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Reading Literature in the Light of Faith

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Tag: just for fun

Found it on Kindle Blogs: Reading Clive Cussler

This is a new feature I’m adding: reviews of blogs that you can subscribe to via Kindle. I’ve been subscribing to the daily Kindle feed of the National Catholic Register for almost as long as I’ve had my Kindle (includes Register columnists’s blogs and news stories that are available for free on their website), but hadn’t really started sampling other blogs via Kindle until recently. Since I can try each one for free for 14 days, I thought I would sample some and, if I like them, cancel my Kindle subscription and just read the blogs online for free.

Clive Cussler
Clive Cussler, maritime
adventurer, prolific author

The first one I’ll mention just called out to me because, as I’ve said before, I enjoy Clive Cussler’s novels, even though they are formulaic (in fact, Cussler apparently just outlines the books, then has various “co-authors” write the actual novels). Anyway, the idea that someone wanted to annotate Cussler’s books just caught my fancy. The blog is called, simply, Reading Clive Cussler, and its author (who calls herself The Thunder Child) is a woman after my own heart. Since each Cussler novel involves some legendary figure, article, or place from the distant past, and many contemporary readers are so poorly versed in history, art, and legend, the Thunder Child is probably performing a useful service in providing annotations on references to things arcane and unusual. I suspect, though, that she simply likes having an excuse to do a little quick research on such things and parsing out which references are based in fact and which are pure fiction.

Here’s a sampling of the things she clears up for Cussler’s readers:

  • From Spartan Gold: Balaclava train station 
  • From Pacific Vortex: the Merchant Marine 
  • From The Chase: Mesozoic Sea 
  • From Trojan Odyssey: Caltech (California Institute of Technology)
  • From Spartan Gold: Napoleon’s Reserve Army

Thunder Child has been adding to this blog with some frequency for about a year, and has only touched on three or four of Cussler’s many dozens of novels. At this rate, she’ll be writing for the rest of her life, if she just keeps working through his bibliography. If she stays with  it, I hope she’ll add an index so that readers can easily pull up all references from a particular title. On the other hand, her blogger profile lists dozens of blogs that she writes, with such varied titles as Interlock: The Jigsaw Puzzle Blog, Collecting Amelia Earhart, The Bible Reader, and The Bug Blog, so I suspect that Cussler does not have her full attention.

Anyway, Reading Clive Cussler is fun to dip into. I’m just a little jealous that someone else got the idea before I did.

©2012 Lisa A. Nicholas

Please leave your thoughts or comments below!

If books were snow-cones: Martha Grimes & Clive Cussler

novelist Martha Grimes
Martha Grimes

I have recently gone through a spate of what, for me, constitutes the equivalent of “beach reads” — books that you read just for the fun of it, knowing that they provide more amusement than edification or cause for reflection. Such books are the mental equivalent of buttered popcorn or snow cones, tasty but probably not good for you if taken in quantity. I find that, as with such junk food, after a couple of servings I lose my taste for such stuff and the thought of going back for another helping any time soon makes me feel a bit nauseous.

novelist Clive Cussler
Clive Cussler

My recent “junk reads” of choice have been novels by Martha Grimes and Clive Cussler. Grimes writes British-style murder mysteries (although an American herself) that have come to occupy a prominent place in the subgenre of “cozies” (i.e., atmosphere and quirky characters predominate over plot and characterization), while Cussler‘s brand of story-telling almost defies description — I suppose I would say his novels are action-adventure stories that rely heavily on maritime escapades and odd bits of ancient history. Cussler himself says:

I have never considered myself as much a writer as an entertainer. I’ve sincerely felt that my job was to entertain you the reader in such a manner that when you reached the end of the book you felt that you had got your money’s worth.[I] believe you will find the novels a great summer reading escape and an everyday, anyday adventure.

I would say he has a keen understanding of both his audience and his literary product. Both Cussler and Grimes have produced long series that repeat the core cast of characters, making their books always familiar and cozy to return to, a pleasant intermezzo to a steady diet of more substantial reading fare. Too much of either at one time, however, would probably cause mental indigestion and rotting of the intellectual incisors.