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 Posted:   Dec 14, 2018 - 1:58 AM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

Thus begins a book that I read for the first time recently. I found a new copy for £3 and took the risk. Everything I’d ever read about it indicated that it was a challenge; long, impenetrable, boring even. I was looking for a book to take on holiday and chose this and The Girl in the Spider’s Web. I didn’t even open the latter until we got back, because Moby Dick took up all of my holiday reading time and then some.

What I wasn’t prepared for was how much I loved it. Sure, there are a lot of words, and to keep track you have to read every single one, so my usual speedy reading went out of the window. Much of the enjoyment (similar to the Patrick O’Brian “Master and Commander” series) is in the beauty of the language, so lingering on the text is a delight rather than a chore. It means that when Melville digresses into the detail of being on a whaling ship it had the same level of enjoyment as reading about the action.

Cleverly, the chapters are generally very short so there are many natural opportunities for a break and I like that in a book. Len Deighton’s Horse Under Water is similar, only more so, with two or three page chapters the norm, although it’s a less weighty book.

The language Melville uses is of course authentic, and while O’Brian’s world is glorious, it’s a recreation whereas the actual discourse and description of the mid-1800s is fascinating and beautiful. It’s also hilarious in places - the description of Ishmael’s first nights in his lodging are as funny as anything you could wish for.

It was sometimes hard to read the description of the whaling methods and the consequences for the animals (or fish, as Ishmael insists!) with modern eyes, but Melville even has an insight into that aspect which staggered me with its perspicacity: one of the main products of whaling was tallow for candles, and the whale “must die the death and be murdered, in order to light the gay bridals and other merry-makings of men, and also to illuminate the solemn churches that preach unconditional inoffensiveness by all to all”.

I’m glad that I got around to reading it, and will no doubt do so again. It’d be great to get the thoughts of others who have persisted (or not!) with this classic of American literature.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2018 - 2:40 AM   
 By:   Kev McGann   (Member)

Thar she blows!
I know it from the cliff notes, Chris (Translation = I've watched STAR TREK II THE WRATH OF KHAN)
wink

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2018 - 3:53 AM   
 By:   Graham Watt   (Member)

Glad that there are still intellectuals on the FSM board, Ishmael. I'm not one of them. I did read another novel by... no wait, I'm thinking of Joseph Conrad.

My mother-in-law is, shall we say, somewhat "religious" (Shhhhh!), and many moons ago, as a test to see if I was suitable for her daughter, she asked me if I'd read the Bible. I said, "Nah, saw the film". I still passed the test.

In the film version of "Moby Dick", I quite like the screenplay by Ray Bradbury, if it was him. I'm not checking Wikileaks or anything here, just going on sheer (bad) memory. I always liked Gregory Peck, although my wife says that as Captain Ahab, one of his legs is rather wooden.

 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2018 - 4:13 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

I've never been a reader of serious works ... much to the chagrin on one secondary school English teacher (I never felt it was appropriate to tell him that my favourite author was previously an English teacher smile) ...

... and I can't say this novel has ever crossed my mind as something to try. I surprised myself (and my better-half) by reading Great Expectations a few months ago ... it was on the pile of books to be re-cycled and, reading the first page, I recalled the scene from the classic David Lean film seen in my youth.

Which brings me (neatly!) back to T.G.'s choice ... I recall seeing the film in my youth and it holds a special memory because I think it was during its Sunday afternoon broadcast that there was the news announcement that one of my boyhood heroes, Jim Clark, had died during a race in Germany. I recall crying at the news ... which meant the rest of the film failed to keep my attention.

Of course, I could be mis-remembering (the film) after so many years (and after so many gallons of Le vin et al. ...)

... but I thought it good to share. smile

As for G.E. ... I can't say I was impressed though it did keep me reading ... and it's certainly a better read than LD's Horse Under Water. I've just finished re-reading his later novel Close-Up though why I bothered ...

Mitch

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2018 - 4:23 AM   
 By:   The Wanderer   (Member)

I read it about 15 years ago and saw a play of it in Greenwich about 13 years ago. I enjoyed it, probably because like TG and actually because of him I read all the Master and Commander books and became interested in naval history. TG read In the Heart of the Sea and the two books written by survivors (avoid the film).

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2018 - 5:07 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Read Melville's "The Confidence Man" next.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2018 - 5:11 AM   
 By:   Montana Dave   (Member)

I'd like just a bit more information please Tall Guy. What I'd like to know is WHY you'd take a book, (as well as a back-up book), along with you on holiday? Did you go alone, or with Mrs. T.G. and children? If you went to Capri or The Amalfi Coast south of Naples, no book should ever come with you, except maybe a guide to bars, nightclubs and restaurants. However, if you went to Blackpool or Swansea then, well, you chose the appropriate title!

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2018 - 5:11 AM   
 By:   Kev McGann   (Member)

I also remember watching the film, starring Gregory Peckory, when I was a littl'un, with me Dad, one Sunday afternoon.
Vivid memories.
I still recall thinking the whale looked ridiculously fake, yet also very real and scary.
Fine film*. Haven't seen it in years.

*or so my young memory brain remembers.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2018 - 12:55 PM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

I also remember watching the film, starring Gregory Peckory, when I was a littl'un, with me Dad, one Sunday afternoon.
Vivid memories.
I still recall thinking the whale looked ridiculously fake, yet also very real and scary.
Fine film*. Haven't seen it in years.

*or so my young memory brain remembers.



I saw the film myself for the first time this year, really enjoyed it. And that despite Richard Basehart playing about half his age (see also La Strada). Some major differences between the book and the film but I’d get it on Blu-ray quite happily.

Wanderer - something told me you’d have read this. You should illustrate it, mate - your gnarled portraits would be perfect.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2018 - 1:05 PM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

Read Melville's "The Confidence Man" next.

Might give it a go, but not because you told me to... smile

Mitch - I remember Jim Clark’s death but never thought to associate it with Moby Dick! My dad was a fan and he was crushed by it, such a waste of a great champion in a nothing event.

Graham, I’ve read precisely one Conrad novel - Nostromo, for my English A level, for which I got a grade A when As were hard to get! It helped that there weren’t any questions on the book as it was the most boring thing I’ve ever read, especially the first 100 pages, during which exactly nothing happened. The mini-series was much better and if any one reading this doesn’t know the Morricone score, then you’re missing out big time.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2018 - 1:10 PM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

I'd like just a bit more information please Tall Guy. What I'd like to know is WHY you'd take a book, (as well as a back-up book), along with you on holiday? Did you go alone, or with Mrs. T.G. and children? If you went to Capri or The Amalfi Coast south of Naples, no book should ever come with you, except maybe a guide to bars, nightclubs and restaurants. However, if you went to Blackpool or Swansea then, well, you chose the appropriate title!


This was to Fuerteventura, Dave, just the two of us. We’re both voracious readers but don’t go thinking that reading was all we did, no sirree!

 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2018 - 1:29 PM   
 By:   DOGBELLE   (Member)

I OUT OF MONEY
I had a great need to get home.

it's been a long time since was home. I
left home in great anger and rage.

I was now sickly, I need to make amends before, will just leave it there.

my bottle was empty, my eyes were hollow.


a voice said, "well my friend what need do you have?"

I said in despair "ticket to Nantucket"

Coins were counted out then handed to me.

He then walked to the doorway.
I cried out with a joyful thanks
My good man "what is the name?"

“Call me Ishmael".
I saw him no more.








 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2018 - 2:12 PM   
 By:   Mr. Marshall   (Member)

No.

 
 Posted:   Dec 17, 2018 - 12:15 PM   
 By:   DOGBELLE   (Member)

No.
YES

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 17, 2018 - 12:53 PM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

No.
YES



Indeed!

 
 Posted:   Dec 17, 2018 - 1:54 PM   
 By:   DOGBELLE   (Member)

No.
YES



Indeed!


well - maybe

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 17, 2018 - 3:43 PM   
 By:   Rameau   (Member)

I'll probably never read it. The classics illustrated version of it was a favourite when I was a kid, I had a huge pile of those comics, I loved 'em.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 18, 2018 - 12:21 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

I read Moby Dick as assigned reading as a junior in high school. I agree that it was a struggle to get through it. I wonder if I would have the patience to read it again, and whether I would get more out of it. Frankly, back then I read it as an adventure tale and let my English teacher fill in the symbolism of the whale and the novel's deeper meanings.

 
 Posted:   Dec 21, 2018 - 5:31 PM   
 By:   DavidinBerkeley   (Member)

I started reading this book, two times, about 100 pages in. I'm sure I'll get through it (I started Middlemarch THREE times, same number of pages.)

I did skip the chapter about all the whaling equipment, I'll admit.

 
 Posted:   Dec 22, 2018 - 5:32 PM   
 By:   DavidinBerkeley   (Member)

the description of Ishmael’s first nights in his lodging are as funny as anything you could wish for.


And no surprise that all of it never made it into the Huston movie, eh?

 
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