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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

ISPAW Day 4!

In the past few days I dove back into the world of Stream Pirate to ponder a few edits/revisions/things-that-will-most-likely-end-up-making-me-pull-my-hair-out-but-will-in-the-end-make-the-book-that-much-more-amazing. In diving back in, I got to think about how Stream Pirate came to be. Not just the late night geology class revelation. The bricks of the house of Stream Pirate. The bibles in my religion of Sedimentology. The Rosetta stones of the great and complicated language of Riverish.

You get the picture.

Throughout the writing of Stream Pirate, there were two books I could not, not, NOT have written without. Two books that I referenced so often and used for inspiration so frequently that they look very worn and quite sad. Two books that I am positive were never intended to be reference books for a YA story about rivers and sediment and pirates.

The first I highly recommend to anyone, not just people who write stuff or are interested in pirates. I can't say enough good things about this book; it's exciting and riveting and informative and gasp-inducing. And it's NONFICTION, which continues to blow my mind, as college has made me come to associate nonfiction books with OHMYGODMYBRAINISMELTING. But this book is the exception to that phenomenon.

The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down by Colin Woodard

Mouthful? Yes. Boring? Absolutely not. This book expertly sums up the history of the real live pirates of the Caribbean with more than just "Henry Avery sailed for this many years. Edward Thatch sailed for this many years." There are battles and allegiances and family drama and heartache and hardship and mutiny. I picked it up because I wanted some frame of reference for my own pirates. What I got was a book that tells history in a way that makes it feel like a story. Which is how I believe history should be portrayed; not as a bunch of dates and facts and boring chunks of information in textbooks. But as love and pain and adventure and cannon fire and smoke. They were PEOPLE who lived and felt just as we live and feel. I think modern day history teachings tend to forget that.

There's a blog rant in the making. On to the second book:

The second book is another that I think many people, writing and non-writing, could benefit from though it is more reference-y and less read-for-fun-y. I first came across it in high school. It was quite literally love at first sight, and I haven't been without a copy since.

Mythology by Edith Hamilton

It's a mythology buff's handbook. It sums up most every myth (focusing on the Greek/Roman myths, but with a few Norse thrown in), from Jason to Perseus to the Gods. Instant inspiration; more than a few Stream Pirate characters popped out of its pages. It's great if you need some weird and random character trait or if you're in the market for Greek names. A must for every bookshelf, just because it's so awesome.

Now that I've made you realize your life is not complete without these books, what kind of ISPAW host would I be if I didn't give away at least one of them? For your winning pleasure I have a fresh copy of Edith Hamilton's Mythology (it's in much better condition than my copy. Fear not). You want it? Do ya do ya do ya?

This contest will be easy: Leave a comment by 11:00 PM EST Thursday, at which point I will enroll the aid of the trusty Random Number Generator to pick a winner, who will be announced on Friday's ISPAW post.

BUT don't forget about my OTHER ISPAW contest. The deadline for that one isn't until Friday at 8:43 PM EST, so you have a bit longer to think of a really awkward situation for Peat, the poor guy who's cursed to only speak when repeating what others have already said (and he often repeats the things incorrectly). You can win Arachne's super awesome handcrafted notebook.

Mythology books. Notebooks. You lucky devils, you.


Adam Heine said...

So you're gonna make me buy the pirate book on my own? Dang. Oh well. I'm in for the Mythology one :-)

Unknown said...

ISPAW week is proving to be quite awesome! The Mythology book looks great, I'm sure it would fit perfectly on my shelf :)

Anonymous said...

I used to own the Mythology book back in college, but I was running short on funds and had to sell it :(

It was a great book from what I remember!

And I agree with you on the history thing. It's hardly ever taught like a fascinating story full of heartache, sacrifice and eventual triumph, which is what it is. I think if it was taught with that approach, there would be a lot more history lovers out there.

Renee Collins said...

Nice! As a former History major in college, I'm a huge fan of helpful, thorough historical guides. The bigger the better. :) I might have to check out the pirate guide.

Mariah Irvin said...

I have to admit that I've picked up nonfiction books for fun on more than one occasion.

I read a book on mythology in sixth grade for a presentation on Helen of Troy. I dressed up like her and everything! Originally, I picked up the Greek mythology book for research, but ended up reading the whole thing!

MC Howe said...

Ooh..Ooh...Sign me up.

When people found out I, too, was writing about pirates the pirate refernce books started flowing like blood off a cutlass. I love mythology, and even tried to create some for my book.

Pick me.

Natalie Whipple said...

I want it! Me!

Hayley Lovell said...

Ooh, Sara, the Mythology one looks so good!! I want it for my library, yes, yes I call my alphabatized bookshelf a library. Yes I do. Pretty please with a cherry on top pick me :)