indigozeal (indigozeal) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

27: Around the World in 1000+ Days

In 1898, Joshua Slocum became the first person to sail solo around the world - a voyage recounted in his appropriately-titled41JTBtq8nnL._SL500_AA300_ Sailing Alone Around the World. Contrary to expectations, Slocum's account of his 3 year+ voyage is surprisingly small and personal, a collection of little memories rather than a momentous narrative of triumph - memories that range from meeting a quiet man who watched over the graves of his family in the Azores to going canoeing with Mrs. Robert Louis Stevenson in Samoa to being charged with speeding by a Tasmanian chief to being informed by the president of South Africa that he couldn't have sailed around the world, as everyone knows it's flat.

Narrator Nelson Runger made the audiobook; while Slocum's turns of phrase and syntax are very much of his day and seem archaic to a modern ear, Runger's friendly, everyman tone made the essential bonhomie of the voyage shine through. The tale gets to a bit of a slow start, and tracing some of the early geography is a bit confusing (why are you spending so much time in Tierra del Fuego? why are you crossing Cape Horn about five separate times?); I also wished at times I had a better working knowledge of the parts of a ship, not to mention a better grasp of where various island groups were in the world. It perhaps isn't the best book that could've been written on this material, but it is a uniquely humble and free-spirited take.
Tags: audio book, non-fiction, travel writing
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