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Book 19

  1. Matheson, Richard — I Am Legend (161 pages)
  2. McCarthy, Cormac — No Country for Old Men (307 pages)
  3. Dexter, Gary — Why Not Catch 21?: The Stories Behind the Titles (213 pages)
  4. Ryman, Geoff — 253 (366 pages)
  5. Wyndham, John — The Day of the Triffids (267 pages)
  6. Kurkov, Andrey — Death and the Penguin (228 pages)
  7. Chesterton, G.K. — Orthodoxy (183 pages)
  8. Gibbs, Christopher H., ed. — The Cambridge Companion to Schubert (334 pages)
  9. Sendak, Maurice — Where the Wild Things Are (48 pages — though only 1 page will count towards my tally)
  10. Hurston, Zora Neale — Their Eyes Were Watching God (215 pages)
  11. Clarke, Arthur C. — Rendezvous With Rama (245 pages)
  12. Clarke, Arthur C. — The City and the Stars (246 pages)
  13. Chesterton, G.K. — The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare (205 pages)
  14. Tepper, Sheri S. — Beauty (468 pages)
  15. Slawson, Douglas J. — Ambition and Arrogance: Cardinal William O'Connell of Boston and the American Catholic Church (186 pages)
  16. Belloc, Hilaire — The Great Heresies (166 pages)
  17. Waugh, Evelyn — Brideshead Revisited (326 pages)
  18. Rawicz, Slavomir — The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom (278 pages)
  19. Junger, Sebastian — The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea (309 pages)

Page count: 4509.

After the uncertainty surrounding The Long Walk, I wanted to read a "true story" that I knew to be true. I just happened to have Junger's account sitting on my shelf, having picked it up for something ridiculous like 20p when walking to Hampstead Heath with seinneann_ceoil last summer.

Part of what makes The Perfect Storm such a powerful book is its honesty and integrity: Junger makes no attempt to tell the story he doesn't know. Nobody really knows what transpired on the Andrea Gail, only that she didn't make it back. Sure, Junger speculates, but it's always based on the experiences of other fishermen, on basic procedure every boat captain follows, or on science; and such speculation is limited. Junger's is a journalistic, fact-filled account. He doesn't attempt to tell us too much about what might be going on with the Andrea Gail, but instead fills us with so much information about the crew, their friends and family, the fishing industry, ship building, the Coast Guard and navy rescue procedures, meteorology, wave theory, history of the region, and real stories from others that we can well imagine ourselves what must have been going on aboard the Andrea Gail. I never suspected I wanted to learn so much about these various subjects, but Junger's account is as fascinating as it is informative.

I watched the movie again shortly after finishing the book. I remember liking it the first time around, and it is a decent movie, but it pales in comparison. Obviously, the movie couldn't follow the same formula as the book. It never would have worked. Instead, it constructs a narrative from bits and pieces of anecdote and other information. It tells a pretty good story, but I feel it doesn't do full justice to the lives and stories of Gloucester fishermen, certainly not the way Junger's book comprehensively does.

I wonder which is stranger: that every other book I read seems to mention Panamá, however obliquely, or that both this and the next book I read feature a Chris Hansen from Massachusetts?

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
sanba38
Jul. 29th, 2008 01:29 am (UTC)
Sebastian Junger on Studio 360

I actually used this show in my 5th grade classroom. Please don't ask me what the content standard was.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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