Sunday, 8 November 2015

The Moby Dick Read-a-Long: Weak Four - My Thoughts

At this point I actually feel like I should be apologising to everybody for making you read this damn book. It's alternately boring and gross. However, there are only two weeks left and then I solemnly promise that you never have to read a single page of this book ever again.

And just think how good it will feel when you've finished! *nods emphatically*

Come on people, WE CAN DO THIS! 

(also please don't make me read about whale beheadings on my own...)

1) Please tell me you didn't attempt to read this week's chapters whilst eating. How did you find the... instructive aspects of these chapters?
I read the first of these chapters on a train on the way home from work. I hadn't realised how appalled my face must have looked until I accidentally met the eyes of the old man opposite confusedly staring at me. I shifted so he could see the cover of the book and then he did a little "Aaaaaah," nod and looked away.
True story.
Why does it need to be this gross!? It's supposed to be a novel, not an instruction manual. I really, desperately don't need to know exactly how to break into a whale's skull to get at the oil. I don't.

2) What tactics have you been employing to get through this book? Marking off chapters? Reading online summaries? Crying into the pages?
I've been using the 'one more chapter' technique. Thankfully, they're blessedly short so it's easy to convince myself that I can read just one more before I get to work or before I go to bed, or whatever. 
I also admit to skimming the most gross and boring parts. Deal with it. 

3) Why do you think Moby Dick has become a classic? 
I've been trying to figure this out, which is why I asked this question. I know it wasn't at all popular when it was released and even for quite a while after Herman Melville's death. So WHAT THE HELL happened that made people go "Hmm. You know what's an interesting subject? Whaling."
Don't get me wrong - the overall story is interesting and there a few amusing one-liners tucked away, but I'm sure the same can be said for a huge amount of forgotten about 19th Century novels. So why was this one dug back out of the scrapheap!? 

4) So apparently people can get stuck inside a whale's head and nearly drown. Please inform me exactly how you intend to read this book to your children as a bedtime story?
I sort of want to know if this was a real thing that could actually happen, but then I don't want to have to Google it and be subjected to all manner of gross things and, God forbid, pictures. I guess I'll be content not knowing.
I think this is the part that's bothered me the most in the whole book so far. I don't like fish, I don't like water and I don't like dead things. No part of this is good for me.
How are you finding Moby Dick? Enlighten me, please. 



  1. This book should be put on the bedside table of the world and never picked back up again. I can't believe anybody who has actually read this book and says that they've genuinely enjoyed it. People who have read it more than once should be automatically sectioned. The whole ordeal is teaching me that people who dub things 'Classics' should not always be believed. You'd have thought The Pickwick Papers would have taught me that...

    1. This book should be put on the bedside table of the world and never picked back up again.

      Agreed. How is it even possible that War & Peace was better than this? Admittedly, it could have been shorter, but it had its good points. MOBY DICK DOES NOT.

      I'm tempted to go read the five star Amazon reviews, but I think it would just confuse me more.

      How are we still going? We'd given up on Pickwick before now.


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