Monday, October 10, 2005

Book Pick-- "Skeletons on the Zahara"

I've been having a hard time reading books lately, indisciminately picking one up and then casting it aside a few days later. While I may have sold "The Historian" back to the Strand a few weeks back (read my review here), Dean King's "Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival" is a definite keeper.

It tells the story of the Commerce, a boat that ran aground in Africa in 1815 and whose crew is forced to survive on the unforgiving Sahara Desert. Forget any of the true-survival stories you've read recently, these guys truly had it rough. Quickly sold into slavery being discovered by the nomads of the desert, the book focuses mainly on a band of 5 who plot for freedom through offering their hard-luck slave-owners wads of money. Drawing from the accounts of two sailors, King weaves a forceful and jarring tale of how these men survive in one of the most inhospitable places on earth.

Although it plods in parts, this story stays with you.

Next up, among the 30 books to be read on the bookshelf: Dashiell Hammett's "The Continental Op."

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