20000 Leagues under the sea

20000 Leagues under the sea

For a long time I’ve been curious about the works of Jules Verne, mainly as a result of his numerous references in movies. I thought surely this must be for a reason, they must be fantastic works of fiction. However i have always had a sense of trepidation, in regards to classical science fiction.  Thinking his works will be very period defined and out of touch in the modern world. These thoughts are drawn out by such instances as, the novel/movie 2001 a space odyssey, Describes moon bases and interplanetary ships in the year 2001. This novel was written in the late 1960’s and reality feel far short of what was depicted. So how would a novel fare that was written in the 1870’s For this reason alone i have avoided the works of Jules Verne until now….

Having recently spun through numerous adventure novels recently, i decided to finally bite the bullet and see how “the classic” adventure novel goes. I had recently acquired a copy of the book from an online sale, however once it arrived it worked its way to the bottom of my to-read pile. Needless to say when i finally picked it up and begun to read it i was in for quite a shock

The Novel is surprisingly scientifically accurate, which of course was something i was worried it would not be able to do. The authors knowledge and description of a submarine is stunning considering how primitive the ships were of the day. I quickly fell into this book and without realizing it,  was on the edge of my seat so to speak throughout this impressive adventure. To be honest i was quite shocked at how well the book ages for almost 3/4 of the book i found it extremely difficult to put an age to it as to when it was written, since the adventures and science involved was remarkably accurate. it wasn’t until our adventure took us to a sunken mythical continent and to the south pole that some scientific inaccuracies surfaced

Those inaccuracies aside, it is a book filled with wonder. The author takes us on a remarkable journey that can only really be compared to a being in a documentary from the national geographic. The descriptions of sea life was incredibly detailed but not too overdone as to bore the reader with numerous listings of classification. Prior to reading this book i was always perplexed about its title. Since a league is a distance and not a depth, fortunately that discrepancy is taken care of by the end of the book. It is quite a grand adventure and as a result has definitely made me seriously consider reading another of his novels

 

Matt

 

The Numa Files – Book 7 – The Navigator

The Numa Files – Book 7 – The Navigator

It all started a few years back, with an impulse buy at an airport, as i had forgotten to pack a book for the trip. 4 hours later, by the time the plane had landed i was hooker on Clive Cussler.

For me all it took was an intriguing blurb on the back for me to say ill take it. But it was because of the story inside (Arctic Drift) that has kept me returning back to Clive many a time. I now have over 30 of his books and he is definitely in my top 5 authors

His books for the most part are broken up into series based on the Protagonist. There is the Dirt Pitt series of 22 books so far, all of which i have enjoyed. NUMA Files consisting of 12 books, as well as the Oregon Files (9 books), The Isaac Bell Adventures (8 books), and the Fargo adventures (6 books) the later 3 series of which  i have not.  It was the 20th book (Arctic Drift) in the Dirt Pitt series that got me hooked on the author. In the Dirk Pitt series of novels there are the occasional crossover with characters from other novels, such as with Kurt Austin, the protagonist from the NUMA Files series of books. So naturally since i was hooked on the author once i finished the Dirt Pitt series i started off on the NUMA Files series, as i had really liked the main protagonist Kurt Austin each time he appeared in the other series

Prior to the start of this blog, i had read the first 6 books in the series hence why i’m starting from the 7th book now. Each book is a standalone story with minimal carryover to the next aside from an odd comment here or there. Or perhaps a change in title as someone is promoted. Kurt Austin is the head of the NUMA (National Underwater and Marine Agency) special assignments team. On a side note, Ironically NUMA started of as a fictitious organisation within the Dirk Pitt series. However later on the author actually founded a real life NUMA which helps discover numerous wrecks mainly of ships of an American nationality.  Kurt’s role in the Special assignments team normally sees him and his team take on the toughest assignments in the most dangerous areas. How do people working for NUMA  who are engaged in oceanic research become involved in so many evil schemes or plots? i think this here is a strength of his writing. By making realistic choices by the characters and events believable. You don’t question or even notice how quickly the characters are brought into the plot. The 7th Book in this series, starts off the same as all his other books. With his trademark link to some historical event which as always resurfaces and has some significance later on. From the moment i start reading i’m wondering how will the plight of a bronze age sailing ship, fit in with modern events and characters, who deal with the theft of items from the Baghdad Museum. Suddenly one item that is rescued from this theft, is drawing far too much attention and after repeated attempts on its theft again the reader is ultimately lead on a journey to find king Solomon’s mines. Surprisingly along the way we draw in some historical people of well renown to add some depth to the story. long deceased presidents, secrets societies it seems everyone has had a hand at trying to find the lost king Solomon’s mines

The concept that i enjoy most about his novels, is there is always a touch of reality in them. whether it be it be an historical event or a modern one, It forms a basis for his story which he then adds on to. And how could i not mention the kind of James bond/Indiana Jones like Protagonist, which keeps you saying, oh just one more chapter tonight…..

From the standpoint of an adventure novel, i’d say it be 4 out of 5 stars. However from the NUMA files series point of view id say it be only a 3.5 out of 5. Mainly due to the fact that as i have read and shared the journey of this character through many novels i find the way he is swept up into the events of this particular story to be slightly dubious and a little far fetched, when compared to previous adventures. That being said it is still a great read filled with many twists and turns and quite alot of surprises along the way. Which ever way you see it, i have already bought the next few books in the series and they are slowly working there way to the top of my “to read” pile

Matt

Lets get this journey started

Lets get this journey started

Every journey begins with its first step, and for this blog that means its first post.

For me, the foundation of what would become this journey started many months ago, when i began to share my passion for reading more vocally than usual. What caused this change i know not for certain. I have occasionally pondered about this, and while maturely it would be nice to think that perhaps a book i read had such a profound impact on me, that i felt i must share the journey i had in its pages with everyone. But i can not for the life of me recall such a specific book around that time. Though considering my adventures and what was happening in my life at that time i strongly feel it was most likely because of a women i met (is not most changes in a man a result of a woman?)

Being transferred to a new workplace and having to begin the fun of building new connections and friendships i made it known to them quite early on that i very much enjoy reading. It is who i am, why hide it? I initially was quite surprised by the positive reception received by these new friends and work colleagues. As i spoke more about what i was reading at the time i found them too sharing what they were reading and some who had not read in years (or ever) begin to pick up books and thus a defacto book-club was born.

Between the pressures of work and personal life it became harder to share and talk about what i was reading with these colleagues face to face. So i was determined to find a better outlet to share my experiences.  As the conversing about books grew i took to social media to share what i was doing and this is where things became interesting.

Books are such benign things, they have no will or desire they are simply a means for an author to share knowledge whether it be a topic they have studied or a world they have made up and yet for some reason the concept of reading still comes off as negative, in the sense that it is nerdy, childlike or laughable. (perhaps that is merely because of the maturity level of those persons) I was indeed surprised to find that many of the people who laughed and mocked at reading were in fact teachers, does this not conflict with the sole purpose of a teacher (to pass on knowledge) and perhaps this goes to show the real issues with education systems these days but i digress that is a talk for another time. So with regular social media outlets not capable of fulfilling my needs in this regard, i begun a search for a suitable medium which has now led us to here.

When i first started this idea, it made me think back to just how much reading i have done. Since moving back to Sydney in 2012, i have probably consumed about 50 books which is a rather low number.  It wouldn’t exactly be interesting if i was only reading a book a month, so i thought why not up the ante and make a challenge out of it. Why not double that number! but do it in just 52 weeks. So my reading Odyssey was born 100 books in 1 year. This blog will be a tool for me to share what i read in my journey to 100,  simply for the purpose of having fun and sharing a story. Over its course we will see the scope of my literature tastes. From fiction to non-fiction. Mysteries,Thrillers, Adventure, Action, Fantasy, Crime, the occasion biography. Almost anything (bar romance) from Ancient History right up to the for fronts of Science. I am immensely interested in Astrophysics, so they might be quite a few of them. This Odyssey we embark upon is not as great as its namesake “The Odyssey” by homer.  but hopefully it will be on par with its sense of wonder at the world that is out there (in literature anyway)

 

Matt