Blanche’s Book Club: ‘438 Days’.

I took my weekend motivation and strung it into this week, which has so far resulted in me working incredibly long days — it’s almost midnight and I’m writing this with my wet hair wrapped in a towel and a clay mask drying on my face.

But, after feeling so sluggish lately, I’m thankful for this little burst of energy that’s allowed me to knock out some work and even get a new client. I’ll take it! And, I still made it to yoga Monday and Tuesday, so extra points for that.

I am still getting used to my schedule as a full-time freelancer, but mostly, I use Saturdays and/or Sundays to tie up any tidbits from the week and Monday is my slow day where I get some relaxing in.

This Monday, I took a lil cat nap before yoga, but I also finished reading the latest pick from Blanche’s Book Club: “438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival At Sea” by Jonathan Franklin. Here is the book’s description from

Declared “the best survival book in a decade” by Outside Magazine, 438 Days is the true story of the man who survived fourteen months in a small boat drifting seven thousand miles across the Pacific Ocean.

On November 17, 2012, two men left the coast of Mexico for a weekend fishing trip in the open Pacific. That night, a violent storm ambushed them as they were fishing eighty miles offshore. As gale force winds and ten-foot waves pummeled their small, open boat from all sides and nearly capsized them, captain Salvador Alvarenga and his crewmate cut away a two-mile-long fishing line and began a desperate dash through crashing waves as they sought the safety of port.

Fourteen months later, on January 30, 2014, Alvarenga, now a hairy, wild-bearded and half-mad castaway, washed ashore on a nearly deserted island on the far side of the Pacific. He could barely speak and was unable to walk. He claimed to have drifted from Mexico, a journey of some seven thousand miles.

A “gripping saga,” (Daily Mail), 438 Days is the first-ever account of one of the most amazing survival stories in modern times. Based on dozens of hours of exclusive interviews with Alvarenga, his colleagues, search-and-rescue officials, the remote islanders who found him, and the medical team that saved his life, 438 Days is not only “an intense, immensely absorbing read” (Booklist) but an unforgettable study of the resilience, will, ingenuity and determination required for one man to survive more than a year lost and adrift at sea.

I stumbled across this book after I saw a story — fairly recently — about a boat that was missing for (I think) seven days? I was so surprised that this person was found alive and I was scrolling Twitter reading all the related snippets and somehow this book was mentioned.

While I wouldn’t say I love survival-type stories, this one was really interesting. Having been deep sea fishing, I was able to picture the small boat, and the very high probability that, should a storm arise, things can go from bad to deadly in a matter of seconds.

Because Alvarenga lived to tell his story, there are very descriptive details about the boat and the tools he used to survive. Many of the items he brought with him were washed away in the initial waves of the storm, so the fishermen had no real tools except a knife (not even fishing line or hooks) and no food.

I’ll admit, some of the parts were difficult to read — how they hunted, what they ate, and inevitably, how sick and sunburned they got. There are even worse things I won’t mention. But, the book in its entirety is worth these difficult parts.

If you’re into this type of reading, or perhaps you need some inspiration, this one’s for you! I wouldn’t recommend reading it if you’re going on a boat anytime soon, though 🙂

I really liked the way author Jonathan Franklin told the story, so I look up other books of his and I wasn’t surprised to see he wrote “33 Men: Inside the Miraculous Survival and Dramatic Rescue of the Chilean Miners“.

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “I’ll Have What She’s Having: How Nora Ephron’s Three Iconic Films Saved The Romantic Comedy” by Erin Carlson.

Blanche’s Book Club is non-committal meaning there’s no meetings or dues… you don’t even have to read along with us! Pick the books you like… or don’t… we are pretty chill about it. But we’d love to hear from you if you’ve read something we did!

Tomorrow, the library is having one of their book sales, and the last time I went, I came home with at least a dozen goodies. I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ve got on the tables this time!

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