Back to the immediate topic: It seems I have not succeeded in signing up for the Sunday Salon, although I tried twice, so I'll just do my own Sunday posts until I show up on the list. I'll come up with some decent moniker, next week, if I remain invisible at the official website.
For yesterday's Sunday Salon effort, I read an essay from Granta 67: Women and Children First: "Leonardo's Grave", written by Ian Jack. The title refers to the genuine Nova Scotia grave of a man thought to be one of the Titanic's lost stokers, J. Dawson, who may have been fictionalized in the movie Titanic (James Cameron says the naming was a coincidence and Titanic experts claim the J. Dawson buried in Halifax was an artist by the name of Joseph, not a stoker named Jack) and became a bit of a romantic hero in the form of Leonardo DiCaprio. Author Jack talks about the movie Titanic, what was real and what was fictionalized and how the facts became distorted even at the time of the sinking.
*Note: I've updated this post because I didn't have the Granta beside me while writing it and have altered it to reflect some screw-ups on my part. I'm sure there are more that I've missed. Thanks to Chris and Tammy for some explanation.*
My favorite part was his declaration that James Cameron took a tale of male heroics during a time of tragedy and turned it into a romantic story with a girl-power ending. That actually made me laugh because I'm not a fan of the movie and, although I'd always thought the scenery was set beautifully inside and out (it was lovely to actually feel as if one was seeing inside the steam liner in full color) my personal opinion was that the storyline was quite a joke. I loved the way the author explained the job of a fire stoker, the back-breaking time spent shoveling coal and being scorched in front of a burning furnace . . . and how little time that would have left such a fellow to teach a lady how to spit. The author noted that the
I chose that issue of Granta specifically because of "Leonardo's Grave". I've just recently finished Walter Lord's classic story of the sinking of the Titanic, A Night to Remember, and Lord's follow-up book, written after the Titanic's discovery by Dr. Robert Ballard, et al., The Night Lives On, neither of which I've reviewed because of the tragic loss of my calendar. Okay, maybe not tragic but it's definitely disheartening. Both were enjoyable reads and I believe I'll just skip the reviewing, apart from saying that the latter is simply an update of what's been learned since the 1955 classic's publication and I consider both books worth reading although A Night to Remember is the better of the two. Anyway, "Leonardo's Grave" continued my recent Titanic-themed reading and it nicely rounded off that particular reading theme. I do believe I've finished with the Titanic, for now.
Other reading on Sunday: a tiny bit of Persuasion by Jane Austen. Of the works I've read by Jane Austen, Persuasion is the first that I've found not particularly compelling. The characters are a bit wooden and the writing itself somewhat convoluted. Usually, I have no trouble at all reading Jane Austen, but Persuasion was published posthumously and I have to wonder . . . did the editor die, also? Because someone needed to take a red pen to that book. I'll carry on and hope that the reading improves.
It's sunny outside, so I need to get going. Although the husband packed my camera, I didn't take a single photo this weekend, apart from one snap of the way people parked at the swim meet. More on that, later. The camera didn't come out of the bag, the rest of the time, because it was dark, dreary, rainy and cold in Laurel. There simply wasn't anything worth photographing until the drive home, when we saw a beautiful kestrel perched on a line parallel to the highway. The highway had no shoulders and, anyhow, my camera was buried in the trunk, so I wasn't able to photograph him. But, kiddo and I both said, "Cooooool." You'll just have to trust us -- he was cool.
Since several people on one of my book listservs have been downed by the flu, I wish all of you well and hope you're not among those filling out the brown bits in the CDC's flu map. Apparently, this year's flu is rampant and debilitating. We've been unaffected, so far. Stay well, everyone!
Bookfool, knocking wood