July 20, 2015

Recent Reads

81. The Architect's Apprentice
This is historical fiction set in Istanbul in the time of the Ottoman Empire. I did enjoy the sense of place, what with slaves, harems, eunuchs, and a white elephant, and while the writing is not bad, I found myself rather bored with the story. So after 131 pages, I'm bailing on it. I really enjoyed her novel The Bastard of Istanbul, but this one missed the mark for me. Rating: 1 star.

82. Shadow Divers
This nonfiction book lives up to its subtile: The true adventures of two Americans who risked everything to solve one of the last mysteries of World War II. 

In order to fully appreciate my review of this book, you need to know that I am not a World War II (or WWI for that matter) buff in any shape or form. Yes, I've watched loads of war movies, and was that person; the one asking are those the Germans or allies? Am I the only one who did not know that you could tell them apart merely based on their head gear? 

I had never even heard of this book until a I read a review by a Goodreads friend, Carol K. It sounded interesting, so I immediately got it on audio, which is wonderfully read by Michael Prichard, and started listening to it on my walks. I was immediately hooked. 

This story of deep water wreck divers stumbling across a sunken German U-boat off the New Jersey coast in 1991, and how they go about trying to determine its identity is a fascinating and gripping read. This is my fave kind of narrative nonfiction, and the cast of characters alone are worth the price of admission. I have always been fascinated by people who push their bodies and psyches to the extremes. I think it is their obsession that I admire - that single minded focus, damn the consequences. 

I learned much about many things, and plan to watch some U-Boat movies in the near future. The only reason this book did not get the additional star is because the writing is choppy and repetitive at times, but even if you are not a history-war-diving buff, check it out for a fascinating ride. PS. My audiobook had a short interview with the two main divers in this story which was quite fun. Rating: 4 stars.

83. Flight, Vol. 2
I've been dipping in and out of this collection of short graphic novels over the past week, and as with any anthology, some stories are way better than others. Still, I quite appreciated the diversity of artists and styles represented in this one. It is a much fatter book than Volume 1, and a stronger collection overall. Rating: 3 stars.

1 comment:

Ben Simon said...

I loved shadow divers. This bit of advice still plays in my head when I'm in an especially stressful situation.