Woot Hoot!

No more pirate tropes, probably, for the rest of self’s life!

Seriously, what a great novel. It only started to drag in the last 10 pages. She lost interest the moment the focus shifted to finding the buried treasure.

Self doesn’t give a fig for buried treasure! (Stevenson himself probably wasn’t that interested, or why would he have waited until the very last dozen or so pages to focus on it?)

Now to Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey, which is a big, fat, heavy book and is sure to cause self much wrist, elbow, and shoulder pain (Whatever book she is currently reading gets toted around everywhere. And she does mean everywhere: to the movie theater, to the post office, to the library, etc). The Introduction helpfully informs the reader that the work is over 12,000 lines long.

From the book jacket:

  • The first great adventure story in the Western canon, The Odyssey is a poem about violence and the aftermath of war; about wealth, poverty, and power; about marriage and family; about travelers, hospitality, and the yearning for home.


Stay tuned.

“Before I Was Your Slave, Now I Am Your Master!”: The Best Trope


From Chapter XXV of Treasure Island:

“Well,” said I, “I’ve come aboard to take possession of this ship, Mr. Hands; and you’ll please regard me as your captain until further notice . . .  By-the-bye, I can’t have these colours . . .  and, by your leave, I’ll strike ’em.”

— Jim Hawkins, erstwhile cabin boy, stowaway, and now Captain of the Hispaniola

Bodies at Sea: Chapter XXV, TREASURE ISLAND

Do not fret, dear blog readers. It’ll be over soon, self promises. Judging by the book’s overall thickness, she only has about 1/4 of Treasure Island left to read. If you are getting sick-and-tired of pirate tropes, rest assured: in a few days, there will be no more pirate tropes. Instead, there will be epic Homerian Odyssey tropes. Because the next book on her reading list is Emily Wilson’s 2017 translation of The Odyssey.

pp. 174 – 175, Chapter XXV, I Strike the Jolly Roger:

There were the two watchmen, sure enough: red-cap on his back, as stiff as a handspike, with his arms stretched out like those of a crucifix, and his teeth showing through his open lips; Israel Hands propped against the bulwarks, his chin on his chest, his hands lying open before him on the deck, his face as white, under its tan, as a tallow candle.

Stevenson doesn’t come right out and say it, but . . . is this the last we’ll get to see of seaman Hands?

Such a good read so far! Five stars!

Stay tuned, dear blog reader. Stay tuned.

Pirate Sentence of the Day: Treasure Island, p. 149

  • Suddenly, with a loud huzza, a little cloud of pirates leaped from the woods on the north side, and ran straight for the stockade.

— p. 149, Chapter XXI (“The Attack”)


Do you know that when self reads a book, she mines it for every possible use? Like, in her own writing?

Right now, she’s 316 pages into writing a very dense novel that she hopes will allow readers to see what the Philippines was like in its natural, unspoiled state, before the friars turned the islands into dioceses. (Her manuscript used to be 319 pages, just an hour ago. But — really, the plot is just there so she can say something important. Hopefully. She also realizes she’s probably shooting herself in the foot by admitting this on her blog, but anyhoo! It’s not like the world is beating a path to her door!)

After castaway and the narrator get past the introductions, they first talk about cheese, and then:

“Well, now, Jim, I’ve lived that rough as you’d be ashamed to hear of.”

(Self wishes he would just say, she’s sure it can’t be that scandalous because there is literally NO ONE ELSE on that island. In other words, we are not talking Lord of the Flies here)

“Now, for instance, you wouldn’t think I had had a pious mother — to look at me?” he asked.

“Why, no, not in particular,” I answered.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


TREASURE ISLAND, Chapter XII: “Council of War”


This past week has been a great, angst-y week. Not only did self definitively decide that she couldn’t bear to read further than p. 253 of The Amber Spyglass — it would break her — but she saw Avengers: Infinity War, and — she just can’t seem to escape the bloody angst. Because the movie — just ask anyone who’s seen it — has angst to the nth power.

As soon as she got home, she resumed reading Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson. (For such a slim novel, it is taking FOREVER for her to read through, maybe because she keeps having to blog about pirate tropes, practically every page)

Today’s reading had mild angst. For one thing, a mutiny has just been discovered by the captain of the Hispaniola, a rather decent man named Mr. Smollett (The name alone does not encourage confidence regarding his eventual fate).

So, what are we to do? asks someone of the captain (He means: what are we to do about the mutiny?)

“First point,” began Mr. Smollett. “We must go on, because we can’t turn back.”

The captain and his mates then begin to try and figure out which members of the crew are loyal and can be counted on. They consider a crewman named ‘Hands.’ (Self loves the names in this novel. First there was Barbecue, the ship’s cook. Now there is a seaman named ‘Hands.’)

“Hands was one of mine,” says the squire.

“I did think I could have trusted Hands,” added the captain.

“And to think that they’re all Englishmen!” broke out the squire.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


More Pirate Tropes: TREASURE ISLAND, p. 76

Treasure Island, Chapter XI (“What I Heard in the Apple Barrel”):

  • “Flint was cap’n; I was quartermaster, along of my timber leg. The same broadside I lost my leg, old Pew lost his deadlights. It was a master surgeon, him that ampytated me — out of college and all — Latin by the bucket and what not; but he was hanged like a dog, and sun-dried like the rest, at Corso Castle.”

Every Single Pirate Trope In Existence

Treasure Island, p. 72:

And the parrot would say, with great rapidity “Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!” till you wondered that it was not out of breath, or till John threw his handkerchief over the cage.



Unerring Rhythm

There’s this thing that the best writers have — a rhythm?

Philip Pullman had it in spades. Each of his elegantly paced deaths — aargh — still kill self.

And Robert Louis Stevenson has it, too.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter VII (“I Go to Bristol”), p. 53

The mail picked us up about dusk at the Royal George on the heath. I was wedged in between Redruth and a stout old gentleman, and in spite of the swift motion and the cold night air, I must have dozed a great deal from the very first, and then slept like a log up hill and down dale through stage after stage; for when I was awakened at last, it was by a punch in the ribs, and I opened my eyes, to find that we were standing still before a large building in a city street, and that the day had already broken a long time.

She thinks we can agree that the above is a fine example of sentence rhythm.

Stay tuned.

Robert Louis Stevenson: TREASURE ISLAND, pp. 42 – 44

So far:

  • Two dead seamen
  • A close call for young Jim Hawkins and his mother
  • a blind beggar who turns out to be a pirate
  • a mysterious oilskin packet which contains “two things: a book and a sealed paper”
  • a Dr. Livesey
  • a discussion of whether Jim Hawkins deserves better than “a cold pie” (he does)
  • a mention of Flint, “the bloodthirstiest buccaneer that sailed . . . Blackbeard was a child to Flint.”
  • a mention of buried treasure

p. 44:

Perusing the papers contained in the “oilskin packet”: “This is the black-hearted hound’s account book. These crosses stand for the names of ships or towns that they sank or plundered.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


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