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Thread: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

  1. #1
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    Default Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    So says Pless. Do you agree?

    Is the only reason some of us enjoy his long, descriptive passages because they involve sailing traditional wooden boats? Do people who are not into sailing find him unreadable?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    Try Flann O'Brien as a grown-up alternative.
    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    For the simple plot-oriented, O'Brian is as annoying as Melville - So much that does not move the plot a milimeter. It's like a portrait where the background is so absorbingly complex and beautiful that one looks less at the subject.

    But then the cultural immersion takes hold. What seemed like Jane Austin flitting about becomes not just a meringue but more like guacamole and sour cream on the taco.

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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    comparing o'brian to melville verges on balspheme

    go read some dick henry dana jr for to fill your cultural immersion needs and ​to get your fill of what sailing a tradional square rigger must have been like
    Last edited by Paul Pless; 11-27-2022 at 09:19 AM.
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    The series is about people, not ships. I love the nautical setting of course, but I have all the books, and re-read them about every 4-5 years because they are stories about people I've been coerced by the author to care about.

    I also enjoy the 18th century attitudes, mores, customs and language. It's a welcome trip away from the modern world.

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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    Funny thread! I like O'Brian and I even enjoy the slow parts. He isn't my favorite author, but he's a lot better than most.
    "Where you live in the world should not determine whether you live in the world." - Bono

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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    Boo to you, Pless.

    O'Brian is in the pantheon. Even my honey enjoyed the series.

    I suppose you dislike Bernard Cornwell too?
    Gerard>
    Albuquerque, NM

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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post

    go read some dick henry dana jr for to fill your cultural immersion needs and ​to get your fill of what sailing a tradional square rigger must have been like
    POB is not just about sailing square riggers. It is also about naval strategy and tactics under sail.

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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    Those who've been on long sea voyages like those described by O'Brian know that life passes very slowly for much of the time at sea: long established patterns, regulated duties and watches, repeated and boringly mundane tasks. The pace of many of the books reflect that. Very lifelike.
    "Be curious, not judgmental." - (Misattributed to Walt Whitman as recalled by) Ted Lasso

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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    C.S. Forester. The Hornblower series. Brown On Resolution. The African Queen. The Good Shepherd.
    ITS CHAOS, BE KIND

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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    O'Brian is not to everyone's taste, but 'unreadable dreck' is the sort of thing that in previous ages would have resulted in early-morning pistols for two and breakfast for one. I like his writing very, very much.

    I liked Hornblower, but found it sadly diminished after O'Brian. The best thing about O'Brian is hs sense of humor, and the Hornblower series is almost entirely humorless.
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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    Books for the nautically challanged

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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    Books for the nautically challanged
    If you're trying to read O'Brian as a nautical how-to manual for the age of square riggers, you are entirely missing the point of those books.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    I enjoy the verbiage. His use of the language. Makes me want to try and be a better person. I know little about sailing such ships, but I understand enough of it to get the drift, as it were. Some of it is silly. Some of it is boring. But overall? I think it's uplifting.

    Mickey Lake
    'A disciple of the Norse god of aesthetically pleasing boats, Johan Anker'

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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    Like reading Faulkner, it must be an acquired taste.
    But reading it four times?

    For myself, nothing ruins a good story faster than an startling error of description.
    When that occurs I generally put the book down, forever.
    But there are liars and then there are good liars, see: Jan De Hartog

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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    Never thought of De Hartog as a liar at all, though I've not read or seen any of his plays - just read the captain books and the Quaker books.

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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    He wore that cap as a crown.
    See: The Lost Sea
    https://www.biblio.com/9780241023440

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    Default Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    There are a lot of people who can read in the world. One only need please a relatively small percentage of those to become a successful author.

    More bluntly, theres an ass for every seat.

    Kevin

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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hadfield View Post
    The series is about people, not ships. I love the nautical setting of course, but I have all the books, and re-read them about every 4-5 years because they are stories about people I've been coerced by the author to care about.

    I also enjoy the 18th century attitudes, mores, customs and language. It's a welcome trip away from the modern world.
    I feel exactly the same way. I've re-read the entire series at least 5 times in the past twenty years.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.
    Skiing is the next best thing to having wings.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    I also enjoy the 18th century attitudes, mores, customs and language. It's a welcome trip away from the modern world.
    Brexit?

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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    Brexit?
    Hahaha, where's Andrew.

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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    I like O’Brian but haven’t reread him. I gave up on Forester when he had the wind “backing” from SW to W

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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    The long way around?

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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    I feel exactly the same way. I've re-read the entire series at least 5 times in the past twenty years.
    Me too.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    Quote Originally Posted by John B View Post
    Hahaha, where's Andrew.
    Either of the Andrews will do here.

    Brexit is built on a past that never happened. Alcuin would have understood it.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    Anyone made it through Ulysses?

    Finnegan's Wake?

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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    HMS Ulysses?

    I liked it, but im a simple man
    Ragnar B.

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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    I read somewhere that Patrick O'Brien's narrative is superior even to Le Carre and that both are at the top of English language novelists despite their minor genres. I was able to ace a college class in American Revolutionary War History for knowing things like what "Whist" was just by reading O'Brien.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    I feel exactly the same way. I've re-read the entire series at least 5 times in the past twenty years.
    Likewise.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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  30. #30
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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    I'm a bit over half way through the full series - for the first time.
    I'm really enjoying them. I class them as yarns well told. I can't read them back to back - its a bit same same. But a small interlude of another book or two is plenty.

    In the vein of same same, concurrently, I'm reading the flashman series. Interesting evolution in those books from commentary on the British toffs, to a full Herodotian exploration of the BIG events of the 19th century. Want to learn history in a fun way, read Flashman and don't take it too seriously. (note; one must read the notes).
    It's all fun and games until Darth Vader comes.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    Second that Flashman is gripping and the notes are valuable.

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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    On my nightstand, comes in handy.Stefan ZweigAustrian novelist














  33. #33
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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    Flashman is terrific! I discovered the books early-on, in the '70s, and was a devoted G. M. Fraser fan until he died.

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    Default Re: Patrick O'Brian is unreadable dreck

    For fans of nautical arcana, it's hard to beat Frederick Marryat (1792- 1848) one of the first and most important authors to write naval fiction. Considered authentic in action and detail, they reflect his service in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, first aboard Lord Cochrane's HMS Imperieuse when she attacked French and Spanish vessels in the Western Mediterranean.

    Here's a list of his nautical works.






    My favorite is this one:


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