Call Me Ishmael
I LOVE Moby Dick...it is for me what Leaves of Grass is for poetry. But I also love when people - well, intelligent people who are well written and funny - make fun of blowhard, long, classic tomes. A thing can not be GREAT if it is too great to take a few pokes in its soft belly.
We have a bit of history with Herman Melville's Moby-Dick here at Monkey See. It was the second selection in our I Will If You Will Book Club after Twilight (true story!), and we read the entire thing together in the spring of 2010. Book club vice-president Marc Hirsh and I finished the book in June of that year and declared it a great lesson in "how to pursue a pointless battle to its bitter, violent, inevitable end." By which we meant, in part, reading the book.
Despite the fact that some of the whale anatomy chapters sapped my will to live, I've not been sorry I read it. Whatever else can be said about it, the book is a basic point of cultural reference and a source of jokes and allusions you otherwise won't get. The very ideas of the white whale, the crazed captain, the voyage that really is a trip to crazy...these things have passed into myth, and it's good to know your own myths. But that's not the only reason to read it, and if you want to hear more reasons to read it, check out today's interview on All Things Considered with Nathaniel Philbrick, author of the new book Why Read Moby-Dick?
Be sure to click over to read Philbrick's rationale.
Yikes, I know have the opening music to The Little Mermaid stuck in my head. :)