Daily Bookbag: 29 Jan 2015

I decided last night to do a reading marathon, to see how many books I can read in ~24hrs. It is hardly a fair test, because I still am playing with my cat, making meals, and doing other basic chores, and I slept for ~6-7hrs after starting the second book. Still, I have about 10 hours left till midnight, and I’ll probably read till 3am as usual. And I have already started and finished 2 books since I started the ‘marathon’- Clive Cussler’s Raise the Titanic!, and Reinhold Messner’s My Quest for the Yeti.

Raise the Titanic!– This was a fun story, book 4 in the Dirk Pitt series, so early days for Mr. Pitt, back when all the bad guys didn’t know about Dirk Pitt yet. I was amused by the role ‘Coloradans’ played in this story, as the mysterious 3rd party that gets in the way of the Russians and the US government. I used this book as an excuse to poke at pictures on Pinterest of the Titanic, both old photos and newer diving images of the wreck. I will have to go back and browse more images later, but I pinned some of the good ones onto my boards, mostly to my Reading Scrapbook board.

My Quest for the Yeti– I love the questions surrounding the yeti. The Himalayas and surrounding region make a huge space that is not fully explored yet, and there is still a possibility that creatures exist in that mountain system that we have never documented. Of course, with the Chinese blundering in and destroying native life and culture wherever they can get to it, the undocumented creatures may not survive long enough to be documented. Still, perhaps the Chinese can learn how to appreciate wild places and native cultures before they destroy everything.

I was not impressed with how quickly Messner’s book put aside all possibilities except his pet theory, that the yeti is in fact a rare species of bear. I found his accounts convincing to the extent that in some places, and with regard to some yeti stories, the ‘chemo’ bear is the mysterious creature people encountered. However, some of the other accounts Messner shared in his book did not reconcile neatly with this explanation, and Messner seems too quick to boil all yeti stories down to one common solution. In a region the size of the Himalayas, and with the topological complexity of those mountains, I don’t see why all yeti sightings must have the same solution.

And, with so many stories of human women producing children with ‘wild men’, I don’t think I have enough evidence to conclude that an intelligent subspecies of human or some other primate capable of hybridizing with humans can’t exist deep in the remote parts of the Himalayas. It is not a theory I ‘believe’ in, and I am sure there are other solutions that are equally (un)plausible, but I am content to say that I don’t know enough yet to be sure what yeti-like creatures live in that region. Maybe they are just renegade humans who escaped the brutal stupidity of the Tibetans and the Chinese and formed tribes of their own, living without written language but possessing intelligence enough to steer clear of humans at all costs except on those rare occasions where one is sighted. In any case, while I appreciate Messner’s explorations and efforts to track down the chemos, all very cool and worthwhile work, I do not consider his efforts to have exhausted the subject by any stretch.

Outside the yeti question, I found Messner’s book interesting for the way it shows human behaviors. The way Austrians and others lashed out at Messner over his yeti explorations seemed odd and petty, but perhaps yetis are more important to Austrians? I doubt it, but I can’t imagine teenagers here harrassing a mountain climber in the streets for saying he once saw a yeti. I also found Messner’s adventures with the Chinese in Tibet interesting. I know China only is really interested in Tibet for its water, mineral resources and its proximity to India, so it is not surprising that China has so little regard for the Tibetan people and their culture. Still, it is jarring to read about places like this where one group of people is habitually evil to another. It happens all over the world, I know, but it is still frustrating, and Chinese officials seem particularly happy to be evil to minority cultural groups.

Now, onto the third book for my marathon reading spree. Next is  Omega Theory, by Mark Alpert, another Read Your Library Challenge book. I finished The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree last night before starting on Cussler’s book, so I’m making steady progress towards finishing the ‘A’s at my local library. I am hoping to try the peanut butter meringue pie and eggplant tomato pie recipes from the Darling Dahlias book soon.

If you are on Pinterest, you can see pins related to the books I am reading by following me there. If you only want to see pins specifically related to my reading list, you can follow the Reading Scrapbook board, but if you want to see more of the cool pins I come across, you should check out the rest of my boards as well. Follow only the boards that interest you, or follow them all if you want to.

About Ravenmount

Independent science nerd/writer/music blogger/arts enthusiast/theorist currently in Colorado.
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1 Response to Daily Bookbag: 29 Jan 2015

  1. sasfootbigquatch says:

    Reblogged this on Armchair Bigfooter.

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