Monday, March 31, 2014

Book Review: "A Voyage for Madmen" by Peter Nichols and Weekend Roundup.

This title is no lie. You'd have to be a crazy person to attempt this.I don't mind boats at all but I don't think I could even REMOTELY handle this voyage.

In 1968 a group of men embarked on the Sunday Times Golden Globes Race. It was kind of 2 races within a race. The first winner would be whoever could get around the whole globe without stopping, by yourself, the fastest. The other winner would be whoever got there first. (A little confusing, but they are different...I think? Just go with it). No matter what everyone is by themselves with no help from the outside world. They can communicate with people on other boats, through the radio, or with people on the shoreline but nothing that was not brought on the ship when the race started can come aboard. (This includes things of no real material value, like mail from home. When one of the racers realizes this he's devastated and cries and cries.) Though competitors could give stuff to passing boats, like mail or film. One competitor would use a slingshot to shoot film canisters onto boats.

Do you know how long it takes you to sail around the world with no extra help, by yourself? (Take a moment to guess...) Answer is about 10 months, give or take conditions, boat, sailor, etc etc. Just keep that in mind.

Only 9 people were crazy enough to do this, only one finishes. (And no I'm not going to tell you who wins!) But shit gets real pretty fast, and it's not gonna end well for most of our 9 competitors.

Barely a month in and 2 of the competitors are out, one due to ship damage and another due to the fact that he's vomiting blood from an ulcer. One competitor sinks and has to be rescued.One man finds his soul. Quite a few quit when they realize they are out of their league and stop before they get themselves killed. (P.S. One of those people had NO SAILING EXPERIENCE when he left port. So I can't believe he didn't die the first week). One man mysteriously vanishes. I don't want to go into too much detail because the whole time I had no idea who was going to win and it made it quite exciting.

One of the men accidentally splashes battery acid in his eye. He was not far from a port so he knew he could get help. However he decided that "winning would be worth an eye!"

One of the men is a cheater-cheater-pumpkin-eater and creates a fake log book, and radios in fake positions. He never actually leaves the Atlantic Ocean. Don't worry, he's not the one who wins.

One of the things that causes problems for nearly all the competitors is the loneliness.You could go for weeks being out of radio range,not seeing any land, just you and your own thoughts. This does a lot of mental damage to several of the competitors.

I don't generally include quotes in my book reviews, but it seemed like at the end of every chapter there was some great, ominous closing sentence. This one is about one of the competitors who had become quite melancholy. He thought that it might have been because he hadn't been taking his "daily milk and vitamin" drink. When he started taking it again he felt better. Then comes the ominousness "It's possible that Nigel Tetley's low spirits were revived by vitamins and minerals, as he believed, but there would come a time when no amount of milk would save him".

Not your savior.

I know that this is kind of a weird choppy review, but I don't want to giveaway to many detail about who people are and what happens to them, or else why read the book?! (It's a fine line that the book bloggers walk, let me tell you.) You don't have to know much about boats or sailing to enjoy this book but I'd think some vague familiarity would help. I give this book a 3.5 out of 5. It's opened my eyes to an event that I had never heard of, and it was a thriller wondering what would happen to whom!

So this week my sister and I went to visit our dear friend who lives just outside Indianapolis. (This coincided with the Elite 8 being in town, which we didn't realize until a few days before we left. We did not partake in any NCAA activities. I did say "woohoo!" when I saw the Badgers won. Not really because I care but it seemed like I should. ANYWAY).

Mostly our visits center around how much delicious food we can eat, how many delicious beverages we can imbibe and how much slobber we accumulate on ourselves from Lucy the bulldog. And while we did all of those things, we also got a little bit literary.

First order of business, we went and saw Divergent. Neither myself, nor our friend (both of us readers) had read the book. My sister, who does not read much at all, actually had listened to the audio book. It felt like opposite day, me asking her how things were in the book vs the movie. I spent a chunk of the movie trying to decide if I thought Four was really good looking or not.

Anyway, I hadn't planned on reading the books and now I have to because I'm curious. I'm not like consumed with curiosity like I was with Hunger Games, but curious enough to put other books on the back burner to start these. Though I'm on a pretty long waiting list at the library...

The more I see him I become happier about this casting of Four.
I decided he's normal guy looking handsome. Like if you saw him in the grocery store you'd give him a second look but he's not like super movie star good looking. Which I think is good and works for the story.

 Second order of business. I follow an author named Ben Winters on twitter. I love his writing style and the last book of his Policeman trilogy comes out soon and when it comes out, and I rapidly read it there will be a trilogy review. Anyway, Ben lives in Indianapolis and had tweeted last week about a used bookstore/brewery that had just opened outside of Indianapolis. (It's fresh, like opened last week fresh). Well tasty alcohol and cheap books are some of my favorite things, so I managed to get Books and Brews worked into the weekend itinerary. I'm not generally a person who buys books unless I'm in love with them but the prices were so incredibly reasonable I walked out with an armful of books. Including 2 that I'd just added to my Goodreads TBR list the day before, "The Long Walk" and "A Prayer for Owen Meaney".

We didn't partake in libations because it was pretty early in the day, but maybe next time! Anyway, if you live in the Indy area swing by and say hello and buy some books!


  1. That book sounds crazy! Annnnnnd yeah, I think the real-life Tobias is super hot. He reminds me of a younger James Franco!

    1. He totally could be a Franco, you're right! The more I look at him the more I'm like, yeah he's a fox, lol


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