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Moby-Dick or, the Whale
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Previous BRs - Authors; M - P > Melville, Herman--Moby-Dick or, The Whale informal buddy read starts June 5, 2018

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message 1: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (new)

Moderators of NBRC | 31614 comments Mod
This thread is open to discussMoby-Dick or, The Whale by Herman Melville.



Synopsis
"It is the horrible texture of a fabric that should be woven of ships' cables and hawsers. A Polar wind blows through it, and birds of prey hover over it."

So Melville wrote of his masterpiece, one of the greatest works of imagination in literary history. In part, Moby-Dick is the story of an eerily compelling madman pursuing an unholy war against a creature as vast and dangerous and unknowable as the sea itself. But more than just a novel of adventure, more than an encyclopaedia of whaling lore and legend, the book can be seen as part of its author's lifelong meditation on America. Written with wonderfully redemptive humour, Moby-Dick is also a profound inquiry into character, faith, and the nature of perception.


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Jammin Jenny (jamminjenny) | 4149 comments Looking forward to this one guys Call me Ishmael.


message 5: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle (govmarley) | 3115 comments I've always meant to read this. I might join you, Jenny!


Rose | 618 comments I know some people who think it's the best book ever, and some people who just mutter about whale oil when it's mentioned. I'm curious which side i'll be on.


Jammin Jenny (jamminjenny) | 4149 comments Me too! I've seen the movie adaptation with Patrick Stewart but I've never read the book completely through I don't think. We'll see.


message 8: by Louise (new)

Louise | 2774 comments This should be goid


Kate S | 1967 comments I am likely to join in on this one too. I read it several years ago, and even read parts of it aloud to my very young niece. I remember really enjoying it and think it will be a fun one to discuss with other readers.


message 10: by Rose (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rose | 618 comments Everybody ready?


message 11: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy | 2151 comments I'd really like to join you guys & I'm ready 😊


Jammin Jenny (jamminjenny) | 4149 comments I'll start tomorrow - not sure how fast I'll be reading this one but I'll tag along.


message 13: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy | 2151 comments Just finished the first chapter - I am intrigued! Though if the whole book is as wordy as this was, I think I'll have to go for the audiobook quite a bit 😅

One thing that really encourages me: the chapters seem to be quite short on average! That's something that I always find super motivating 😊


message 14: by Rose (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rose | 618 comments First lesson- Don't try to read the extracts as you are going to bed. Instant goodnight. Switching is up to the audiobook, so hopefully wont snooze too much today. lol


message 15: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy | 2151 comments Rose wrote: "First lesson- Don't try to read the extracts as you are going to bed. Instant goodnight. Switching is up to the audiobook, so hopefully wont snooze too much today. lol"

Hahaha yeah I tried reading them last night and decided to skip those few pages 🙈


message 16: by Rose (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rose | 618 comments This book is much more funny than I expected. Also, so far (10%)more pre-slashy than intense whale hunt. lol


Kate S | 1967 comments I have just downloaded a copy of this. I am working through one more library deadline, and then I will jump into the fray!


message 18: by Rose (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rose | 618 comments ~20% in and Ahab as made his appearance. I'm officially intrigued. I am actually pretty surprised by the depiction of various religious people in this book. You can tell Melville had some thoughts in that area. I wonder how it was viewed when it came out. I know it was a smash hit, but I might have to look up if it was controversial.


message 19: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy | 2151 comments 15%

I'm really enjoying this a lot more than I thought I would! Ishmael and Queequeg's friendship is quite interesting and I'm really looking forward to them actually getting on the boat.


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

Judy wrote: "Just finished the first chapter - I am intrigued! Though if the whole book is as wordy as this was, I think I'll have to go for the audiobook quite a bit 😅

One thing that really encourages me: th..."



Just got started and finished Chapter 1, and I agree, very wordy when all he was basically saying was he was restless and decided to go to sea. That could have been told in one or two paragraphs! Now I see why this book is so long. Hoping it will at least be entertaining!


message 21: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy | 2151 comments Talia wrote: "JJust got started and finished Chapter 1, and I agree, very wordy when all he was basically saying was he was restless and decided to go to sea. That could have been told in one or two paragraphs! Now I see why this book is so long. Hoping it will at least be entertaining!"

There are definitely some more chapters that are pointlessly wordy so far, but there are also some that were quite alright! I'm still not that far in but I'm enjoying it overall.


message 22: by Rose (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rose | 618 comments So there are some halarious chapters on the taxonimy of whales you guys can look forward too.....I spent most of them trying to remember what the modern taxonimy is.


Kate S | 1967 comments I just re-read chapter 1. I had forgotten how much I like the beginning of this novel. The idea that after some time, it's time to take to the high seas. It just sets the tone for an exciting adventure!


message 24: by Rose (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rose | 618 comments I'm about 40% of the way in, and we have whales! I'm weirdly fond of Ishmael's rants at this point.


Kate S | 1967 comments Hey everyone! How is it going? Are we still working on this tale?


message 26: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy | 2151 comments I'm still reading! But definitely going slow and steady here 😅 Plus I'm currently on holiday and I like my reading to progress a little quicker when I'm on the beach... But I'm definitely going to focus on this next week! 😊


Kate S | 1967 comments This may not be the best book for reading on the beach! Hope you are having a lovely holiday, Judy!


message 28: by Rose (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rose | 618 comments I am still reading. I actually almost done! I have like 70 pages left, so I was waiting until i had a wrapping up thoughts. How are you guys feeling about the pacing of the book? Most of my thoughts are that I enjoy the book, but as a novel the pacing is ridiculous. So many segues and a weird lack of big white whale....


Kate S | 1967 comments Rose wrote: "I am still reading. I actually almost done! I have like 70 pages left, so I was waiting until i had a wrapping up thoughts. How are you guys feeling about the pacing of the book? Most of my thought..."

The pacing is a little ridiculous in our current time. The verbosity of authors in the 19th and early 20th centuries is astonishing! I like the way this book *feels*. There is a constant undercurrent of suspense without truly being suspenseful.

I have certainly been enjoying sitting outside on my patio traveling on the Pequod with the crew.


message 30: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy | 2151 comments I am shockingly amused at this whale fact infodump - it wasn't as boring as I would've expected!


message 31: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy | 2151 comments Kate S wrote: "The pacing is a little ridiculous in our current time. The verbosity of authors in the 19th and early 20th centuries is astonishing! I like the way this book *feels*. There is a constant undercurrent of suspense without truly being suspenseful.

I have certainly been enjoying sitting outside on my patio traveling on the Pequod with the crew."


I know some authors from that time were so verbose because they got paid by word, so it made sense... but I don't think all of them were, so it really is quite ridiculous!

I completely agree with what you said about the feeling of the book... I'm enjoying it a lot more than I ever expected, but I can't properly pinpoint why - so what you said kind of explains that fascination I feel.


Kate S | 1967 comments Judy wrote: "I am shockingly amused at this whale fact infodump - it wasn't as boring as I would've expected!"

It is rather fascinating, even if it sometimes feels a bit overwhelming.


Kate S | 1967 comments Judy wrote: "Kate S wrote: "TI know some authors from that time were so verbose because they got paid by word, so it made sense... but I don't think all of them were, so it really is quite ridiculous!"

Very true.


message 34: by Rose (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rose | 618 comments Done!

I have learned not to poke a whale.....

But seriously, the whale confrontation was only like 15% of the book. I can see why this is mostly considered a book of metaphors rather than an adventure book. I got more out of Ismael's rants on sailors writing their will whenever they get pissed off, and how the lowest officer is always starved than I did from Ahab and his quest.

What has been everyone's favorite part? I think mine might be the cook preaching to the sharks.


message 35: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy | 2151 comments Rose wrote: "Done!

What has been everyone's favorite part? I think mine might be the cook preaching to the sharks."


Congrats!!! I'm still nowhere near finished but that sounds EPIC 😂


message 36: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy | 2151 comments Sometimes I really question Melville's sanity... why would you write a whole chapter about (the lack of) a whale's nose??? On the plus side, I'm definitely enjoying these musings more than when they're slaughtering whales.


message 37: by Rose (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rose | 618 comments Judy wrote: "Sometimes I really question Melville's sanity... why would you write a whole chapter about (the lack of) a whale's nose??? On the plus side, I'm definitely enjoying these musings more than when the..."

I can't decide if he was on drugs or not, I'm trying to figure out if that would be more or less alarming in that context.


message 38: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy | 2151 comments Well, I finally finished!!! Feeling super accomplished now... overall, I didn't hate it, but there wasn't much I really liked about it either - especially during the second half. But I definitely don't regret that I spent all this time reading it!


Kate S | 1967 comments I have finished this one again as well. I understand why people struggle with this. I like the whale musings. The amount of information shared in this book is somewhat amazing. I find it reminds me how specialized the whalers training was (is?). Perhaps I think like an Literature teacher (which I am not), but I appreciate the literary elements to this novel. The foreshadowing of the first whale is of particular note for me.

The quest as a whole and the descent into madness is terrifying and pleasing at the same time.


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