sugoll (sugoll) wrote,

Yo ho ho!

There's been some book-reading of late.

First up, The Pirates, a history by Charles Johnson from 1726, and covering the lives of many of the infamous pirates: Blackbeard, Kidd, Bonney, Read, Rackam, Roberts, and so on. It's quite a tedious read, really. Lots of "then they took a sloop, Chambers, master, that they burned, and then stayed in Madagascar for two weeks, to clean. Then they took..." And so on. Plus, some accounts are filled out by details of executions and trials. But some bits are interesting. Roberts is about a quarter to a third of the whole book. Mary Read is the most interesting tale, I feel, having some actual pathos behind it.

Then, straight after that, I swung into Tim Powers' On Stranger Tides, recently republished (hurrah!). It's one of Powers' earlier books, back when he was doing historical fantasies, and it oozes research. It's a pirate story, and throws in Blackbeard, Bonnet and Bonney, and probably others, as Jack Shandy races around the Carribean trying to rescue Beth Hurwood. I'd be astounded if all the movements of the various vessels, individuals and the respective authorities weren't bang-on - even the dialogue from Blackbeard's death is word-for-word as reported by Johnson.

Just finished reading it, having left it for a few days over Christmas, as there was only a small amount to go: no point taking it to k's parents if I'd have finished it before the train left the station.

In the back of the book, it notes that Babbage Press are also going to republish The Stress of Her Regard, another hard-to-find Powers (as that link shows...). So hurrah!

I'll probably have to re-read this again soon, before Johnson's histories fade from my memory.
Tags: books
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