Archive for April, 2017

bookmark: the ice diaries

The Ice Diaries: The True Story of One of Mankind’s Greatest Adventures – Captain William R. Anderson, with Don Keith

When I was a kid, one of the few things in the adult world that captured my attention was the USS Nautilus. I suppose this was because pretty much everyone at that time was interested in it. In the dim reaches of my memory, I seem to recall wanting to get a model of the submarine to put together, but I won’t stake my life on that.

The USS Nautilus was not just any submarine: it was the first nuclear powered submarine. It caught the world’s attention by the science-fictiony method of power and by all the records it broke due to it’s unique abilities enabled by that power source. For us in the United States, it was a matter of national pride in the time of the Cold War.

While the main story of Captain Anderson’s book is the Nautilus’ efforts to circumnavigate the Arctic Sea via the North Pole under the Arctic ice, he relates much more of the history of the Nautilus than this. Having previously told this story, this version benefits from much information having lost its Top Secret classification, allowing the author to give us much more detail.

This is a non-fiction book, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good story. I have to admit, though, that I’m a bit prejudiced. During the Vietnam War, when it became apparent that I was going to be up for the draft, I thought about joining the Navy with an eye towards serving on a submarine. Things didn’t work out, but that didn’t dim my interest in submarines. This book just helped feed that interest a bit. It’s a good tale written by the captain of the submarine, who had an obvious pride in the submarine, its missions and its crews.

Finished 4/30/17

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating – Elisabeth Tova Bailey

When you can’t do pretty much anything, then anything that you can do becomes your world. This is where the author found herself when she started observing a snail that was living in a pot of wild violets that a friend had brought into her from outdoors. With this simple beginning, an interest in snails in general grew, resulting in this book.

It is not a long book, nor is it an exhaustive scientific study of snails (although the author refers to several of them), but rather a gathering of the high points about snails. It’s an in-depth amateur’s treatise on snails, and a very readable one, but it is also a testament of the power of curiosity to help heal someone during a devastating illness.

I learned more about snails than I ever knew before, and I also learned that I do not want to get the illness that the author got. If you are a curious sort and have a little time to spend with a snail and a young woman confined to bed, I would recommend this book. My wife actually gave me this book to read during my own convalescence (not nearly as severe as the author’s). Thanks, hon.

Finished 4/15/17