Karin Chenoweth, January 3, 2011 (view all comments by Karin Chenoweth)
It was my New Year's resolution last year to read some of the books that had intimidated me in the past. Moby Dick was one--from what others had said I thought it would include impenetrable symbolism and difficult language. The language--long, rambling sentences--did take a little getting used to, but Melville is a kind author in that he pretty much explains every symbol. And what a book! I wanted to say, "Why didn't anybody tell me?!" but, of course, lots of people had. It's a great book and has a lot of relevance, being as it is about the oil industry. An earlier oil industry than ours, but still the oil industry.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (0 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
hgramp, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by hgramp)
Finally, after 20 years I picked up Moby Dick again, and found it be unexpectedly riveting, luminous, and actually not the slog which its reputation suggests. Perhaps it is the sheer size of the book that puts people off, but I found it easy to be swept up in storytelling that was completely compelling and convincing. But not only is the plot full of forward momentum, the writing itself is utterly beautiful. There were many breathtaking passages, especially descriptions of the profound beauty and awesome power of nature. Sure, there are a few slow spots -- detail on whaling knives, etc -- but to get through this, probably the greatest of American novels, was so rewarding. In fact I want to read it again.
Random House UK -
"Review A Day"
by Doug Brown, Powells.com,
"I'm embarking on a 'classics year,' where I'm going to try to read a lot of those books that I know I should have read a long time ago. You know the ones — those books that we can all quote from and make references to, even though we've never actually cracked open a copy. I started last year by finally reading Darwin's main books....Then, when I interviewed Stephen Pinker, he mentioned having recently enjoyed Moby-Dick and recommended it to me for the biology aspects. So I made the plunge. And you know what? It went quicker than I expected, and it's got some interesting observations about people beyond the obvious insights about obsession and vengeance. (read the entire Powells.com review)
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.