Ahab's Wife: Or, the Star-Gazer: A Novel

by Sena Jeter Naslund | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0688177859 Global Overview for this book
Registered by bookaddict22 of St. Louis, Missouri USA on 10/22/2003
Buy from one of these Booksellers:
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9 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by bookaddict22 from St. Louis, Missouri USA on Wednesday, October 22, 2003
TBR- starting bookring since my TBR pile is exceeding my reading speed! PM me if you are interested.

On October 27th- bookring started...

MandMsMom- Connecticut
WarEagle78- Alabama
Mytilusgirl- UK
hbrogan- New York
Sejent- Kentucky <------ book is here!
tania-in-nc- North Carolina
butlin- New Hampshire
Reader1212- Washington
rhythmbiscuit- Colorado
tnelson99- Missouri
bookaddict- back to me in Missouri

I would be happy to add you if you are interested- just send me a quick note!

Released on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 at Released to fellow Bookcrosser in Stamford, Connecticut USA.

Mailed today to MandMsMom in Connecticut- Enjoy!

Journal Entry 3 by MandMsMom from Stamford, Connecticut USA on Saturday, November 01, 2003
Recieved this in the mail yesterday and can't wait to read it. It will be next on my list of books to read.

Journal Entry 4 by MandMsMom from Stamford, Connecticut USA on Monday, December 15, 2003
I am putting in an entry so that no one thinks this is in a bookring black hole. I am enjoying this book imensely, but it is BIG... I am still plodding along and hope to finish it by the end of the year. Sorry for the hold up!

Journal Entry 5 by WarEagle78 from Hoover, Alabama USA on Tuesday, January 13, 2004
Arrived safely in Alabama, thanks MandMsMom! Will journal again when read. It will be the next book I start.

Journal Entry 6 by WarEagle78 from Hoover, Alabama USA on Tuesday, February 03, 2004
This is a beautifully written book. I can't say enough about Sena Jeter Naslund's prose. Two of the reviews quoted on the cover and first page say so perfectly what I mean. The LA Times said "Lyrical...alluring and wise," while the NY Times Book Review says "Her Una is a deep and wayward creature, undaunted by convention, whose descriptions are dense with a lanquid and sensual interest in the world."

The story itself is the story of Una, a Kentucky girl of twelve years, who leaves her home to live with her aunt. The story follows this unusual female through her adventures as a cabin boy aboard a whaling ship, as a shipwreck survivor, as the wife of a madman, of a ship captain (Ahab), as a single mother raising a son, to her life alone after he moves to town for school. But never, really, is Una alone. She has a strength of character that drenches the page; an ability to use her mind to create, entertain, learn and teach; a capacity to chart her own course that surely is unusual in the early 19th century; and a confidence in herself that astounds.

When I started the book I did not realize that the author grew up here in my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. To me that made the book even more astonishing, given her detailed characterizations of life on the sea and the whaling, given our landlocked common home.

Need I say I recommend this book highly? But as MandMsMom noted before me, it is not a quick read. The story moves slowly but you don't want to miss a word, a description, of Naslund's prose.

I've PM'd Mytilusgirl and will send the book on when the address is received. Thanks bookaddict22 for sharing this!

Journal Entry 7 by WarEagle78 from Hoover, Alabama USA on Saturday, February 21, 2004
In mail today to UK. Sent airmail, supposedly 7-10 days. We'll see.

Journal Entry 8 by Mytilus from Plymouth, Devon United Kingdom on Sunday, February 29, 2004
Just arrived.

Will start reading it tonight.

Journal Entry 9 by Mytilus from Plymouth, Devon United Kingdom on Saturday, March 13, 2004
Initially, I was mildly irritated with Naslund's writing style but soon forgot this as I was firmly gripped by the story.

Good book.

Journal Entry 10 by Mytilus from Plymouth, Devon United Kingdom on Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Sent to hbrogan today.

Happy reading!

Journal Entry 11 by hbrogan from North White Plains, New York USA on Wednesday, March 24, 2004
I received this late last week, and I just started to read it a few days ago. So far, it's really interesting. I'll journal again when I've finished it!

Journal Entry 12 by hbrogan from North White Plains, New York USA on Tuesday, April 06, 2004
This was an amazing book! From the first chapter, I was completely engrossed in the adventures of Una as well as the author's exquisite use of the English language. Although the story is often tragic, Una's strength through her trials is inspiring. There were several surprising turns, and I was never bored, despite the book's length.

Two of my favorite passages:
"What was the golden motto embroidered on the hem of my baby's silk dress? We are kin to stars. I reach my hands toward them, spread my fingers and see those diamonds in the black V's between my fanning fingers. To think that I could gather them into my hands, stuff them in my pockets, is folly. But I can reach. It is I, myself, alive now, who reach into the night toward stars. Their light is on my hands. Their light is in my hands. I gasp in the crisp air of earth and know that I am made of what makes stars! Those atoms are burning bright--I lower my hands--why, they are here within me. I am as old as they and will continue as long as they, and after our demise, we will all be born again, eons from now. What atoms they have I cannot know. I cannot call their names, but they are not strangers to me. I know them in my being, and they know me. Little scrap, little morsel, the stars sing to me, we are the same."

"S is the sound of the sea. Her surge and suck, her spray and surf. Sometimes she seethes. She knows the sound of smooth. With her s, the sea marries the shore, and then there is scamper and slush in the sand. With curling s's the sea rises to stroke the side of her superior, the sky, who loves and meets her in the s of spray, spawned in liquid and air."

I'll send this on to the next person on the list as soon as I get an address!

Journal Entry 13 by sejent from Louisville, Kentucky USA on Thursday, April 15, 2004
Received in today's mail...will start reading soon and will journal again when I have finished.

Journal Entry 14 by sejent from Louisville, Kentucky USA on Saturday, November 13, 2004
Please accept my profuse apologies for keeping the book for such a long time!

I loved this wonderful adventure story.

Sending on to tania-in-nc.

Journal Entry 15 by tania-in-nc from Mooresville, North Carolina USA on Thursday, November 18, 2004
This arrived safely this afternoon. I shall finish my current read and then get into this one. Looking forward to it!

Journal Entry 16 by tania-in-nc from Mooresville, North Carolina USA on Saturday, November 20, 2004
I just finished Deck the Halls by Mary Higgins Clark & Carol Higgins Clark, c. 2000 and am starting this tome now!

Journal Entry 17 by tania-in-nc from Mooresville, North Carolina USA on Sunday, November 28, 2004
Oh, my! This book was excellent. Read til the early hours, tried to sleep, and then got up again to finish it :)

I collect quotes as I read. These ones are fun, poetical, or even philosophical. Take what you like, and leave the rest. Note that these aren't necessarily the "best" in the book. These happen to be close to the spot where I stopped reading each night.

He tried out his sentences on Aunt and me and Frannie. He said that sentences were like blubber and that you must send them to the try works to render out the fat. p62
[comment: composing a letter -- but I guess it could be for writing anything.]

Even as a child, I wanted to know what words meant and marked those occasions when I did learn as memorable. Once when I sat on a stump in the yard and watched my father drive away in the black buggy, his whip in his hand, I thought 'Sad, I feel sad,' and I knew that it was my first matching of that word and that feeling. I asked my mother to show me the letters for that word, and thus I began to write as well as read at a very early age. "S-s-s," she said. "The letter looks like and sounds like a snake, and s begins both sad and snake." p2
[comment: can you remember learning to read? I can't. Although Mum says that I was reading by the time I was 4]

Is there always, under the glory of white wings and graceful speed, the scaffolding of a cross? This is not a Christian question but one applicable to India and China and Africa. If you meet a woman of whatever complexion who sails her life with strength and grace and assurance, talk to her! And what you will find is that there has been a suffering, that at some time she has left herself for hanging dead. p127
[comment: I think everyone in this world has battles to fight. And often you cannot see the scars, or the fresh wounds, by looking at people from the outside. Often, these battles make you very strong. Hence the quote. Make sense to you? lol]

His hand itself was smooth as moonlight. p185

Certainly he dreamed, for he mumbled continually in his sleep, but the words were misshapen and incomprehensible. Not English words, nor words in any language, but syllables cut loose from sensible words. From his field slumber, sounds rose and fell, in volume and in pitch, as though his tongue were a sea-tossed ship.
But Shakespeare counsels that sleep can knit up the raveled sleeve of care, so I let Kit be. The babbling might have come from a babe rocking in his cradle. p255
[comment: any passage about sleep is good -- I think sleep is a wondorus thing!]

Thus, I commenced to traverse the road alone. After I passed the last lighted house, I listened, for company, to the familiar sound of my feet on the roadbed. Certainly there was a map in my mind of my route, but the usual sense of sight could not serve as a check to that plan. The night was starless and utterly black. The brushing and quiet placement of the my shoe soles reassured me, but steady cold invaded my face and chest. I thought of the pressure of an apple press bearing down against the flesh of the apples - so it was the cold bore down and squeezed me of my warmth. p330
[comment: I chose this passage for the image in the last sentence.]

How else is life made real, but by story and song and fiery dance? p420

Spinning a tale is sometimes like stirring a chowder. Steam and mist will rise up, different particles are whiffed from the broth. p505

-- sending off to Butlin 11/29/04

Journal Entry 18 by butlin from Hudson, New Hampshire USA on Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Received 12/6/04 - going on the TBR pile (which is finally getting smaller)

Journal Entry 19 by butlin from Hudson, New Hampshire USA on Tuesday, January 18, 2005
I enjoyed this book a great deal. I really liked
Una. I, unlike everyone else, did not enjoy the writing style. I had a difficult time with some of it, especially the Captain. Towards the end of the book I was tempted to just skip to the last page! Sending along to fast thoughts as Reader 1212 and rhythmbiscuit both asked to be skipped.

Journal Entry 20 by fasthoughts from Boise, Idaho USA on Wednesday, February 09, 2005
I caught this via media mail. I send my thanks and happiness. I sense a great story of an individual's experience and vision of the natural world will be told. I will soon be turning pages with thanks to you for releasing this book. As Arthur Ashe -- "From what we get we can make a living: from what we give, however, makes a life."

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