What’s new?

12/5/15 Many months since I’ve blogged.  Probably no one reads this, so I’m indulging in a bit of diary entry rather than just about books with after thoughts about the pres election and crime books and TV shows:  The popularity of crime fiction, cop-show TV and movies must be due in part to the fact that almost always justice is served. It’s the rare crime book or show when the crime is not solved or the criminal gets away with it–last year’s Gone Girl has this disturbing ending, but the possibility for future justice is held out. In real life it doesn’t work quite that way.The bullies and biggest liars win and gloat about it. Horrible wars are fought, millions lose their life, property, family, livelihood and nothing is ever the same again.

Pitcairn Island:  In a box of used books someone passed along recently there was a book by Dea Birkett about her stay on Pitcairn Island.  I know this author from her book Spinsters Abroad on the bevy of well-known adventurous Victorian women who traveled the globe alone in the last three or so decades of the 1800s. That’s another story. The Pitcairn Island book is a modern day version, because that tiny island, home to a few dozen descendents of the mutineers of the HMS Bounty is in some ways an example of time-stood-still. Yes, they have connections to the rest of world in various ways, yet the culture — if you can call a group of 38 people living on a couple square miles 3000 miles from anywhere having a culture — is still rooted in that mutineer past. The book re-tells the whole history of the mutiny, bringing the story up to the present, and it is fascinating, a kind of Alice-in-Wonderland, down the rabbit hole, miniature world. The isolation gets to Birkett and the book ends precipitately.  Without any preparation for the reader, that is, no soul-dearching explanation, Birkett learns that a passing ship will be stopping and she bails. End of story. In the 20 years since that book was written, it seems that cruise ships stop at Pitcairn from time to time. There is no natural port, only one small bay where a tender (and the Pitcairners’ long boats) can get to anchored ships. There isn’t even a good bathing beach on the island. It’s just a big rock sticking out of the South Pacific, but it has a good story to tell.