Logos Bookstore’s Recommendations
Ahab’s Wife or, The Star-Gazer
by Sena Jeter Naslund
(Harper Perennial, $15.95)
As the year-end holidays come and go, and as winter approaches and one is looking for a good book to read during these long winter nights, Ahab’s Wife or, The Star-Gazer by Sena Jeter Naslund is the book to read. As mentioned in Moby Dick by Herman Melville, captain Ahab has a wife. The premise of Ahab’s Wife or The Star-Gazer is who is Ahab’s wife and what is her life like.
The narrative flows as Una, Ahab’s wife, tells the reader of her pregnancy in Kentucky, helping a runaway slave named Susan, Una’s childhood, her bad relationship with her father, and her parents’ decision to have her go live with her mother’s sister and her family in a lighthouse on an island off of the Massachusetts coastline. Una runs off to sea disguised as a cabin boy and has momentous adventures there. Later after her marriage to Ahab, she meets such historical figures as Margaret Fuller, Fredrick Douglass, and John Brown.
Naslund’s best incorporation of a historical figure into the story is a lesser-known person, whom I thought was another fictional character, because she and her family interact considerably with Una in the course of the novel. Maria Mitchell was America’s first woman astronomer and the first woman to join the American Academy of Arts and Sciences later becoming in 1865 the Astronomy department at the newly created Vassar College. Her claim to fame and monumental triumph was that of discovering a telescopic comet in 1847 that happens in chapters 150 (‘During The Pleasure Party’) and 151 (‘Celestial’) of the book. The author’s triumph with this novel are the seamless interaction of a historical figure, Maria Mitchell, with the fictional narrator and chief protagonist of the story, Una, the wonderful storytelling Una weaves of her life, the rich atmosphere present in the book as 19th century America and the sea come to life, and for the reader the sense of being witness to an exciting adventure and life.
Holiday shopping time at Logos Bookstore is a great time to find music for all occasions, as there are many world music CDs from the Putumayo label as well as recordings by Ruben Gonzalez, Ibrahim Ferrer and Compay Segundo of Buena Vista Social club fame. Also there are recordings by Machito and his Afro-Cubans, Jesus Alemany’s ‘Cubanismo’, Dave Samuels Caribbean Jazz Project’, music by Gal Costa, newcomer Nanny Assis, Leny Eversong, an old-time Brazilian cabaret singer, and Herbie Mann, Dexter Gordon, Dizzy Gillespie, Sammy Davis Jr., as well as Berlin Cabaret music, and music of New York collections from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Also for Christmas the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s fine collections of ‘Medieval Christmas’, ‘Renaissance Christmas’, ‘Classical Christmas’ and ‘Baroque Christmas’ are available for purchase as well as many other fine Christmas collections. Also available at Logos are Holiday greeting cards and gifts and books for many occasions. Come shop the holidays at Logos!
Upcoming Events At Logos
Wednesday, December 5, 2007 at 7 P.M., KYTV Reading Group will discuss A Pair Of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy.
Tuesday, December 4 and 11, 2007 at 7 P.M. Sit-n-Knit Group will meet.
Monday, December 17, 2007 at 7 P.M. the Sacred Texts Group led by Richard Curtis will hold its holiday party and conclude its discussion of Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount.
Wednesday, January 2 or 9, 2008, KYTV Reading Group will discuss The Gathering by Anne Enright.
Check with the store for which date.
Transit: 4,5,6 Subways to Lexington Avenue and 86th St., M86 Bus (86th St.), M79 Bus (79th St.), M31 Bus (York Ave.), M15 Bus (1ST and 2nd Aves.)#