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« A Question of Faith | Main | Thought for the day »

July 31, 2007

Re: Light Summer Reading

I like Crime & Punishment a lot, although I find the end rather unconvincing. The great novel I can't stand and find virtually unreadable is Moby Dick. The book is like passing a kidney stone. It would make a great short story -- unfortunately it's 600 pages long so we get bad cetacean biology and 132 different ways to say "I love the sea" and "Sailors, especially whalers, are colorful."

Any cracks about Dickens will get you an angry albino Sperm Whale in your shower.

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Comments

Gina Dalfonzo

Not to keep beating a dead whale here -- I know I've gone on about Jasper Fforde for a while now -- but at last week's reading, someone asked him about his choices for the ten most boring classics ever written. (It's a plot point in the Thursday Next series, but the actual books are never named.) He hemmed and hawed a bit and finally, sheepishly, mentioned "Moby Dick." Amid gasps and little cries of shock, he then hastily retracted the suggestion. Meanwhile I turned to Kim and said, "YES!" I've had to read some boring stuff in my time, but Melville is way up there near the top of my list too.

All right, go on and bring on your lightning bolts (with apologies to Dorothy Parker).

Kim Moreland

I had to read Moby Dick for a high school English class, and I heartily agree with Roberto, Gina, and Jasper--boring. I'll tell you another author I find tedious at best: Mark Twain.

LK

I was an English major and somehow avoided reading "Moby Dick" about three times. I was assigned the task of digging into the horridly boring epic, but I just couldn't get past the first page. Thank goodness for Sparknotes.com...I guess that makes me a fraud, but I just couldn't stomach the great whale. For a busy college kid, that's the easiest thing to put one to sleep.

Kim Moreland

On the contrary, LK, I think reading cliff notes is a pretty good idea if a doorstop (that means very long and boring book that is perfect for holding doors open) is unreadable.

A Philistine

On the other hand, I didn't read Moby Dick until I was 25, and I found it gripping. Of course, I skipped the expository chapters... but there's a reason the old Gregory Peck movie is so good -- there's a real story there, screaming to get out.

Kim Moreland

I'll check out the Gregory Peck movie. I've seen clips of it before and read somewhere that Peck almost drowned filming one scene in the movie.

Gina Dalfonzo

LK, you poor thing. I just had to read "Billy Budd" and "Bartleby the Scrivener," two of Melville's "short" stories, and those were bad enough.

Had I been assigned "Moby Dick" as well, I guess I would have had to respond, "I prefer not to." ;-)

"ot to keep beating a dead whale here -- I know I've gone on about Jasper Fforde for a while now -- but at last week's reading, someone asked him about his choices for the ten most boring classics ever written. (It's a plot point in the Thursday Next series, but the actual books are never named.) He hemmed and hawed a bit and finally, sheepishly, mentioned "Moby Dick." Amid gasps and little cries of shock, he then hastily retracted the suggestion. Meanwhile I turned to Kim and said, "YES!" I've had to read some boring stuff in my time, but Melville is way up there near the top of my list too.

All right, go on and bring on your lightning bolts (with apologies to Dorothy Parker)."

Actually the whale survived. So your not beating a dead whale.

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