It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.
I've read more than twenty books by O'Brian and this is the first one I didn't like. The reason is obvious; the others were novels and this is a short story collection. It's not that I don't like the short story form - far from it - I love Ray Bradbury and numerous other SF writers' short works as well as those of Thomas Hardy, just as examples off the top of my head. But some writers are not able to work well in both long and short forms and it seems O'Brian was one of these. His first novel, Testimonies, is impressive and he went on from there to become one of the most uniformly admired historical fiction writers ever, but these short stories for the most part were plain dull. A few stand out as good - ones focused on mountainous landscapes - and I wonder if some-one less familiar with mountains or the emotions and physical exertions associated with mountain travel would be as appreciative even of those. Quite a disappointment.