Heidi Ward's Reviews > Moby-Dick

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
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I did it. I finally conquered that freaking White Whale. Possessor of a Masters' in English Lit, and an erstwhile English teacher: I have never read Moby-Dick. It was a resolution for 2016 and I (barely) made it. Now I have to spend some time digesting it.

Some random preliminary thoughts, which will likely be added to as they occur to me:
- Moby-Dick is my dad's favorite book, and I've long felt guilty for not taking it on.
- Ishmael is a clever and entertaining narrator, and his bromance with Queequeg oddly heartwarming.
- Moby-Dick is essentially a charming picaresque novel until about the last 20%, when it becomes a hallucinogenic nightmare tragedy.
- It's also an excellent example of early modernism, and strongly foreshadows postmodernism.
- I don't wonder that it's a monolithic piece of the canon: the language is a marvel, and carries some of the less-exciting bits all on its own. But it's the mad hubris of Ahab which has attained mythic symbolism, working its way into the cracks of numberless subsequent tales.
- I will never ever forget the scene in which poor Tashtego falls headfirst into the decapitated body of a whale and nearly drowns in spermaceti. Now that's some horrific shit.
- I liked it, but I didn't love it. Perhaps that might be amended with further study, since I'm sure at least 50% of the arcane terms and references went sailing over my head.
- I loved Benito Cereno, and I am Bartleby the Scrivener, so why did I avoid Moby-Dick?
- Now I'm going to read Why Read Moby-Dick? . . . maybe it will help me pull it all together.
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Reading Progress

January 6, 2011 – Shelved
December 1, 2011 – Shelved as: adventure
April 18, 2012 – Shelved as: 19th-century
April 18, 2012 – Shelved as: travel-tales
April 18, 2012 – Shelved as: american-lit-classic
April 18, 2012 – Shelved as: epic
April 18, 2012 – Shelved as: journey-or-quest
April 18, 2012 – Shelved as: own
June 9, 2012 –
15.0%
June 11, 2012 –
18.0%
June 12, 2012 –
21.0%
June 14, 2012 –
26.0% "I believe I've just finished the first of the dreaded "parts about whaling." I learned a lot of outdated information about whales, but it was moderately amusing."
June 16, 2012 –
30.0%
June 25, 2012 –
34.0%
June 25, 2012 –
34.0%
March 11, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
September 8, 2016 –
1.0%
September 8, 2016 –
1.0% "I'm trying this again on Serial Reader -- an app that sends you a manageable chunk every day. Maybe I'll finally finish this one!"
September 9, 2016 –
3.0%
September 9, 2016 –
4.0%
September 11, 2016 –
5.0%
September 12, 2016 – Started Reading
September 12, 2016 –
6.0%
September 14, 2016 –
8.0%
September 16, 2016 –
10.0%
September 17, 2016 –
13.0%
September 19, 2016 –
17.0%
September 23, 2016 –
21.0%
September 23, 2016 – Shelved as: kindle
September 23, 2016 – Shelved as: multiple-copies
September 23, 2016 – Shelved as: qpb
September 29, 2016 –
27.0%
September 29, 2016 –
29.0%
October 1, 2016 –
31.0%
October 6, 2016 –
34.0%
October 7, 2016 –
37.0%
October 9, 2016 –
40.0%
October 10, 2016 –
47.0%
October 14, 2016 –
50.0%
October 24, 2016 –
52.0%
October 26, 2016 –
55.0%
October 27, 2016 –
58.0%
October 27, 2016 –
60.0% "Incrementally, I will conquer this beast."
October 28, 2016 –
67.0%
October 29, 2016 –
70.0%
November 1, 2016 –
76.0%
November 8, 2016 –
81.0%
November 10, 2016 –
85.0%
November 19, 2016 – Shelved as: sea-stories
December 31, 2016 –
90.0%
December 31, 2016 – Finished Reading

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