“Iron Gray Sea”

Taylor Anderson

I’m now going to annoy both my readers with a string of nearly empty posts. I’m trying to catch the blog up to my reading. As usual, I read a couple of dozen books without posting anything. A half dozen were from a binge read of the “Destroyermen series“. I like the series (with one exception so far). But because a) my comments about each one are mostly the same, b) I’m behind, and c) I’m lazy, I’m just going to list them in the next few posts.

“Iron Gray Sea” is number seven in the series.

“Dark Voyage”

Alan Furst

I love Alan Furst’s spy novels. This is a bit of a departure. It’s still set in the murky pre-war/wartime European espionage underworld that Furst draws so well, but it’s also a seafaring adventure about a Dutch freighter and its captain who are serving Allied intelligence. Spies, ships, Europe, Furst — what a great combination.

“Interstate: Confessions of a Rookie Truck Driver”

Douglas Sanderson

This is a memoir of a computer programmer who couldn’t find who took up truck driving. His account of going to trade school and starting as a driver are interesting and — since by his own admission he wasn’t a very good truck driver — sometimes amusing.

I’m sure I’m not the only programmer who, staring at the same cloth-covered cube walls day after day, has daydreamed about working on the road. No doubt there are truck drivers who study coding at rest stops hoping to escape their jobs. So I wish Sanderson had reflected on the differences between working in a cubicle and a truck cab, but this isn’t “Shop Class as Soulcraft“, so fair enough.

While it didn’t occur to me when I read the book, while writing this I realized that Sanderson’s job change was a weird reflection of mine. In 1977, with a fresh journalism degree and no real job prospects, I drove a delivery truck (groceries — no special license required) before going to trade school to become… a computer programmer.

(I know “computer programmer” is an outdated term. But to me calling myself a “software engineer” — my official title through most of my career — always seemed like a blacksmith calling himself a metallurgist. Not only had my entry into the trade been via a school that also minted budding radio DJs, but there still seems to me to be more craft in coding than science.)