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This was heavy. If you strip away the dated whale taxonomy and the copious musings on the usage of whale blubber in society, you get a really crazy story. Foaming at the mouth with vengeance, Captain Ahab seeks the white whale, Moby-Dick, and is prepared to chase him to the ends of the earth.
Just try to read this now, in 2019, without seeing how our endless, rapacious capacity to consume could not have led us- in all innocence- to the complete destruction of our environment and our own culture.
Ah! Moby! Ah! Humanity!
Perhaps the most famous American novel that the fewest people have read. In fact, for many people the book itself is the white whale – intimidating to contemplate, woeful to confront. There are certainly a lot of problems with *Moby Dick*, especially for the modern reader. This minimal plot moves at a very slow pace. Melville is excessively long-winded, giving us half a dozen complex metaphors with obscure historical references in one paragraph where one clean comparison might have been more effective.
So what is GOOD about the book? Surprisingly, there is a lot of humor. We tend to think of this classic as a great tragedy but Melville is adept at wry descriptions of his characters and sarcastic comments on human nature. The characters are interesting, especially Queequeg the harpooner. And the philosophy about man’s relationship to the universe is interesting if you take the time to think about it as you go. And finally there is the last 50 pages. Melville’s description of the white whale is stunning in its beauty and power. He tightens up the metaphors and delivers a powerful description of man against nature, with the sea and the whale trying to destroy the humans.
I read this book to fulfil the goal read an allegory. It has been on my bucket list for a long time. I really enjoyed it even if I did find the ending a bit weird. It is also on listopia's 300 books everyone should read once list. I think it belongs there
Many reviewers on this page seem to be confused. This is the graphic novel version of Moby Dick and it is incredible. The art style fits the tone perfectly and younger readers can enjoy the iconic story without having to muscle through the dense original novel. Read it if you're a graphic novel fan!
I love the classics, but I couldn't get past the endless descriptions of all the different whales. The story is great overall, but Melville needed an editor to help him cut!
"Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off--then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can."
Normally included in the list of great western civ classics. For the life of me, I can not understand why. My hardbound copy has 419 pages. The actual story is roughly 100ish pages and is compelling, perhaps a 4 star rating. The rest is borderline absurd. Melville dabbles in many fields he has limited erudition. He wears the hat of the historian, zoologist, philosopher, theologian and writer. Unfortunately, he is a bad historian and zoologist, and only a mediocre philosopher and theologian. He also has the annoying tendency to switch to Early Modern English, even though the book and story are centered around 1850, hundreds of years past when Modern English replaced EME. A few times for literary effect, fine. Every time you enter into highbrow manifestos, no. Why did Melville do this...because he read Shakespeare for the first time just before writing Moby Dick. I guess it could have been worse. Melville could have read Chaucer and then we would have had to suffer through Middle English. Moby Dick is not terrible. It is also not a great classic.
Reading this famous classic by Herman Melville, I soon realized that there was a reason why people found it so notoriously difficult. From lengthy Shakespeare-esque monologues to unending descriptions of Folio, Octavo, and Duodecimo whales, Moby Dick could at times be, quite simply put, annoying. The overall theme was, to be sure, steadily present throughout the entire novel. From the beginning, Captain Ahab was a figure of mystery and determination, with an almost godlike aura. If such a great man would devote his whole life sailing across the sea in pursuit of a whale, wouldn't it be something worthwhile? And so begins a long journey, delineating where human recklessness and greed ultimately leads to. Moby Dick remains a novel I look upon with mixed feelings. It has extremely valuable messages conveyed through its pages, which are timeless and perhaps especially relevant today. But was it truly necessary to fill a good quarter of the book with descriptions of things that were distracting from the story? I would leave that for the reader to decide. Overall, my final verdict would be to give it a try; it's a good book to have read once in your lifetime. 3 stars out of 5 @StarRead of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library
The writer tells the story of a man voyaging to see whales. The story emphasizes Moby Dick, an albino sperm whale, that one of the crew members wants revenge on for taking his leg. An interesting set of characters and very diverse, the story is also heavily influenced by Shakespeare and the Bible. What I thought of the novel, however, was that it was deep but there were unnecessary pages, completely describing how boats work. It may just be me from my modern age perspective but this is very difficult to read, and I often caught myself daydreaming.
- @Florence of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library
Purposely prepare yourself, before reading Moby Dick for the first time.
Try to distance yourself from this saga-novel's earning a classic status over its long history.
It has nothing to do with modern proclivities or sensibilities and therefore, can not be assessed by comparisons to the contemporary world. It is a remarkably-vivid window into the Human Nature of a bygone era. When high-adventure was only measured by surviving through it.
Should the opening chapters seem grandiloquent, allow your imagination the capacity to fully immerse yourself in the story's time and place. It is only there that your Soul can grasp the magnitude of the tale...and free your Heart to exalt in its passions.
Read this book..... on IT'S own terms.
It instills distinctive perspectives about Life.
Then you can reflect upon them....... on YOUR own terms.
The masterpiece of all literature everything is in there . A metaphysical work of art. ASTONISHING. I read it in the eight grade and still read it now. An excellent beach book or sitting in front of the fire in my cabin on the woods . 420
This book is an epic tale, a masterpiece, and a revered piece of literature as a timeless classic for a reason. Melville commands your attention instantly, and although for some this may be a difficult read that requires pages to be read multiple times, this is a book that you will never regret reading. It is remarkably poetic and humorous for a book about a whale, and the real beauty of the book is that it really isn’t about a whale at all – it is about the exploration of the human condition, in every aspect you could explore. You cannot go into this book reading it just to read it, as many do with classics; this book deserves respect in its eloquence and the ability that Melville has to draw so many parallels between what it means to be a human and whales. - @FalcoLombardi of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library
I've tried to get through this over years...finally relied on Nathaniel Philbrick to explain it to me. What a difference.
Melville's legendary tale of an obsessed sea captain and his pursuit of the monstrous whale that bit off his leg
Good read, But it captures whales as monsters. I know that's not true, plus I'm not too fond of the killing of these intelligent, socially complex beautiful creatures.
yeah boring..but to be fair only read a few pages..but did not have the inclination to continue
It’s not just a pop culture icon, but an amazing, ambitious book that is beautiful and amusing and complex and a little crazy and that gives and gives and is worth reading daily. It is not hyperbole to say that this book changed and continues to inspire my life, and I come return to it regularly. I recommend reading it as a group the first few times or enjoying the audiobook first. “Nothing exists in itself.”
Considered one of the Top 10 classic novels (my #2) of the western world. As pointed out by some reviewers, it is slow going at times but then that is part of the greatness of classic novels. See my GerryD Lists for other great novels.
It was a very enthralling book...once one got past the enormous amount of pages written just on the various information that had been gathered on Leviathans. If those had never been written, this book may have been in my category of "best books read." I recommend this book as a good read, it just requires a bit of patience at times and commitment. If you're not willing to do either, well, then, forget it.
A lot of people are familiar with this story but fewer people have ever read it. Until now I was one of those people. And I could see why people would be put off by this book. It’s a good story, even a great story. But it is long. And Ismael, our narrator, is verbose to say the least. You have to be patient with him. You are a hundred pages into the book before you even get on the ship. It is a long time after that before you see any whales and a lot longer after that that you get to see Moby Dick himself. It’s not that nothing happens in the meantime. You get to know the crew and Ahab and you get to see the effect that the captain’s obsession with the famous whale has on him and his crew. Which is all good stuff. But Ismael goes on and on about everything. He gives you a catalog of all the whales he has seen represented in art and tells you how close they are to the real thing; he gives you a catalog of all the known whales; he discourses on the greatness of man. And there is a lot of sailing going on. I’ve never read anything else by Melville so I don’t know if it is author or the narrator that tends to be so wordy and tangential but for me there were long passages where I was at a loss as to what they added to the story and, quite frankly, I could have done without. Even with all of those things I really liked it but I’m glad I was reading another book at the same time or it might have become monotonous.