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A Pirate of Exquisite Mind: Fall 2008 Reading Group

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Arrggh Mateys! Ye be embarking on our Great Grand Reading of this Sea-Faring Yarn together across the vast seas starting Monday November 3rd, 2008. Ye be welcome to join before or after that date to discuss this here book. This here voyage be OVER but ye be welcome to read the crew's words below.

William Dampier

If ye be not willin' to read the book, be assured we's all will leave you on the shore, and missin' a Great Grand Adventure together and you will ne'er be heard from again during our adventures and rollikin' good tymes.

Yer Captain: vintage_books
Yer First Mate: TheTortoise

Meet Pirate Black Jim Spudcake!
(AKA Author
James Nelson)

Sorry, This event has been CANCELLED
You are cordially invited to meet a REAL LIVE PIRATE,

Join us as we listen to Author James Nelson speak on:
The Golden Age of
Piracy: The Thrilling Tale of Buccaneering in the Caribbean

James will entertain us with a Presentation LIVE via
the Internet and entertain us with many tales from his books. The
presentation will last 40 minutes, followed by a 20 minute interview.
You are warmly welcome to bring your questions.

RSVP REQUIRED ~ See the thread below for signups.
This event limited to 15 people.
Cost: FREE
You will need access to a computer with an internet
connection to join us. You can choose to listen to the presentation
through your computer, or you can call in on a telephone and watch the
presentation on your computer.

You will need to download free software for your Mac or
PC to view the presentation BEFORE December 6th, preferably on a weekday.

You will be sent a private invitation with the meeting
information and a password.

Our Sponsor
Dianne Sweeny, coauthor of Cabin 28: The Keddie Murders, a real California horror story. Visit the book and film site here. Dianne has graciously donated a single copy of her signed book as a prize for one of our Book Group members. Can you solve the murders?

Our Sponsor
Pat Doolittle is a fantastic painter and printmaker. Visit her site here. Dianne has graciously donated a single painting of her hand-painted tulips as a prize for one of our contests. This is such a gorgeous one-of-a-kind unique painting we have decided to give it as a prize for a paid LibraryThing member for one of our Pirate contests.

Our Sponsor
LizardPress has donated a set of amazing hand-printed cards and envelopes for a lucky prize winner. Visit the site here. LizardPress has graciously donated a set of four different 5.5" x 4.25" cards printed on lushious Johannot with deckle-edge, paired with jazzy blue threaded linen envelopes, printed with a teaser on the flap as a prize for one of our Book Group members. Why don't you send cards with style this holiday season?

Our Sponsor
PreNeo Press graciously donated a Meaning Maker Tool Kit. What's a Meaning Maker Tool Kit? Meaning Maker is a guided interactive response structure tailored to specific styles of experience. Meaning Maker enables users to round out and develop closure with any given experience. When used over time, Meaning Maker becomes a powerful and useful tool to assist in understanding and evaluating one's life experiences and activities. Making distinctions is essential for human survival. Visit the Meaning Maker site here. The kind folks of PreNeo Press have graciously donated a single Meaning Maker Tool Kit as a prize for one of our Book Group members.

Ye not need be a fast reader or a grand yarn-teller to join us on this here great adventure! Ye only need be willin' to walk the planks and do your share of hoistin' sails, and scrubbin' the deck.

On our sea-farin' adventure together we will: Learn about the life of William Dampier, an Explorer, Naturalist and Buccaneer.

Ye can choose to purchase the book on Amazon.com and give dubloons to LibraryThing here.

If ye's want to, ye can learn to talk like a Pirate ('Arr, me hearty"), learn how to sing for pirate recruits fer your Great Grand Ship, learn about Swashbucklin', Adventurin', Eatin' and Farin' the High Seas. Ye will be learnin' about strange animals, unknown lands and deep dark secrets that should stay in Davy Jones' Locker. And if ye thinks I fergot, we be learnin about William Dampier, one of the mightiest adventuring scoundrals on the High Seas in the 1600's.

Grab your Grog and your whistle pipe, and start dancin' your jigs. Me expect ye all to act Handsomely, and not give away parts of this sea-farin' tale before its time or I's will have to label you a Scallywag and make ye lose out on plunderin' The Pirate's Treasure Chest that will be offered!

Right hand image courtesy of www.boatersworld.com

William Dampier's Map of Middle America from A New Voyage Round the World: London:
Printed for James Knapton, 1697.
Above image courtesy of Linda Hall Library, www.lindahall.org

Librarything.com's Highly-Rated Book Group proudly presents its Fall 2008 Group Read:


The pirate genius who inspired Darwin, Defoe, and Cook.

Seventeenth-century pirate genius William Dampier sailed around the world three times when crossing the Pacific was a major feat, was the first explorer to visit all five continents, and reached Australia eighty years before Captain Cook. His exploits created a sensation in Europe. Swift and Defoe used his experiences in writing Gulliver's Travels and Robinson Crusoe. Darwin incorporated his concept of "sub-species" into the theory of evolution. Dampier's description of breadfruit was the impetus for Captain Bligh's voyage on the Bounty. He was so influential that today he has more than one thousand entries in the Oxford English Dictionary, including such words as chopsticks, barbecue, and kumquat. Anthropologists still use his work.
Darwin took his books aboard the Beagle. Swift and Defoe used his experiences as inspiration in writing Gulliver’s Travels and Robinson Crusoe. Captain Cook relied on his observations while voyaging around the world. Coleridge called him a genius and “a man of exquisite mind.” In the history of exploration, nobody has ventured further than Englishman William Dampier. Yet while the exploits of Cook, Shackleton, and a host of legendary explorers have been widely chronicled, those of perhaps the greatest are virtually invisible today—an omission that Diana and Michael Preston have redressed in this vivid, compelling biography.

As a young man Dampier spent several years in the swashbuckling company of buccaneers in the Caribbean. At a time when surviving one voyage across the Pacific was cause for celebration, Dampier ultimately journeyed three times around the world; his bestselling books about his experiences were a sensation, influencing generations of scientists, explorers, and writers. He was the first to deduce that winds cause currents and the first to produce wind maps across the world, surpassing even the work of Edmund Halley. He introduced the concept of the “sub-species” that Darwin later built into his theory of evolution, and his description of the breadfruit was the impetus for Captain Bligh’s voyage on the Bounty. Dampier reached Australia 80 years before Cook, and he later led the first formal expedition of science and discovery there.

A Pirate of Exquisite Mind restores William Dampier to his rightful place in history—one of the pioneers on whose insights our understanding of the natural world was built.


The book is about an Englishman from the 1600s. Dampier's (1651-1715) works affected writers such as Jonathan Swift and Daniel Defoe. His observations influenced Captain Cook and Charles Darwin. I loved his sense of curiosity. The combination of naturalist and buccaneer was fascinating. The authors tell the story of his life in very clear, interesting narrative. They interweave his adventures with his later works. (5 Stars )

An enjoyable biography of a long-forgotten Englishman who influenced our world a lot more than most people realize. William Dampier set sail during the golden age of exploration and piracy. While he may not have been much of a buccaneer, he kept a detailed journal of the places he saw, the people he met, and the things he ate (like flamingoes). The book is well-paced and is peppered with interesting notes on the world at large, from the hair-raising way constipation was sometimes treated to the complaints from housewives about all the coffee their men were drinking and what it was doing to them ("nothing stiff but their joints, nothing standing but their ears"). I've been wanting to learn more about Dampier after I first read about him in the book '1688', which I also recommend. (4 Stars )

Potential explorers on the high seas:

Total members: 17 members

Members: theoldman, shanemichael, raisegrate, yareader2, AbyssWriter, mpramanik, athiker52, bookgirl271, thebookpirate, babemuffin, rcsj, turoholic, PaperbackPirate, Trystorp, MusicMom41, Elee, vintage_books

Tags: 2008 (2), nautical (1), reading groups (1), reading group (1), group read (1)

Administrators: vintage_books (creator)

Topics messagesLast message 
Thank You 9vintage_books, December 2008ignore
Part Five: The Ancient Mariner/Prologue 11TheTortoise, December 2008ignore
Your Reviews 4boekenwijs, December 2008ignore
Part Four: The Celebrity 7PaperbackPirate, December 2008ignore
Prizes Awarded 6billiejean, December 2008ignore
What You have All Been Waiting For! 3TheTortoise, December 2008ignore
Part Three: The Traveller 30PaperbackPirate, December 2008ignore
SPECIAL EVENT: DECEMBER 6TH Meet Pirate: Black Jim Spudcake! (AKA Author James Nelson) 11MusicMom41, December 2008ignore
Part Two: The Buccaneer 25boekenwijs, December 2008ignore
QUESTION 2: Part 1, The Adventurer 8boekenwijs, December 2008ignore
Modern Day Piracy 9boekenwijs, December 2008ignore
Riddles and Quiz Survey 18boekenwijs, December 2008ignore
Solve me Pirate Riddles and get some of me Treasure. 46TheTortoise, December 2008ignore
Riddles and Quiz Answers – DO NOT POST IN THIS THREAD. 37TheTortoise, December 2008ignore
Cupcakes of DOOM! 5jdthloue, December 2008ignore
Ye Captain's Annoucements 6vintage_books, December 2008ignore
Who Wants to Be a Buccaneer?–DO NOT POST IN THIS THREAD. 37TheTortoise, December 2008ignore
Pirate Joke 19aviddiva, November 2008ignore
Walk up the gangplank HERE! 49jdthloue, November 2008ignore
Pirate Facts 4TheTortoise, November 2008ignore
Whats Your Pirate Name (take the quiz) 25msf59, November 2008ignore
CONTEST 2: Are you a Naturalist? (2 Prizes!) 3TheTortoise, November 2008ignore
The Maps of William Dampier 4vintage_books, November 2008ignore
William Dampier, Author 1vintage_books, November 2008ignore
QUESTION: Part 1, The Adventurer 16jdthloue, November 2008ignore
Learn yer new ship! 4robbieg_422, November 2008ignore
PROLOGUE QUESTION 16PaperbackPirate, November 2008ignore
How to Sing Like a Pirate 6evedeve, November 2008ignore
How to post images and links 1vintage_books, November 2008ignore
CONTEST 1: We have a winner! Is it you?? 2jdthloue, November 2008ignore
Reading Schedule: A Pirate of Exquisite Mind. 6TheTortoise, November 2008ignore
How to Talk Like a Pirate 2PaperbackPirate, November 2008ignore
PRE-CONTESTWhere be me crew? Help me recruit Sprogs and ye be gettin'.... 3TheTortoise, October 2008ignore

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Members: 17
Language: English
Group id: apirateofexquisitemi
Created: Oct 6, 2008

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