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Ermahgerd. Berks.

Currently reading

Caliban's War
James S.A. Corey
The Shining Girls

Treasure Island

Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson, John Seeyle Remember when pirates briefly became ironically cool, and all of your annoying friends were joining facebook groups for International Talk Like A Pirate Day? And the first Pirates of the Carribbean movie came out and was surprisingly awesome? And then the second Pirates of the Carribbean movie came out and was decidedly less awesome, but you didn't really realize it until the third one came out and you discovered you couldn't remember and didn't care about number two's cliffhanger ending (it was like The Matrix in that way actually)? And then you finally saw the third one on DVD when you were home from the hospital after almost dying of mono,who knew that could happen, but apparently it really messes with your liver, and the movie was so bad you couldn't even stay awake through the literally 45-minute long action sequence that caps it all off, and besides, it makes no sense at all, with everyone betraying everyone else so many times you need a flow chart to follow the plot?I suppose we have RLS and Treasure Island to blame for all that. Because this is the book that established what we think of when we think of pirates, from skull & crossbones banners to peg legs to squawking shoulder-mounted parrots to maps with big red Xs and yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum. It's kind of weird to think about: those concepts are so ingrained in our culture (see: International Talk Like a Pirate Day), and yet they all stem from this rather innocuous adventure story for children.But it is a really great adventure, which is probably why it became so iconic. This book is 130 years old but exhibits none of the mustiness of late Victorian-era fiction (turgid description being the chief offender, which you know if you've tried to slog through Jules Verne, and how in the world do you make submarines and sea monsters boring? Ask Jules). The adventure clips along quite nicely, moving from murder and mayhem on dry land to mutiny and more murder on the sea, and then to a creepy island filled with treasure and other dangers. Long John Silver is a crafty and compelling villain, switching sides more often than Benjamin Linus (hey, speaking of islands). Even though I knew basically where the story was going, it was a fast and engaging read, with a lot of creative sequences of suspense. The only sections that bogged down a bit were the brief but somewhat technical descriptions of the ship, the sails, how the waves turned it this way and that, etc. I don't know starboard from port, and I don't care to, RLS. So get back to the parts with the talking parrot.