: by Mohammed Abdi Osman (last edited May 05, 2009 04:21PM) (new)

Mohammed Abdi Osman | 40 comments Nautical terms arent a problem for me.

The first Hornblower book i read i didnt understand a word of the terms. I used wiki every 5-10 mins until i find a wiki page that explained everything from the tack,abaft and many more complicated stuff.

So it wasnt the terms that was the problem for me. Maybe i will have a different perpective reading it again after several books of another Naval series. I have a big interest in the naval story,action but characters make or break series like these.


message 13: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse Many of the events in the Master & Commander books are based on real actions by Thomas Cochrane. So you could just go straight to the source material :).


Mohammed Abdi Osman | 40 comments Yeah i could and i could do the same with Hornblower and the people,history its based on but i quite like historical fiction.

I have interest in historical non-fiction books too. But there is no hurry to this part of history.
Reading the real history about those days would ruin the books.




message 15: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse That's certainly possible!


message 16: by Mohammed Abdi Osman (last edited May 06, 2009 04:56AM) (new)

Mohammed Abdi Osman | 40 comments The first book i ever bought was a historical bio about the war century of europe in 1600s. The 30 years war.

Now i have interest in other times too. I will go after Asian,african. The Ottman Empire history. Since they conqured my homeland in 1700s,1800s(Somalia) our family name is Osman from the turkish Ottman.

Also Napoleon era history. The guy was a fascinating man.
Who wouldnt be interested in a guy that went from a small island that wasnt seen as French to Emperor,almost conquered most of europe. I always wish in school that the history class was more Napoleon and his times,less French Revolution,WWII was something you learned about every year...


message 17: by Ryan (new)

Ryan (mountzionryan) | 10 comments Ah, Hornblower. The first real book I read in the genre was Admiral Hornblower and despite being somewhat at sea with the backstory, I was hooked. I've since read both Hornblower and POB and much prefer POB.

That said, I think the comparison is unfair. In general I find Hornblower to be adventure stories while POB are literary novels about two friends. Apples and oranges.

I am currently rereading both series (going back and forth every few books).


message 18: by Mohammed Abdi Osman (last edited May 06, 2009 05:42AM) (new)

Mohammed Abdi Osman | 40 comments Literary story part is hype to me. Its historical fiction, its not Shakespeare or Edgar Allan Poe....

Dont mean any disrespect but just say POB series is simply better. I have heard that literary part too much. Dont make excuses like that.

Just because his writing style is different and not as straigtforward doesnt change that the fact both series are the same type of book. C.S Forester writing just is more fit for historical fiction.

Hornblower is both adventure and also a good account of the times. Sailing,naval part wise is really good too.


message 19: by Ryan (new)

Ryan (mountzionryan) | 10 comments I respectfully disagree. I think that Forester is writing historical fiction (wherein the historical aspect is of utmost importance) and uses an interesting character as his protagonist, while POB is writing literary fiction about Aubrey and Maturin and the historical aspect is is secondary.

Stylistically, Patrick O'Brian is intentionally writing in a style contemporary with the period he is writing about. Clever cove that one, he got me to read and thoroughly enjoy Pride and Prejudice.


message 20: by Mohammed Abdi Osman (last edited May 06, 2009 12:42PM) (new)

Mohammed Abdi Osman | 40 comments Ryan wrote: "I respectfully disagree. I think that Forester is writing historical fiction (wherein the historical aspect is of utmost importance) and uses an interesting character as his protagonist, while POB ..."


Style contemporary to the period is good and all but saying he is writing literary fiction is very snob way out of putiting it,just like people who think you cant write quality in genre fiction.

Of course i got the style while reading POB. I dont read historical fiction for books that are adventure oriented or books that tell more calm story about the times. You read good historical stories of any kind.

Like i said you can say 100 better reasons why you think POB series are better than saying writing "literary fiction"....



message 21: by Ryan (new)

Ryan (mountzionryan) | 10 comments I continue to disagree.
I didn't say I liked POB better because it is "literary fiction." You assumed that. I like POB better for a number of other reasons. But I still really like Forester, I just consider him to be writing a different kind of story altogether.

You disagree and call me a snob. Fine. Obviously you like Forester better. When I want a rip-roaring adventure, I prefer Forester too.


message 22: by Mohammed Abdi Osman (last edited May 06, 2009 02:23PM) (new)

Mohammed Abdi Osman | 40 comments Ryan wrote: "I continue to disagree.
I didn't say I liked POB better because it is "literary fiction." You assumed that. I like POB better for a number of other reasons. But I still really like Forester, I ..."


I assumed because you said literary fiction like its something higher. Its just another type of fiction.

It doesnt matter to me who you really like of them two. I just reacted to the way you put it. I know there are writers that are more literary than others. I have read those in Science fiction,fantasy,horror,classic mainstream fiction.

But literary fiction is just another type of fiction. There are crappy lit there too.

Thats what i reacted to. I didnt mean to call you snob, it just sounded like that to me.




message 23: by Ron (new)

Ron | 3 comments Hey guys--- literary-pertaining to or of the nature of books and writings, And novel---a fictitious prose narrative of considerable length and complexity, portraying characters and usually presenting a sequential organization of action and scenes. Both of you are right in your own way.....I just am so happy that all of these wonderful authors have given us a place to spend our "quiet time" in their worlds.


message 24: by Monissa, Deck Hand (new)

Monissa | 87 comments Mod
I got up to the last one chronologically and didn't really feel like reading any more. It was like, this is where the character ends up so it's the end of the story. Maybe if I'd been more engaged with the characters by then, I might have gone back to the later, um, earlier ones. You know what I mean! I prefer a bit more "depth of character" over "adventure". Although I am looking out for the DVDs, I much prefer "adventure" on the screen.

I find it amusing too, that my favourite part didn't even take place at sea, but on a river :)




message 25: by Mohammed Abdi Osman (last edited May 07, 2009 04:08AM) (new)

Mohammed Abdi Osman | 40 comments Favourite part in book ?

Since i read the books chrono order i must the first book Happy Return/Beat Quarters is stronger when its about characters than the prequals/younger Hornblower books.


Also i must wonder have you guys read any other good historical fiction about naval stories,sailing stories ? Doesnt have to be about the english navy or the same time period.


message 26: by Monissa, Deck Hand (new)

Monissa | 87 comments Mod
I can't remember the titles of the Hornblower books I read :\




message 27: by Mohammed Abdi Osman (last edited May 07, 2009 04:51AM) (new)

Mohammed Abdi Osman | 40 comments Heh they seem pretty easy to remember to me. Maybe you read too many in a row.

About prefering adventure on the screen i must say i have never seen a good historicl movie,tv show of any kind that could be near as good as a historical book. Unlike other genres.
A good action,horror,western,fantasy on screen for example for example.

Tv,movies seem to struggle with historical stories. They overdo it. Braveheart for example....

Thats why i admire my favorite Historical fiction writers so much.


message 28: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse You didn't add the book to GR, mon?

I saw a book in Waterstones by an author I wanted to try, but it was over £30 (for a paperback!) so I didn't. There's also Alexander Kent but I haven't read him either. Maybe have a look at some of the books on the group shelves and then click-thro for GR members' reviews.


message 29: by Monissa, Deck Hand (new)

Monissa | 87 comments Mod
I did read too many in a row. I wouldn't be able to put a title to the story without looking at the actual book.


message 30: by Mohammed Abdi Osman (last edited May 07, 2009 06:00AM) (new)

Mohammed Abdi Osman | 40 comments SF SQRL wrote: "You didn't add the book to GR, mon?

I saw a book in Waterstones by an author I wanted to try, but it was over £30 (for a paperback!) so I didn't. There's also Alexander Kent but I haven't read hi..."



Same here cause im on my 6 book of 11 Hornblower in few months. Eventually i will run out of books.

I have to look for other authors. Both early writers and contemporary writers.


message 31: by Ryan (new)

Ryan (mountzionryan) | 10 comments Well there's Fredrick Marryat, whom I have not yet read, who really started the whole genre of Napoleonic Naval fiction. He had the advantage of being an officer in the RN, being promoted to Lieutenant Dec. 26 1812
here's his GoodReads page.

There's Joseph Conrad, good nautical fiction, but not naval. Naomi Novik if you like some fantasy in your historical fiction.



message 32: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse Marryat developed semaphore. He's an interesting character in his own right.


Mohammed Abdi Osman | 40 comments I know of Naomi Novak and i have had her recommended to me cause of what kind of series she wrote with Napoleonic fantasy series.


Joseph Conrad nautical series i checked up too but they werent too interesting. Short stories that didnt see to be much compared to what he is famous.


message 34: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse I read one of Naomi Novak's books and there wasn't too much in it about the navy. It also didn't seem particularly well researched, imo.


Mohammed Abdi Osman | 40 comments Which book was it ?

I know her series are famous for being Napoleonic wars with dragons. May not be much navy and very historical.

Still i find the idea of blending that type of fantasy with history so interesting so i hope that series of hers is good. Napoleonic era interest me alot in historical or fantasy doesnt matter much.


message 36: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse It was the first book--Temeraire. I think it may have different titles, tho. A lot of people like her books, but I was very disappointed in that one.


message 37: by Ryan (new)

Ryan (mountzionryan) | 10 comments I liked the first book. A Lot. It had all the familiar social trappings of Hornblower in an entirely new organization.

Honestly though, I got tired of the conceit after the first book.

Or maybe I just prefer straight historical fiction (or non-fiction) to fantasy/historical fiction.

Probably more the last part. YMMV.


message 38: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse I'm pretty sure Hornblower doesn't evade the conflict as much as Temeraire did :).


message 39: by Ron (new)

Ron | 3 comments I have read Naomi's "Her Majesty's Dragon" and it was a fairly brisk read. Though I enjoyed the book her characters are kinda shallow and predictable.To me it is a bit more fantasy than historical but still a nice read. The setting is excellent and the Dragon Temeraire is developed fairly well. I will continue to read the series so the jury is still out on this one. Also, I read Cornwell's "The Last Kingdom" and I cannot say enough about this book.Excellent charaterization,solid storyline, he draws you into the enviroment very well,and with elements of humor and a well developed historical background this book should be on everyone's to read list. Also there is almost enough armchair sailor in it...!!!


message 40: by Ryan (new)

Ryan (mountzionryan) | 10 comments If we're going to bring Cornwell into the discussion, I can't say enough good things about the Saxon Stories. I love that series.


message 41: by Coalbanks (last edited May 08, 2009 07:05PM) (new)

Coalbanks | 16 comments Sea of Grey: An Alan Lewrie Naval Adventure (Alan Lewrie Naval Adventures (Paperback))
by Dewey Lambdin Successor to Forester & POB??
Ramage (The Lord Ramage Novels)
by Dudley Pope
Farley Mowat for fiction & auto-bio novels some about sailing, somewhat.
Tristan Jones - auto-bios but good reads
Eric Newby Last Grain Race - auto-bio but a good read
Two Years before the Mast: A Sailor's Life at Sea
by Richard Henry Dana Jr.
Slow Boats to China
by Gavin Young Too good to pass up.
In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex
by Nathaniel Philbrick


message 42: by Ryan (new)

Ryan (mountzionryan) | 10 comments Coalbanks wrote: "...In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex
by Nathaniel Philbrick "


I love Philbrick. His book on the USExEx, Sea of Glory, is really good.




message 43: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse I loved In the Heart of the Sea. Also, Mayflower. Although that book made me sad.


message 44: by Bramble (new)

Bramble Here's another USExEx volume I found quite rewarding: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16...


message 45: by Pippin (new)

Pippin | 5 comments I need advice. I have read most of A/M series and keep getting Hornblower recommendations. If/when i start reading that series, should i read the books in chronological order or the order they were written in?
opinions please...


message 46: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (melissaharl) | 21 comments Hi Pippin,

I would advise reading them in chronological order, starting with Mr. Midshipman Hornblower (see my comment above in message #5 in this thread). Then when you get to the "later" books that Forester wrote first, you can fill in the blanks a bit with the character.

My two cents!

Philip


Mohammed Abdi Osman | 40 comments I recommend reading Beat to Quarters which is the first Hornblower written and not the first chronology wise. If you like that book then you can go with chrono order.

I think the later books are better written than the younger Hornblower books.


message 48: by Pippin (new)

Pippin | 5 comments thank you Philip and Mohammed for your guidance. in the end, i will probably just read them based on availability of audio books from my library, but at least i can try to read them in chrono order.


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