The Hunt for Red October is a classic Cold War novel. When I had the opportunity to purchase the novel in hardback, I jumped on it. I actually found my copy on a social media marketplace; the gentleman who sold it to me had already read it and had another copy at home. I told him how I loved the movie and had just recently realized it was also a book. He was glad to pass it on to someone who would enjoy it.
My copy is like new – the pages still smell fresh. The cover is red with the title in silver on the spine. The dust jacket has a simple white background that show both the submarine and the Communist hammer and sickle on the front just beside the title.
The story follows two main characters: Russian Captain Marko Ramius and CIA Analyst Jack Ryan. Captain Ramius commands the newest Russian nuclear submarine, Red October. When the Red October fails to follow through with its first test run at sea and disappears into the Atlantic Ocean, the Russians deploy their Navy to find the submarine, and the CIA requests Jack Ryan to assess the situation for threats against the Unites States. What follows is a gripping tale of naval hide-and-seek that could have grave consequences if anything goes wrong. You’ll have to find your own copy if you want to know what happens.
Here is a fun word to say. I have heard the words many times before, but now that I am starting to write more, especially since I want to branch into poetry, I looked the word up so I could be sure I knew exactly what it meant. And how to pronounce it. Mary Oliver writes about diphthongs in A Poetry Handbook.
Diphthong – (pronounced dif-thong) an unsegmentable, gliding speech sound varying continuously in phonetic quality but considered to be a single sound or phoneme, as the oi sound of toy or boil.
Usage: “The initial four lines are rife with w‘s and th‘s; f is there, and v. Three sets of double ll‘s. The heaviness of the vowels is increased by the use of diphthongs. The two words that end with a mute (think and up) are set within the lines and thus are softened. All other mutes are softened within the words themselves. One could scarcely read these lines in any other than a quiet, musing, almost whispered way.”
Mary Oliver is speaking of the first stanza of Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”:
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
When I found this word in Five Children and It, I decided I had to look it up, but not because of the context in the story. When I think of this word, I think of lyrics to a song from Camelot that mentions “the bridal bower”, and though I always thought I understood what it meant, when I found it in my book, I needed to make sure.
Bower – a leafy shelter or recess; arbor; rustic dwelling, cottage
Usage: “So they filled all the pots they could find with flowers – asters and zinnias, and loose-leaved late red roses from the wall of the stable-yard, till the house was a perfect bower.”
Here is a word that I never thought I would read outside of Lewis Carroll’s poem “Jabberwocky“. I was greatly surprised and delighted to find the word again in Five Children and It by E. Nesbit. Now that I know it was not just one of Carroll’s nonsense words, I may start sliding it into my own speech when I can. Of course, since Five Children and It was written after Through the Looking Glass, perhaps Nesbit just used one of Carroll’s words in her own work.
Frumious – extremely angry
Usage: “I thought we couldn’t get through a wish-day without a row,” said Cyril; “it was much too good to be true. Come on, Bobs, my military hero. If we lick into bed sharp she won’t be so frumious, and perhaps she’ll bring us up some supper. I’m jolly hungry! Good-night, kids.”
I started a new book while I was on vacation last week: The Hunt for Red October, by Tom Clancy. I absolutely love the movie with Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin, so when I found this book for sale, I snatched it up quickly. The poor book has been on my shelf for a few years, so I think it’s about time I actually read it.
Here is the story briefly – I’ll write a summary when I finish. The Red October is a Soviet nuclear submarine with many secrets. When it suddenly drops off of all radar, the Americans and the Soviets must race to find both submarine and crew. Who will find it first? How and why did the sub go dark? The movie is exciting; I expect the book to be even more thrilling. I’ll let you know when I finish it. Now, back to reading!
Wow, that’s a crazy looking word! I am sure I had never heard it before I read “His Last Bow”, one of The Greatest Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. But, based on the context, I don’t think the word means crazy. For this word, we have to start at the base noun and the build on it so we fully understand it.
Stertor – an abnormal snoring sound accompanying breathing
Stertorous – characterized by starter or heavy snoring; breathing in this manner
Usage: “The German lay upon the sofa sleeping stertorously.”
The last time I went to Barnes & Noble, I decided my main goal was to find a few more books of poetry to add to my library. Mary Oliver highly recommends Rumi, and I can see why. There is a sweetness in his writings, as well as reverence for God and desire to teach his fellow men.
I decided to start my collection of Rumi’s writings with this lovely hardback from Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets collection. It is a little book, maybe four inches by six, but it is packed with poems. You can see in the picture above, the dust jacket looks like an old Persian painting, and there is a picture of Arabic writing on the front too. The cover and the binding make the book feel extra special, almost luxurious. And there is also a little yellow ribbon bookmark too.
The first poem is “The Guest House”, which I shared with you here. It’s like a welcome mat, a sample of the other poems you will find in this volume. In my opinion, that was an excellent choice for first poem. There is also an introduction that explains who Rumi was, which helped me understand some of his writings. I am so glad this is my first volume of Rumi. I will definitely be looking for more.
Solomon was busy judging others,
when it was his personal thoughts
that were disrupting the community.
His crown slid crooked on his head.
He put it straight, but the crown went
awry again. Eight times this happened.
Finally he began to talk to his headpiece.
'Why do you keep tilting over my eyes?'
'I have to. When your power loses compassion,
I have to show what such a condition looks like.'
Immediately Solomon recognized the truth.
He knelt and asked forgiveness.
The crown centered itself on his crown.
When something goes wrong, cause yourself first.
Even the wisdom of Plato or Solomon
can wobble and go blind.
Listen when your crown reminds you
of what makes you cold toward others,
as you pamper the greedy energy inside.
("Solomon's Crooked Crown" translated by Coleman Barks, Rumi, printed 2006)