73. Strange and Unusual Shipwrecks on the Great Lakes, by Wayne Louis Kadar. My parents bought this for me on their vacation. All in all, I really enjoyed this book -- local history and shipwrecks, two of my interests. Kadar has a nice narrative style that's easy to read, and the stories don't get bogged down by too many numbers. The more technical terms are ither explained in the article, or included in the glossary in the back. It also has decent maps and graphs throughout. Some of my favorite stories included the takes about the E.M. Ford (which met its misfortune, with more than 7,000 tons of dry cement mix in its cargo. Dry mix-- which got wet. You can take it from there); and the story about the Yacht Gunilda, where the millionaire owner's thick-headedness and tight-fistedness not only caused his expensive toy to wreck, but become unsalvagable. I found the tragic story of the SS Eastland to be interesting, but it made me angry -- sounds like the ship needed to be overhauled long before the fateful summer of 1915 incident which would claim the lives of more than 800 people. I have to say "incident" rather than "journey" because the ship never even left the dock before turning on its side. This disaster remains the worst Great Lakes ship disaster in terms of casualties.
There were some editing issues. For example, one mention of the Eastland (which is mentioned in the story about a WWI German sub, which it sank, under its new name the SS Wilmette), said 814 people died in the Eastland disaster; later in the book it's 815. Then I saw "sole" instead of "soul" and a cargo of "flower" instead of "flour." Also, while I understand there is no way a book can get all of the stories on every Great Lakes wreck, I found the omission of the tale of the Marquette & Bessemer No. 2 a bit odd. This large steamship was lost during a particularly nasty storm in December 1909. All that was ever found was a lifeboat with nine of the crew, dead from the bitter cold. The ship itself has never been found, to date. This was not a tiny tugboat either. Don't recall the specs of the ship, but it was carrying train cars, among other cargo.
74. Generation Dead, by Daniel Waters. One hint about how much I enjoyed this story is the fact that I finished it this evening and have already ordered the sequel through the local library. While it's not perfect, it is interesting! The premise is that a few years ago, some American teens who had died came back to life, although changed. Of course, this brings up a whole slew of issues. Many people are terrified of the "living impaired," or the "differently biotic," and Waters touches on discrimination, political correctness, marketing and feelings in general. One of the main characters, Phoebe, and her best friend Margi recently lost their close friend Colette, who came back. They both struggle with how to deal with their now-changed friend. Phoebe also is curious about Tommy, a "living impaired" student at their high school. Is it a crush? Just fascination? Also, the reader begins to see divisions in the ranks of the differently biotic: some like Tommy advocate a path of peaceful but firm means of gaining acceptance, while others advocate for a more brutal solution to the discrimination they face. The ending leaves the reader with a bit of a cliffhanger, and there are several loose ends which I hope will be resolved in the next book. Such as, what is causing this phenomemon? What is the Hunter organization *really* up to? (I have my suspicions about that group). And... if the "living impaired" no longer can drive, have a license, have no rights, etc -- how are they allowed in school? OK, that last one might be more of a plot hole. But this book covers a lot of ground and brings up some interesting issues, at a level older preteens and teens can read and relate to. Another thing I liked was -- I could be wrong, but I think I see some digs on the Twilight series. The Wuthering Heights references can't just be coincidence.