Thursday, April 26, 2012


Farewell Titanic: Her Final Legacy by Charles Pellegrino
Hard cover
352 pages
Published March 6, 2012

Can anyone say obsessed?  I mean me -- although Mr. Pellegrino probably admittedly qualifies as well!

This book was fascinating.  Charles Pellegrino has been studying the Titanic wreck for years, and is on the team of advisors for James Cameron's movie as well as his expedition dives -- all 13 of them!

Pellegrino also was friends with Walter Lord, who wrote the 1955 classic "A Night To Remember" based on all eye witness accounts of the sinking.  This I now have downloaded on my Kindle and plan on reading it soon.  Many of the accounts in Farewell are gleaned from over two thousand pages of interviews and correspondence between the two men, so these were my favourite parts of this book.

Although I also thoroughly enjoyed the science-ey parts of it, I got a bit tired of the whole "rusticle" thing.  But that's just ME.  Oh, and the 9/11 stuff, although extremely significant to the author and the expedition team on the day of the attacks (they were at sea at the wreck at the time), it did go on a bit too long in that vein.

I had just watched Ghosts of the Abyss the documentary that James Cameron did of his 2001 dive to the wreck, (which you can watch in its entirety on youtube) and this book was centered around this particular dive, so that made it probably more interesting than if I had NOT just seen the film.

All in all a good solid read, but not in my top recommendations for Titanic reads.  What I really wanted was more of the accounts, which I had really not known, and Walter Lord's book will deliver them.

What was neat was the reference to some of the accounts and then directly referencing them with the 1997 film.  Other than the personal accounts, that was the most enjoyable for me.

RATING:  3/5

Monday, April 23, 2012


Hello all!
I haven't done a MM in a very VERY long time.  I actually DID receive an exciting ARC in the mail today!  I got the newest Hilary Mantel book that will be released in May!!!  "Bring Up the Bodies" is the sequel to Wolf Hall and is all very Ann Boleyn.  HUGE THANK YOU to Christine over at Henry Holt and Company!

I also bought a couple of books on my Kindle.  After seeing Titanic in the theatre two weeks in a row, and with all of the info on it recently, I have become fairly obsessed and bought the 1955 classic A Night To Remember by Walter Lord, and Life Boat No. 8 by Elizabeth Kaye ( for 1.99!) today.

For more Mailbox Monday click here. 

Monday, April 2, 2012


Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith
by Martha Beck
Kindle version

I have long been a fan of Martha Beck's writing, she has a great way of reaching her reader, and her wicked sense of humour is what I most adore about her.  I am currently reading her latest book "Finding Your Way in a Wild New World" and it is just as great as the other ones I have read some of, Finding your North Star and Steering by Starlight.  She is a trained sociologist and a Harvard graduate, so combining her scholarly training with her humanness and humour, makes for a very delightful read.

I stumbled across this book somehow online, and since I have always had a fascination with the Mormon religion and the mysteries surrounding it, I knew I would like it.  And I did.

Here many of the bizarre dogma of the religion are blatantly published, and not from lack of fear of reprisal.  Any ex-mormon who outs their secrets, like the one where they believe that God lives in a planet called Kolob (however, if you try to research this online you will come up with a he-said/she-said scenario - which is very frustrating).  And that Joseph Smith translated ancient egyptian hieroglyphics  into what is now known as the Book of Abraham.  (this was later disputed when the Rosetti Stone was discovered, and after decades of studying it, the code for deciphering hieroglyphs was revealed). It turns out that what Joseph Smith claimed to translate into the mormon text, is a version of the book of the dead. Again, this is a fact, but I am pretty sure that any devout mormons reading this might have a thing or two to say about this unfolding of events.

I could go on and on, but will not, because this is what I found most fascinating about this book and I don't want to give too much away.

Martha's father, as it turns out, was a high ranking apologist in the church and much revered by its members.  In her book, her claims of abuse at his hands was widely poo-pooed and she was made out by her family and other church members to be a raving lunatic.  Well, who wouldn't be?  Raised in that house!

The only criticism I have of this particular book of hers is that she had a tendency to use a lot of REALLY HARD WORDS.  I know this may sound kind of childish, but what I mean is I thank God I had a dictionary in my kindle, or I would have probably given up on it already.  The thing is she must have mentioned about 87 times that she went to Harvard, and she used these unbelievably difficult words that even in the context of the sentence I still had no idea what the hell they meant.  And what was most annoying was that she COULD have used a more common word easily in its place, and save me the clicking.  Let me give you some examples:

  • filial - Of, relating to, or befitting a son or daughter (she used this one a lot)
  • ignominious - deserving or causing public disgrace
  • noblesse oblige - nobility obliges
  • ostensibly- apparently or purportedly but perhaps not actually.
  • vociferous - vehement (okay, seriously, WHY could she just not say VEHEMENT - she says vehemently)
  • amorphous - having no definite form
  • obstreperous - noisy; difficult to control.  
  • amanuenses - a literary or artistic assistant
  • stentorian - basically means someone in ther 70's.
  • lugubrious - looking or sounding sad or dismal
  • commodious - roomy and comfortable (I guess "roomy" was just to NOT HARVARD enough)
  • perspicacity- keenness of mental perception (okay, this word just look impossible to pronounce, AM I RIGHT??!!)
  • vertiginous - causing vertigo
Wow, seeing them all listed like that makes me realize that that IS a lot of big words, and maybe I'm not really just an idiot.  

And not to mention Greek Mythology references up the ying-yang, like "Damocles' Sword of Mormon".

So, all in all, a very interesting account of a daughter of a famous mormon leaving the church, and a bit of the history of mormonism to boot. 

RATING:  3/5

For more about Martha Beck, her books and her coaching visit Martha