Since I’m new to the idea of blogging, I’m going to try to keep this second post simple. In almost every writing course I’ve taken, the same question comes up—usually in two parts.
What is the greatest book of all time?
I have to go with The Count of Monte Cristo. This story and I have some history. I’d never read the book before I joined the Navy, preferring to stick with other Dumas works (The Three Musketeers, The Man in the Iron Mask…etc).
About a week before my first deployment, I picked up a copy at a bookstore down the road from Naval Station Pearl Harbor and packed it in my seabag.
In the little free time I had between standing watches, performing maintenance, running emergency drills, and qualifying as a submariner, I would read a little here and there, usually no more than ten minutes at a stretch. In due course, the deployment ended and, miraculously, I finished the book. I don’t know that I got a lot out of the book the first time. I’m not even sure I loved the book.
Fast forward a couple years. I’m heading out on deployment again and, again, I pack my copy of the book. I had more time to read on that cruise and, I absolutely fell in love with the book. The pacing of the text, the intricately woven storylines all coming together at the end, and the fact that this book has a little of everything—a romance, some piracy, crime, dueling, etc…
Its 2020 now. I’ve been retired for almost four years. During my two decades, I made eight full deployments and hundreds of shorter ones…and I always had that original copy of The Count of Monte Cristo onboard. On each full deployment, it became my own personal little tradition to read that first.