Shelf Control #161: The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists by Gideon Defoe

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Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

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A little note for 2019: For the next short while, I think I’ll focus specifically on books I’ve picked up at our library’s fabulous annual sales. With all books $3 or less, it’s so hard to resist! And yet, they pile up, year after year, so it’s a good idea to remind myself that these books are living on my shelves.

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Title: The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists
Author: Gideon Defoe
Published: 2004
Length: 144 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

Not since Moby-Dick… No, not since Treasure Island… Actually, not since Jonah and the Whale has there been a sea saga to rival The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, featuring the greatest sea-faring hero of all time, the immortal Pirate Captain, who, although he lives for months at a time at sea, somehow manages to keep his beard silky and in good condition.

Worried that his pirates are growing bored with a life of winking at pretty native ladies and trying to stick enough jellyfish together to make a bouncy castle, the Pirate Captain decides it’s high time to spearhead an adventure.

While searching for some major pirate booty, he mistakenly attacks the young Charles Darwin’s Beagle and then leads his ragtag crew from the exotic Galapagos Islands to the fog-filled streets of Victorian London. There they encounter grisly murder, vanishing ladies, radioactive elephants, and the Holy Ghost himself. And that’s not even the half of it.

How and when I got it:

LIBRARY SALE!

Why I want to read it:

I remember my daughter reading this years ago… and giggling like mad. Sounds super silly, doesn’t it? And who doesn’t need a good laugh every now and then?

What do you think? Would you read this book?

Please share your thoughts!

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Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments!
  • If you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

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YA double feature: What If It’s Us and The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

Two delightful YA books this week! Once again, a big THANK YOU to the public library for being all-around awesome and for getting me my hold books in record time. Here’s my quick take on my YA reading from the past week:

 

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera: Two YA authors come together to give us a romantic New York story of first love and do-overs. Arthur is a Georgia boy spending the summer in the big city; Ben is New York born and bred, stuck repeating chemistry in summer school so he can graduate on time. A chance encounter at a post office makes a big impression on both Arthur and Ben — but in the blink of an eye, it’s over, without names or contact info exchanged. But the sparks that flew can’t just die… so each boy does we he can to track the other down — and when, miracle of miracle, they actually find one another again, a sweet romance blooms. What If It’s Us is utterly charming, with plenty of laughs and tears. The ending may disappoint folks who believe in happily-ever-after, but I found it hopeful, grounded in reality but with a definite sense of optimism for whatever might yet happen. And I couldn’t help but love the endless geeky pop culture references, from Hamilton to Harry Potter!

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee: The sequel to the super fun The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a treat, shifting the focus from trouble-making Monty and his true love Percy to Felicity, Monty’s younger sister (who was a delight in the first book). Felicity is a scientist and scholar, but with one problem: In the 18th century, no medical school or physician will deign to even consider taking on a female student. But that doesn’t stop Felicity, who is so determined to achieve her dreams that she ends up traipsing all across Europe and getting into all sorts of wild adventures in pursuit of her goals. Along the way, she teams up with two fabulous friends, young women with their own hopes and dreams, and shows just how strong a woman can be. This book has it all — friendship, adventure, feminism, and fun — and is a terrifically entertaining read. I hope there will be more about these characters in the future — I’d love to know how their lives turn out!

Two terrific teen reads! Check ’em out! You don’t have to actually be a young adult (*cough* I’m not! *cough*) to enjoy these.

Shelf Control #116: Silver (Return to Treasure Island) by Andrew Motion

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

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Title: Silver: Return to Treasure Island
Author: Andrew Motion
Published: 2012
Length: 416 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

A rip-roaring sequel to Treasure Island—Robert Louis Stevenson’s beloved classic—about two young friends and their high-seas adventure with dangerous pirates and long-lost treasure.

It’s almost forty years after the events of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island:  Jim Hawkins now runs an inn called the Hispaniola on the English coast with his son, Jim, and Long John Silver has returned to England to live in obscurity with his daughter, Natty. Their lives are quiet and unremarkable; their adventures have seemingly ended.
But for Jim and Natty, the adventure is just beginning. One night, Natty approaches young Jim with a proposition: return to Treasure Island and find the remaining treasure that their fathers left behind so many years before. As Jim and Natty set sail in their fathers’ footsteps, they quickly learn that this journey will not be easy.  Immediately, they come up against murderous pirates, long-held grudges, and greed and deception lurking in every corner. And when they arrive on Treasure Island, they find terrible scenes awaiting them—difficulties which require all their wit as well as their courage.  Nor does the adventure end there, since they have to sail homeward again…
Andrew Motion’s sequel—rollicking, heartfelt, and utterly brilliant—would make Robert Louis Stevenson proud.

How and when I got it:

I bought this book two years ago, after (finally!) reading the original Treasure Island for the first time.

Why I want to read it:

I really enjoyed Treasure Island, and was looking for a way to continue the adventure when I stumbled upon a recommendation for this book. It does sounds like fun, and I’m looking forward to seeing if the author can capture the flavor and excitement of the original!

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Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments!
  • If you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

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Shelf Control #3: Cinnamon and Gunpowder

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Welcome to the newest weekly feature here at Bookshelf Fantasies… Shelf Control!

Instead of looking ahead to upcoming new releases, Shelf Control focuses on already released books that I want to read. Consider this a variation of a Wishing & Waiting post… but looking at books already available, and in most cases, books that are either on my shelves or on my Kindle!

Want to join in? See the guidelines and linky at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

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My Shelf Control pick this week is:

Cinnamon and GunpowderTitle: Cinnamon and Gunpowder
Author: Eli Brown
Published: 2013
Length: 336 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

A gripping adventure, a seaborne romance, and a twist on the tale of Scheherazade—with the best food ever served aboard a pirate’s ship

The year is 1819, and the renowned chef Owen Wedgwood has been kidnapped by the ruthless pirate Mad Hannah Mabbot. He will be spared, she tells him, as long as he puts exquisite food in front of her every Sunday without fail.

To appease the red-haired captain, Wedgwood gets cracking with the meager supplies on board. His first triumph at sea is actual bread, made from a sourdough starter that he leavens in a tin under his shirt throughout a roaring battle, as men are cutlassed all around him. Soon he’s making tea-smoked eel and brewing pineapple-banana cider.

But Mabbot—who exerts a curious draw on the chef—is under siege. Hunted by a deadly privateer and plagued by a saboteur hidden on her ship, she pushes her crew past exhaustion in her search for the notorious Brass Fox. As Wedgwood begins to sense a method to Mabbot’s madness, he must rely on the bizarre crewmembers he once feared: Mr. Apples, the fearsome giant who loves to knit; Feng and Bai, martial arts masters sworn to defend their captain; and Joshua, the deaf cabin boy who becomes the son Wedgwood never had.

Cinnamon and Gunpowder is a swashbuckling epicure’s adventure simmered over a surprisingly touching love story—with a dash of the strangest, most delightful cookbook never written. Eli Brown has crafted a uniquely entertaining novel full of adventure: the Scheherazade story turned on its head, at sea, with food.

How I got it:

I bought it.

When I got it:

Earlier this year.

Why I want to read it:

Our local public library system picked Cinnamon and Gunpowder as a city-wide discussion book earlier this year (part of the library’s “On the Same Page” program) — and while I didn’t jump on board in time to actually participate in the conversations and activities, I did make a note to myself that I had to track down a copy of the book! I love the sound of a Scheherazade story at sea, and even though I’m not myself much of a foodie, the idea of a master chef and a female pirate captain seems too good to pass up.

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Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link below!
  • And if you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and have fun!

 

For more on why I’ve started Shelf Control, check out my introductory post here, or read all about my out-of-control book inventory, here.

And if you’d like to post a Shelf Control button on your own blog, here’s an image to download (with my gratitude, of course!):

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Take A Peek Book Review: Treasure Island

“Take a Peek” book reviews are short and (possibly) sweet, keeping the commentary brief and providing a little peek at what the book’s about and what I thought. This week’s “take a peek” book:

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Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
(originally published 1883)

Synopsis:

(via Goodreads)

Originally conceived as a story for boys, Stevenson’s novel is narrated by the teenage Jim Hawkins, who outwits a gang of murderous pirates led by that unforgettable avatar of immorality, Long John Silver. Admired by Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling, and (reluctantly) Henry James, the story has the dreamlike quality of a fairy tale. It has worked its way into the collective imagination of more than five generations of readers, young and old alike, gaining the power of myth.

The most popular pirate story ever written in English, featuring one of literature’s most beloved “bad guys,” Treasure Island has been happily devoured by several generations of boys—and girls—and grownups. Its unforgettable characters include: young Jim Hawkins, who finds himself owner of a map to Treasure Island, where the fabled pirate booty is buried; honest Captain Smollett, heroic Dr. Livesey, and the good-hearted but obtuse Squire Trelawney, who help Jim on his quest for the treasure; the frightening Blind Pew, double-dealing Israel Hands, and seemingly mad Ben Gunn, buccaneers of varying shades of menace; and, of course, garrulous, affable, ambiguous Long John Silver, who is one moment a friendly, laughing, one-legged sea-cook . . .and the next a dangerous pirate leader!

The unexpected and complex relationship that develops between Silver and Jim helps transform what seems at first to be a simple, rip-roaring adventure story into a deeply moving study of a boy’s growth into manhood, as he learns hard lessons about friendship, loyalty, courage and honor—and the uncertain meaning of good and evil.

 

My Thoughts:

For a fairly slim book (my edition had 190 pages), it sure took me a while to finish this classic tale of pirates, treasure maps, and treachery. Treasure Island wasn’t a stay-up-all-night, can’t-put-it-down read for me — but it was definitely entertaining and well worth reading.

It’s kind of hilarious, in a way, to read this quintessential pirate story, in light of Pirates of the Caribbean, Black Sails, and even Spongebob Squarepants, and realize that Treasure Island was written at a time when pirate stories weren’t clichéd yet. In Treasure Island, the guy with a wooden leg exclaiming “Shiver me timbers!” while a parrot perches on his shoulder isn’t a joke; he’s honest-to-blazes scary. Doubloons, pieces of eight, cutlasses, buried treasure, the black spot, pointing skeletons used as road signs — here’s where to go to find where they entered popular culture.

It seems practically silly to review a classic like Treasure Island. It’s a classic for a reason! But, bottom line: I’m glad that I finally dug up a copy and took the time to read it. It’s a fun, fast-paced adventure, providing a glimpse into a by-gone era of storytelling — and next time International Talk Like a Pirate Day rolls around, I’ll have something to think about besides these guys:

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or this:

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or even my current pirate obsession:

Black Sails 2014

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The details:

Title: Treasure Island
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
Publisher: Varied (available free for Kindle)
Publication date: 1883
Length: 190 pages
Genre: Classic adventure story
Source: Purchased

Thursday Quotables: Treasure Island

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Welcome back to Thursday Quotables! This weekly feature is the place to highlight a great quote, line, or passage discovered during your reading each week.  Whether it’s something funny, startling, gut-wrenching, or just really beautifully written, Thursday Quotables is where my favorite lines of the week will be, and you’re invited to join in!
Treasure Island

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
(originally published 1883)

I’m feeling very piratey this week. Watch out! I make burst out in a sea shanty before I’m done…

I brooded by the hour together over the map, all the details of which I well remembered. Sitting by the fire in the housekeeper’s room, I approached that island in my fancy, from every possible direction; I explored every acre of its surface; I climbed a thousand times to that tall hill they call the Spyglass, and from the top enjoyed the most wonderful and changing prospects. Sometimes the isle was thick with savages, with whom we fought; sometimes full of dangerous animals that hunted us; but in all my fancies nothing occurred to me so strange and tragic as our actual adventures.

And there’s this little gem, which I’ll have to remember next time I need an indignant comeback:

“Sir,” said Captain Smollett, “with no intention to take offence, I deny your right to put words into my mouth.”

What lines made you laugh, cry, or gasp this week? Do tell!

If you’d like to participate in Thursday Quotables, it’s really simple:

  • Write a Thursday Quotables post on your blog. Try to pick something from whatever you’re reading now. And please be sure to include a link back to Bookshelf Fantasies in your post (http://www.bookshelffantasies.com), if you’d be so kind!
  • Leave your link in the comments — or, if you have a quote to share but not a blog post, you can leave your quote in the comments too!
  • Visit other linked blogs to view their Thursday Quotables, and have fun!