Benjamin Duffy's Reviews > Moby-Dick

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
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Jun 05, 13

bookshelves: e-books
Read from March 26 to April 03, 2012

I can't add anything to the huge library of literary criticism and other scholarly material that has been written about this most famous and acclaimed of American novels, so I feel that frees me from having to try.

However, its reputation is well deserved, as this book is pretty much pure greatness from start to finish. Exhibit A: when I read books on my Kindle, I am in the habit of highlighting passages that are especially profound, memorable, or amusing, for later reflection. I quit doing that 25% of the way into Moby-Dick because I suddenly realized I was highlighting almost half of every page. Rather than talk out of my depth about symbolism and theme, I'll just say this book was a whole hell of a lot more fun to read than most "great" 19th century novels. Compared to The Last of the Mohicans or Frankenstein, for example, Moby-Dick is witty, clever, relatively fast-paced for such a large work, and enormously entertaining. I'm certain it's the earliest-published book ever to make me laugh out loud, which is impressive, as the language of humor tends to age so quickly and so poorly.

So don't be afraid; head down to your bookstore today and grab yourself some Dick. You won't regret it!
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Reading Progress

03/27/2012
10.0% "THREE CHEERS FOR NANTUCKET!!! This book is awesome so far."

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Jamie Benjamin, I'm enjoying your reviews of all these classics that I've always meant to read. Moby-Dick needs to be higher on my list, since I like nautical adventure. I didn't know there was any humor in this at all, that's good to know.


message 2: by Benjamin (last edited Apr 20, 2012 09:26AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Benjamin Duffy Jamie wrote: "Benjamin, I'm enjoying your reviews of all these classics that I've always meant to read. Moby-Dick needs to be higher on my list, since I like nautical adventure. I didn't know there was any humor in this at all, that's good to know."

I get it, and I was similarly surprised! The image of Moby-Dick, to someone who is familiar with it only through movie adaptations and cultural saturation, is of this grim tale of deadly obsession and doomed adventure. And I found that to be not the case at all, or at least not the whole story. Ishmael is droll, self-deprecating, and just generally one of the best narrative voices I've ever read. I highly recommend this book.


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