Saturday, February 6, 2010

a book for a rainy day

Cold, snowy, rainy, windy day today. I read that because of the weather the mid-Atlantic "shut down." My bosses must have missed that memo, I've got to head in to work in a while. But when I get home it will be a perfect evening for reading my new book picked up off the bargain table at Barnes and Noble. It is Silver by Edward Chupack. The full name of the book gives it a bit more flavor....Silver, My Own Tale As Written by Me with A Goodly Amount of Murder.
The Silver in this book is Long John Silver of Treasure Island fame. That book all started on a rainy day (a lot like today) with a map sketched out in the Scottish Highlands in 1881 when Robert Louis Stevenson was on vacation with his family. There is some debate as to who sketched the original map, either Stevenson or his young nephew, but over the next few days Stevenson wrote the first few chapters and read them aloud for his family (making changes to the story at his family's suggestions).
Treasure Island is of course a great adventure story that set much of the tone for our romanticized versions of pirates. Treasure maps, tropical islands and one-legged pirates with parrots on their shoulders can all be found here. Add to the story N.C. Wyeth's classic 1911 illustrations for a new edition of Treasure Island (that is Wyeth's Billy Bones at the bottom of the post) and you'll find the source of our modern day image of classic pirates. (You didn't think that Disney came up with all that, did you?)
Writer Howard Chupack has created a first person confession from Long John Silver that is very entertaining. He has found a wonderful voice for the old pirate and I think I will enjoy this book quite a bit.
There is another book out there based on Treasure Island, this is Dead Man's Chest: The Sequel to Treasure Island. I enjoyed reading that book a few years ago while on vacation in Ocracoke.
With this cold weather I'm not getting much work done on the boat. So I might as well sit back and enjoy a good read.



Bursledon Blogger said...

Good advice - Sadly good pirate literature is all too rare, track down Bjorn Larsson’s book “Long John Silver” if you can find it.

Maybe someone could persuade Ellmore Leonard to write a pirate book.

Some other pirate fiction here


DancesWithSandyBottom said...

Just finished reading Michael Crichton's "Pirate Latitudes" published posthumously November 24, 2009.

Steve said...

Paul, I read that one also just a few weeks ago on a cross country flight. Lots of fun.