So *much* not-my-thing

Master and Commander by Patrick
O’Brian
I honestly don’t recall the last time a book made me this darn
annoyed. (Every time I looked at it, I was tempted to snarl. Eventually, I gave
in; this was not pretty.) 
I was railing so much about having to read it that
finally someone said that maybe I could find a summary online
and just stop reading it. I tell you, I was sorely tempted.
The only reason I persevered (sort of) was that this book was
assigned for a genre study. And I agree that it’s the right book to represent
this military/adventure subgenre of historical fiction.
But damn, I hated it.
(hated it, hated it, hated it!!)
And I’m telling you, I’m just plain flummoxed. I have talked with
readers over the years who positively love this book and this series. For
Pete’s sake, Keith Richards loves
this series!
I could barely even read it.
I shall now open the book to a random page and type the first two
sentences upon which my eyes land:
“Merriment, roaring high spirits before this: then some chance
concatenation, or some hidden predilection (or rather inherent bias) working
through, and the main is in the road he cannot leave but must go on, making it
deeper and deeper (a groove, or channel), until he is lost in his mere
character—persona—no longer human, but an accretion of qualities belonging to
this character. James Dillon was a delightful being.” (p. 181)
See?! This is what I’m talking about!
(There are those out there who survived two separate episodes of “I’m now going
to open this book to a random page and read aloud…”)
I tried to skim it, and it’s impossible to skim. But it’s also
impossible to read. (See two-sentence excerpt above.)
In this book, I think there were some battles. And for some reason, at the end,
Jack Aubrey appears to be getting court-martialed, and I have no earthly idea why.
(I know why I don’t know why: because I was skimming
the unskimmable!
)
Patrick O’Brian, we are not going to be spending any more time
together. 
Goodbye, Aubrey and Maturin.
Go and do your thing.
I’m going to go and do mine. (Probably it will involve reading
something plain, stark, and pure. I’m sorely in need of an antidote.)

by

Reader, librarian, & happy little geek

7 thoughts on “So *much* not-my-thing

  1. lol I have to admit that I could probably have written many of the same things when I read this book… I wanted to enjoy it, actually, but I hated it. I still see reviews all the time where people love his books, but I haven't attempted to try again…

  2. KEITH RICHARDS???
    Oh my lord you just blew my mind.
    Maybe that explains his role in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies?

    Yeah, I was going to comment to say a resounding "right there with you…" Two of my very best friends LOVE the series and I have tried them and cannot get into them.
    Did like the eye candy in the Master and Commander movie though. Not that I'm shallow like that, or anything. (I am.)

  3. Bybee — Oh, don't let my irritability dissuade you from reading something on the TBR! You might like it. (Of course, then I'd wonder about you, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it…)

    Elizabeth — Funny! In his book, Keith Richards talks about his love of this series, and how the 2 main characters' friendship kind of reminds him of himself and Jagger. So *that's* interesting. I'm with you about the movie. No complaints there.

  4. Mome Rath

    Hmm — I haven't read Master and Commander, but I'd considered it once I finish the Horatio Hornblower series. Your review (and the quote in particular) does make me want to hold off a bit…
    Have you tried Forester's Hornblower series? I've found them readable and enjoyable (Lieutenant Hornblower is a good place to start).

  5. Mome — I've heard great things about the Hornblower series, and it's good to hear you enjoyed it. I think I'll hold off a while… I'm currently feeling surly toward the historical seafaring tales. : )

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