Boat-Book Woes

I've been ploughing my way through Alexander Kent's Richard Bolitho books. The more I think about them, the more I'm not so sure that I like them. The more I read them, the more I lament the fact that I started with the Rolls Royce of the boat book genre: Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series. How can anything else live up to those? Bolitho's just a bit too perfect in his professional life and just a bit too unlucky in his private life to make him sympathetic. It's also odd to see Tolstoi's triangulation device used on the same subject over and over and over again. It makes me like Allday that much more tha Bolitho, except for the fact that he's one of the base points of that triangle that culminates in the naval perfection that is Richard Bolitho. It's as though Kent wasn't content to show us the doubts that assail Bolitho and then let his actions speak for themselves. No, Bolitho is assailed by doubts and then Herrick and Allday and a rotating cast of characters who always die in the penultimate chapter's battle must comment on Bolitho. Gah. They do keep me occupied on the bus ride home with none of the homophobia of the Nathaniel Drinkwater series, which is why I keep reading them.

I also keep reading them because Ptichka checks them out from the library for me. She deals with the lady at the library who is a boat-book afficianado. Not me. Last night Ptichka was there, checking out the latest requested boat book, when the woman asked her if she was the one who read them. Ptichka answered that her wife is actually the one who reads them. The woman carried on, not registering the fact that Ptichka has a wife and that Ptichka does not read these books and began asking her about various series. Ptichka replied that she had no idea what her wife had read. Then the fact that Ptichka kept using the word "wife" made an impression. Everything clicked.

"Oh. Oh! Well, then, let me write down the name of another series."

I now have a recommendation Julian Stockwin's Kydd.

I'm only on book ten out of twenty-odd in the Bolitho series, so it might be a while before I get around to the Stockwin. It's also taking the TPL a while to get the books to my local library, even though, according to Ptichka, "It's not like anyone else is reading these." I broke down at one point and ordered Form Line of Battle! via ILL because it had been "in transit" to me for several months. Now I am in possession of The Flag Captain but not Enemy in Sight. I suppose that this means I should read things that pertain to my dissertation instead of fun things.

And why is it that the Amazon great buys never pair up consecutive books in a series? Really, if I'm purchasing book ten in the series, don't you think that it's been a while since I've read number one? Or is the whole point to render the saving useless to me?


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