Archive for January, 2009

Shadow Divers

January 15, 2009

Author: Kurson, Robert
Title: Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II
Genre: Nonfiction
Publication Date: 2004
Number of Pages: 400 p.
Geographical Setting: New Jersey and New York coasts
Time Period: 1991-97

Plot Summary: When two experienced deep-sea wreck divers discover a torpedoed but undocumented German submarine lying deep off the New Jersey coast in 1991, they embark on a 7 year investigation to discover its identity. This perilous search delves into the mechanics of the dangerously deep dive, the frustrating searches in U.S., British, and German archives to identify the submarine, and harrowing tales from WWII submarine survivors–German as well as American. The mission is not without its share of tragedies: three divers lost their lives on the wreck and John Chatterton’s marriage failed as a result of his obsession. Fascinating characters, both contemporary and historical, fill this intriguing, detail-rich true adventure tale.

Subject Headings: U-869 (submarine); World War, 1939-1945–Naval Operations–Submarine; World War, 1939-1945–Naval Operations, German; Shipwrecks–New Jersey; Underwater Archaeology–New Jersey; Deep Diving–New Jersey; Adventure Stories

Appeal: compelling; detailed characterizations; cinematic, flashbacks, investigative, multiple plot lines, plot-centered, thought-provoking, tragic; accurate, detailed setting, historical details, details of wreck excavations, details of deep sea diving, details of submarines and submarine life, details of military history; suspenseful, bittersweet, dramatic; journalistic, popular treatment; authoritative, informative, entertaining.

Similar Fiction Authors and Works:
Lothar Guenther Buchheim, The Boat, action tale set aboard a World War II German U-Boat. Offers details of life aboard the submarine and reinforces the sense of claustrophobia and danger. Also made into a motion picture (Das Boot).
Clive Cussler, Raise the Titanic and his other deep sea exploration and adventure novels provide similar details in fictional settings.
Arturo Perez-Reverte, The Nautical Chart. For readers who appreciate well-developed characters in a tale of obsession relating the worlds of ships and old charts.

Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors
Bernie Chowdhury, The Last Dive: A Father and Son’s Fatal Descent into the Ocean’s Depths, tells of two divers who lost their lives exploring this wreck.
Joe Haberstroh, Fatal Depth: Deep Sea Diving, China Fever, and the Wreck of the Andrea Doria, chronicles the dangers of extreme diving and compares the desire to dive the Andrea Doria to the passion with which climbers try to conquer Everest.
Jon Krakauer, Into Thin Air, presents similar dangers in exploring extreme “sports.”


The Time Traveler’s Wife

January 12, 2009

Title: The Time Traveler’s Wife

Author: Niffenegger, Audrey

Publication Date: 2003

Number of Pages: 518

Genre: Literary Fiction

Geographical Setting: Chicago and Michigan

Time Period: 1970s-2053

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Henry De Tamble is a librarian at the Newberry Library; he also has a condition known as “Chrono Displacement Disorder.” It seems Henry cannot stay in the present; he is constantly and unexpectedly being pulled into another time—dropped completely naked in a parking garage, a field, a city street (he never knows why, when, or where). When the book opens, Henry is meeting his future wife, Clare, for the first time, well at least the first time for him age wise. Actually, an older Henry has been visiting Clare since she was 6 years old. What follows is a moving love story. It is the tale of Henry and Clare’s life together, with all of the normal ups and downs of any relationship, plus the added stress of Henrys time travel. The novel alternates between Henry and Clare’s points of view, with clear demarcations at the beginning of each chapter as to the year (which is essential because of the time travel and Henry’s tendency to be two different ages at the “same” time) and who is speaking. Niffenegger’s highly original novel is engaging, interesting, richly layered, and extremely moving; it is a testament to the power of true love.

Subject Headings: Married People; Domestic Fiction; Fantasy Fiction; Time Travel; Librarians; Women Artists; Fate and Fatalism; Love; Chicago, Illinois; Newberry Library, Chicago; Love Stories; Eccentrics and Eccentricities.

Appeal: character centered, domestic, layered, shifting points of view, bounces around in time, extremely thought provoking, leisurely paced, plot builds deliberately, lots of foreshadowing, realistic despite the fantasy elements, bittersweet, descriptions of Chicago neighborhoods and institutions, conversational, intimate, candid, closed ending.

3 Terms for Book: time-travel, original, moving love story

Similar Authors and Works (Fiction): Dickinson, Charles—A Shortcut in Time(IL setting, time travel, its effect on personal relationships); Gabaldon, Diana—The Outlander Series (Time Travel, romance); Greer, Andrew Sean—The Confessions of Max Tivoli (A love story in which the man ages backwards); Winston, Lolly—Good Grief (A young woman dealing with the death of her husband. Henry’s condition forces Clare to live without him for long periods of time without knowing if he’d ever return)

Similar Authors and Works (Nonfiction): Gott, J. Richard—Time Travel in Einstein’s Universe: The Physical Possibilities of Travel Through Time(time travel, popular science); Grossman, James—The Encyclopedia of Chicago (use it to look up all of the places mentioned throughout the novel); Larson, Erik- Devil in the White City (Chicago history, fantastic but true elements)

Name: Becky

Welcome Class!

January 9, 2009

Welcome to GSLIS 763’s Annotations Blog.  You will each be responsible for posting your 5 annotations here throughout the semester.  You will receive specific instructions on how to post, including direction on correctly labelling and filing your annotations.

We are looking forward to a great semester with you.

Becky and Joyce