Sunday, June 27, 2010

Book Blurb - The Raw Shark Texts (and Some Scenes of the West Coast)

Oh, I have had a lovely weekend! First, I finished another book! Yay me!

It was..."The Raw Shark Texts" by Steven Hall:
Stats: 428 pages of words, pictures, pictures made with words, flip book animated pictures. Started June 10th, finished June 26th.

Blurb: This book is all about words and their power. From the moment our antagonist wakes up now knowing who he is (until he finds a letter addressed to himself...from his former self), to the attack of a virtual shark built of ideas and concepts that swims in a murky ocean of ideas, to the final battle aboard a shark-hunting boat (made in the "real" world of cast-off equipment, but in the flip-side world, it's a real boat based on the mass-idea of shark boats that everyone has from seeing "Jaws"), this book keeps you thinking...and thinking.

It's a book about ideas, memory and love. I grooved on it, but was distracted a bit by some of the gimmicky things (like the 50-page flip book of the shark swimming midway through). The characters felt familiar (like they were straight out of a Neil Gaiman book, must be a British writer thing), the plot was complex enough that I couldn't see what was going to happen and the writing is solid. If you like a bit of a puzzle and some brain exercise with your fluffy lit, you might like this.

Next up: "When You are Engulfed in Flames" by David Sedaris.

I've mentioned my best friend, Janet, a couple of times - we don't see each other as much as we'd like to. A lot of "let's go for coffee" emails, but nothing ever comes of it. This time, when she emailed, I mentioned that I'm usually free on Sundays...why don't we go for a walk?

This is where we went:
The woods of the West Coast! This park is about an hour's drive outside the city - it's right on the coast but you have to hike to get to the water.

There were lots of slugs, like this guy:
Also, his cousins, the banana slugs. Ew, yuck. I watched where I was going - those are gross to step on!

The hike was really steep, lots of up and down on steep gradients:
Pretty snazzy hiking clothes (I jest).

I loved this little section of tiny flowers on both sides of the path:
The trees were very dense. A lot of cedar, Douglas Fir, beech, arbutus trees, and ferns and salal and moss on the ground.
It took a little over two hours of hard hiking (we were both huffing and puffing and sweating, and we're both in good shape!) to reach the water:
Yeah, we're at the top of a steep cliff. No railings here, nothing.

Just a few pleasure boats out on the water:
The trees with the red trunks are arbutus. They are very rare, and only grow in this part of the world. Their bark peels off like paper and they have big flat leaves - but they are evergreens.

We hiked along the coast trail for a little ways, but it's really steep on the ocean side:
That's just sheer cliff face beyond the path. Yikes!

We had our lunch down at the water:
The ground at my feet, all rocks, barnacles, kelp and water.

To my left, looking down the coastline:
Behind me:
You can see a bit of the path right in the center where the short big log is.

And to my right:
A pretty little inlet. We ate our lunch, but then it decided to spit rain, so we headed back. We only saw two other groups (1 of four, 1 of 2 + dog) the whole day. It's not a hike for wusses! We hiked for over 4 hours...I need a hot bath! I'm going to be sore tomorrow!


  1. Gorgeous hike! Eep! the slug picture did surprise me.

    It makes me realize I still haven't followed through on my plans to visit some local places.

  2. Does it just look that way in the photo or is that slug maaaaassive?

  3. if stepping on a banana slug is bad for you, think how bad it is for the slug! ; ) truly beautiful hike pictures. i spent a couple of years attending UC Santa Cruz, who's mascot is the banana slug, so i have to stick up for them a little. i read that they are the only animal capable of breaking down redwood duff, and thus vital to those forests' ecosystem.

    however, when my brother was in the air force he participated in a week-long lone survival test (they drop you off someplace with a map, etc. and pick you up someplace a few miles away a week later). there was ONE item he declined to eat.........yep, you guessed it!

  4. Megan, sorry! I'd love to see pictures of places where you live.

    Tina, he's about 6 inches long.

    tinyjunco, thanks very much for commenting! Ha, I knew that was UCSC's mascot!

  5. Lovely scenery!

    I grew up in Washington state - also home to many slugs. My mom once stepped on the end of a slug and the pressure of her foot pushed all the innards out the other end....and up her pant leg. After hearing that story, I have avoided stepping on slugs at all costs.

  6. Kasmira, yes, same terrain. Ugh, *shudder*, I have stepped on a slug - when I was in Brownies, at camp one summer. Awful experience!


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