I recently stumbled across Modern Mrs. Darcy’s blog and have completely fallen in love with the content. I also really like the design, images, etc., but the content has me going back almost every day. It has reignited my passion for books and my desire to purchase only quality, pretty hardback copies of my favorite books whenever possible. Anne (the author) regularly posts about beautiful editions of books. When she posted about her annual reading challenge at the end of 2015, I knew I had to get a few friends together to join me.

For January, my friends and I chose to do a book recommended by a spouse, partner, sibling, child, BFF, or parent. I asked hubby for his recommendation, and he didn’t even take ten seconds to come up with Carry on, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham. I think he has recommended that book to me every year for the past six or seven years. I finally got around to reading it last month. It only took me a couple of days to get through it.

Carry on, Mr. BowditchAmazon’s summary of the book says: Readers today are still fascinated by “Nat,” an eighteenth-century nautical wonder and mathematical wizard. Nathaniel Bowditch grew up in a sailor’s world—Salem in the early days, when tall-masted ships from foreign ports crowded the wharves. But Nat didn’t promise to have the makings of a sailor; he was too physically small. Nat may have been slight of build, but no one guessed that he had the persistence and determination to master sea navigation in the days when men sailed only by “log, lead, and lookout.” Nat’s long hours of study and observation, collected in his famous work, The American Practical Navigator (also known as the “Sailors’ Bible”), stunned the sailing community and made him a New England hero.

While I did enjoy the book, I think I would have liked it more if I had read it at a younger age. Latham did write it for middle school-aged children. She also based the book off the real Nathaniel Bowditch. I usually enjoy books where significant parts of the story take place at sea. My favorites include Boston Jane: An Adventure by Jennifer Holm and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by AVI. In Carry on, Mr. Bowditch, I appreciated  how Nat concentrated on his navigation book as a way to save the lives of men at sea, rather than writing the book for recognition of his new way of navigating or as just an academic exercise.  I would recommend this book to others and look forward to reading it with my son when he gets a little older.

The books my friends read for this challenge include:

  • Redwall by Brian Jacques
  • Deconstructing Penguins by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone
  • Membership Matters by Chuck Lawless