Current Reading Devices and List

This past Christmas my blessed Mother gave me what is quite possibly the greatest Christmas gift I have ever received: A Kindle E-Book Reader. I cannot adequately begin to describe how cool this thing is; I have been carrying it everywhere since the day I opened it. So far I have purchased ten books for it, and that means that I am carrying with me 10 books everywhere I go. When you combine that with the audio books on my Ipod, I am a veritable walking library.

I mostly listen to the audio books on the Ipod while I’m driving to and from work, running errands, or working on some kind of other project here in the house. The Kindle gets read whenever I have time to just sit and devote myself to reading.

Among the collection of books I have on the IPod is the entire collection of the Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O’Brien. These novels feature the adventures of Captain Jack Aubrey and his best friend/ship’s surgeon Steven Maturin of the British Royal Navy during and just after the Napoleonic Wars. I’ve read them all before, and loved them, but when listening to them read by a narrator I often find myself noticing things about the characters, or the plot that I missed upon the first reading.

The series starts with Master and Commander. Jack Aubrey has just been promoted to the rankĀ  of Master and Commander of the Sophie in the Mediterranean. He is based out of Port Minorca. He strikes a friendship with Dr. Maturin, who has temporarily been left ashore without employment and invites him to become the ships surgeon for the Sophie.

The story then goes on to describe several cruises the Sophie undertakes. Because of his luck in taking prizes, Aubrey quickly earns the nickname of “Lucky Jack”. His skill as a sailor, and as an officer, enable him to form the crew of the Sophie into a effective naval fighting force.

When we first meet Steven Maturin, he is mostly ignorant of the Navy, and of naval customs. It is through him that O’Brian describes the customs of the navy, and of naval terms. These novels are considered by many to be some of the most historically accurate descriptions of the British navy of the period. I find them fascinating.

Meanwhile, I’m reading Moby Dick on the Kindle. I know , I know. Moby Dick is widely considered to be one of the “Great American Novels”. I also know I should have read it years ago when I was in high school or college, but I never did. I have to tell you, I’m not seeing the quality of the novel. Melville is overly verbose, and the story could have benefited from the work of a rather ruthless editor. It is it at times preachey, moralizing, and, to me, utterly annoying. However, I have pledged to finish it, so I will. If nothing else, I know I have better, more interesting books waiting to be read.