Friday, December 17, 2010

Books Books Books

Perhaps one of the biggest gifts of this adventure is having the time to read. I brought a bunch of books with me that had been sitting on my nightstand for years, and its not surprising that once I started them, I couldn't get through them. I quickly left them at the various book exchanges along the way. It's also not surprising that the most memorable books for me have been related to cruising or to Mexico. A must read for anyone setting out on this kind of trip is The Care and Feeding of Sailing Crew by Lin Pardey. Not only does it go through the basic care and feeding of crew, but it also has explanations of refrigeration, showers/baths, and great tips on provisioning (including how much you need of each type of produce for how long per person, and what stays best for how long unrefrigerated). Another must read is The Motion of the Ocean by Janna Cawrse Esarey, which very realistically describes relationships at sea. The author took a two year honeymoon sailing to the South Pacific, and writes very honestly about depression, sex, and the highs and lows of being together 24/7. It reads very much like an Eat, Pray, Love saga.
On our last passage I finished the 646 page small type Mexico by James Mitchener. Loved it. Although written by an American in the person of an American/Mexican, it gave me a much better appreciation for the vast and deep history of Mexico from the first inhabitants to the Spanish conquest to present day politics. My dear friend Dennise who grew up in Mexico City remembers liking the book, but does caution me that it is written by an American after all. It is interesting that she says that. I had believed that being on this trip in Mexico, we would get to know the Mexican people but as hospitable and helpful as they are, I get a sense that it is a closed culture that is difficult to break into unless you are 'one of them'. I'll have to ask Dennise more about this.
Our ditch bag (i.e. the bag that contains our emergency paraphenalia in case we have to abandon ship) contains a copy of Adrift: 76 Days Lost At Sea by Stephen Callaghan given to us by our friend Neil Blecherman, and is another must read if you are to undertake offshore sailing. Not only is it incredibly well written and an inspiring adventure story, it also contains intricate illustrations from how to lay out your life raft to making your own solar still for drinking water to rigging up a spear gun. I'm sure I'll be posting more on Emergency Preparedness at some point and at that time will certainly be referring to this book.
On this passage, I finished The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I couldn't put it down, and found myself dreaming in Southern drawls and dialects of the 'help'. Or shall I say, "Law, I been done and dreamin o the South"... Excellent and much recommended - especially to my book club friends.
I now have only 20 more titles on my nightstand to go through. As I get to new book exchanges, I have to hold myself back from claiming even more. Although I had planned to begin reading The Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck next (before we get further away from there), my priorities have had to shift somwhat as Danielle has just finished The Secret Life of Bees and has asked me to read it so we can discuss it. She is reading so quickly that she's taken to re-reading some of her books. I think I'd shoot myself if I ever had to do that. Maybe that's the reason I have 20 unread titles by my bed?
Harrison has also almost finally gotten the reading bug. It's been tougher to find titles that he likes but when he finds one, he'll read for hours. The blessing of not having TV! Michael too has been reading more than I've ever seen him. His choices are usually spy novels a la John Grisham, or else the titles look more like Diesel Mechanics for the Sailor. And thank goodness for that.
Somewhere on the Pacific Coast of Mexico between Zihuatenajo and Acapulco
17 degrees 2.343 minutes North
100 degrees 48.312 minutes West
PS. As we are heading towards Acapulco and with the sun rising in the east, it is right in front of our boat. It is interesting to note how much we are actually traveling east while heading "down" the Pacific coast.
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1 comment:

  1. What a great way to spend your days - reading and sailing, among all the other chores like teaching, cooking, cleaning, etc...but you seem to be enjoying it all. How wonderful! I wish I were there with the tranquility...