Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Current Reading: The Boys in the Boat


Monday, October 9, 1933, began as a gray day in Seattle. A gray day in a a gray time. 
Along the waterfront, seaplanes from Gorst Air Transport company rose slowly from the surface of Puget Sound and droned westward, flying low under the cloud cover, beginning their short hops over to the naval shipyard at Bremerton. Ferries crawled away from Colman Dock on water as flat and dull as old pewter. Downtown, the Smith Tower pointed, like an upraised finger, toward somber skies. On streets below the tower, men in fraying suit coats, worn-out shoes, and battered felt fedoras wheeled wooden carts toward the street corners where they would spend the day selling apples and oranges and packages of gum for a few pennies apiece. Around the corner, on the steep incline of Yesler Way, Seattle's old, original Skid Road, more men stood in long lines, heads bent, regarding the wet sidewalks and talking softly among themselves as they waited for the soup kitchens to open. Trucks from the Seattle-Post Intelligencer rattled along cobblestone streets, dropping of bundles of newspapers. Newsboys in woolen caps lugged the bundles to busy intersections, to trolley stops, and to hotel entrances, where they held the papers aloft, hawking them for two cents a copy, shouting out the day's headline: "15,000,000 to Get U.S. Relief."
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
by Daniel James Brown

Descriptive, but not exactly riveting. That was my impression of this opening, but don't be fooled... this book gets interesting very quickly. My book club will meet next week to discuss The Boys in the Boat  and I've got both a print and an audio copy from the library. I'm primarily listening, but enjoy having the book to double check names, look at photographs, and read a few more pages each evening.

What do you think of the opening? Would you keep reading?


Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

54 comments:

  1. Yes, keep reading!! I loved that book!

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    1. Kathy - So far I think it's great, too!

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  2. I think I'd keep reading just to find out what this is all about. And based on the cover blurb, it already has my interest!
    Here's mine...
    http://mytime2read.blogspot.com/2014/02/tuesday-memes-february-18.html

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    1. Kim - I'm really enjoying it so far.

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  3. Oh my gosh…I don't even need to read the first paragraph for this one. Keep reading - it is fantastic! Was my favorite nonfiction of 2013! Can't say enough good things about this book.
    Here's Mine: http://www.sarahsbookshelves.com/fiction/first-chapter-first-paragraph-tuesday-intros/

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  4. That is such a GREAT book :) I loved it. I didn't think rowing could be so darn interesting!

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    1. Jennifer - Who knew I could be so interested in rowing?!

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  5. I like the intro. I would go on...

    Here is my Tuesday Intros post!

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    1. Gautami - I liked the intro, too, even if it was all that exciting.

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  6. I don't read a lot of nonfiction, so it's unlikely I'd read this one, although it does sound good.

    My post: http://www.bookclublibrarian.com/2014/02/first-chapter-first-paragraph-50.html

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    1. Catherine - I'm trying to redone nonfiction book a month this year... we'll see how that goes.

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  7. After I noticed what it was about, I think I would continue reading it.

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    1. Gigi Ann - I don't know much about the topic, but am finding it very interesting anyway.

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  8. I can't wait to get to this. I have it in audio.

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    1. Beth F - It's a very good audio production!

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  9. This book caught my eye initially but I think I'd rather listen to it than read it in print.

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    1. Ti - I think listening is the way to go!

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  10. I do love the way the descriptions reel me right into the setting...and what a setting! I love Seattle, and it came alive in this paragraph. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - I've always wanted to visit Seattle. This book reminds me why!

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  11. I agree with you that the opening is not exactly riveting. However, I would consider this book for a non-fiction read based on all of the positive comments I've read about this book.

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    1. Pat - Bloggers seem to love this one...think I'll be joining the crowd.

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  12. Slow opening but you say it picks up. I would read on.
    Harvee
    Book Dilettante

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    1. Harvee - It does pick up pretty quickly.

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  13. The opening is not exactly 'full on' but the story and period in time interests me. (having lived in Berlin for a while)

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    1. Peggy- I'm looking forward to reading more about what's going on in Berlin!

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  14. This seems like the perfect read for right now, while Olympic fever is high. :-) I would keep reading. It sounds like such an interesting book!

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    1. Literary Feline - I hadn't thought of that, but you're right. This is the perfect time to be reading an olympic story!

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    1. Thanks, Kelley... this is a good one!

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  16. This was absolutely one of my top ten reads for 2013. Loved, loved, loved it! I was so inspired by the courage and determination of the boys and their coaches, even though I didn't know a thing about the sport. I even wrote the author about how special I thought his book was. (And, he had the grace to write back!)

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    1. Bellezza - Approaching the halfway mark and totally enthralled - what a great book! I'm so impressed the author answered your letter.

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    2. I can't believe Bellezza sent me her copy. I'm in the middle of Rainbow Rowell's Attachments, but this is on my nightstand and I plan to get to is ASAP. So happy to see so many positive comments, although Bellezza's alone is enough to convince me.

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    3. Les - Aren't you lucky to have this waiting for you! I decided to exclusively listen, but I'm sure it's just as wonderful in print.

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  17. I'm not exactly sure this would be a book for me, but I'd try it.

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    1. Yvonne - I didn't think this would be a book for me, and am surprised by my reaction so far.

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  18. I wasn't wowed by that opening, and I'm not an Olympics fan either so I'd have to pass:( Hope you like it though.

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    1. Diane - This may not be a great choice for you then...

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  19. Not normally a reader of NF, but this one is intriguing.

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    1. Nise' - I seem to be enjoying a lot more nonfiction lately.

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  20. The opening did not convince me, but all of the positive comments would lead me to try this one. I've heard it is especially good on audio and I am trying to listen to more audiobooks this year so I will put this on the list!

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    1. Anbolyn - The opening isn't convincing, but it gets better very quickly... especially on audio. I've returned the library book and will listen to the rest of the book.

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  21. I have been perplexed and hesitating on this one, as it sounds so much like Unbroken, and Unbroken was so so very good, I know I would automatically compare

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    1. Wordsandpeace - There are many similarities to Unbroken (which I also enjoyed), but this book definitely has a different story to tell!

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  22. It took me awhile to get into this one, but once I did I was riveted. I love true stories like this...it just doesn't get any better. I haven't checked but I just bet it will be made into a movie.

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    1. Sandy - This would make one heck of a movie!

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    2. The Weinstein Company has bought the full rights to the movie. Hopefully they will actually put it into production! It will make a fantastic movie.

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    3. Wow, Jen... that's great news! Thanks for the info.

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  23. Yes I'd keep reading although I'd likely go the audio way. It sounds interesting. The cover is what first grabbed my attention with the coloring and such.

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    1. Darlene - I have decided to make this exclusively an audiobook and I think it's much better that way!

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  24. A timely pick for sure with the Olympics going on right now. I rowed crew for a semester in college so I think I would find this interesting. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on audio since I do a lot of non-fiction via audio these days.

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    1. Colleen - I seem to be consuming most of my nonfiction through audio these days, too. If you're into crew, this is definitely book for you... I have no background at all and find it fascinating!

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  25. I've been wondering about this book so I'm so happy you posted about it. I was a coxswain in college and am really interested in rowing. So, I think the subject matter rather than the opening is what would keep me reading. The opening is a bit blah and seems unrelated to the topic, but I guess it's "setting the stage". I'll be looking forward to your thoughts when you finish the book. Enjoy!

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    1. Amy - I had no idea how much is required of a good coxswain... this book is fascinating!

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. These conversations are my favorite part of blogging. Please check back, I almost always respond to comments!

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