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Should I persevere with Moby Dick?

(37 Posts)
PlentyOfPubeGardens Sat 04-Jul-15 21:23:47

It had been sitting on my kindle unread for about 2 years so I thought I would give it a try. I'm about 1/3 of the way through now and it still isn't grabbing me, although I have been a bit drawn in by the odd beautiful and perceptive passage.

On the one hand, it's a classic and I feel like I ought to have read it and can't have a proper opinion of it until I've finished it. Also, it must be a classic for a reason and I'd hate to miss whatever it is that makes it special.

On the other hand, I'm finding the language on the whole tediously frilly, not much is happening and it's very blokey. Also it's a long book and life is short.

I'm really keen to hear from anybody who has read the whole thing and can tell me what I'll be missing if I give up now. I'm not worried about spoilers, I've read a synopsis smile

magimedi Sat 04-Jul-15 22:11:30

I haven't read it - but now I am about to hit 60 there are too many books I want to read to persevere with those I can't get on with by about 1/3 in.

Life is too short to waste time on one particular book - my reading list stretches from here to eternity!

<must try Austen again!>

Pussycatbow Sat 04-Jul-15 22:27:31

I read it recently when I took a uni class on American Gothic literature. It was good to have it explained along the way. I did enjoy it, but must admit to skipping certain passages. Not sure if I'd have got through it without professional help! It's very dark.

Tangoandcreditcards Sat 04-Jul-15 22:30:17


SenecaFalls Sun 05-Jul-15 14:41:32

It's worth it. Keep going.

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Sun 05-Jul-15 16:05:46

No. It's dreadful. The stuff about collecting blubber etc were the best bits of it.

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Sun 05-Jul-15 16:06:28

I read the whole thing, just to prove that I could. It really, really wasn't worth it.

Pussycatbow Sun 05-Jul-15 17:46:49

I believe Ron Howard is directing a new film version. Due out soon. You could just wait for that!

mammuzzamia Sun 05-Jul-15 17:56:44

I read it years ago, when I was much younger and going through an adventure books phase.

Trite, but life's too short, if you're not enjoying read something else.

mammuzzamia Sun 05-Jul-15 17:59:04

Wasn't there an adaptation not so long ago of Moby Dick? I'll be surprised if they do it justice. I loved the old black and white version with Gregory Peck. Marvellous!

senua Sun 05-Jul-15 18:00:38

I found it fascinating. I probably enjoyed the descriptions and explanation of whaling more than the story.

SofiaAmes Sun 05-Jul-15 18:02:13

One of the few books I skipped large chunks of and I LOVE big thick novels like War and Peace and Trollope and Dickens.

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Sun 05-Jul-15 18:21:57

Senua - Totally agree that the whaling info is far better than the story (which was, imvho) pretty stupid.

PlentyOfPubeGardens Sun 05-Jul-15 20:23:56

Hmmm, I'm tempted to stay with it now for the darkness and the blubber grin

lljkk Sun 05-Jul-15 20:27:07

It gets better and very engrossing near end, but I admit I couldn't read it now, either.

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Mon 06-Jul-15 17:38:22

I had to read it at university - one of the set texts. I remember ploughing through it and not really enjoying it although I managed to write an essay about it.

I don't think anyone should ever feel they have to read a book just because it's a classic, though.

hollyisalovelyname Thu 09-Jul-15 10:00:40

Top of my 'Worst Books I've Ever Read' list.
On my uni course so I had to read it.
It was a long time ago so now, with maturity ( hah!) I might tackle it again.

PlentyOfPubeGardens Thu 09-Jul-15 13:27:39

I've given up on it and downloaded some trashy SF smile

JasperDamerel Thu 09-Jul-15 13:34:20

I trudged through the first 6 chapters or so or so over 6 months. Then it suddenly became so good that I stayed up all night to finish it. If you've got quite far in and it still hasn't grabbed you, then it's probably not worth reading, but the first hundred or so pages are generally considered to be fairly mind-numbing even by people who love the book.

Film adaptations of Moby Dick don't really work, because the actual plot isn't really that important to the book - it's all the descriptions and language and wild tangents that Melville takes that make Moby Dick so good.

foolonthehill Wed 15-Jul-15 22:28:28 is my car book, for when I am waiting on children...i never bother. Life s too short to plod on with unrewarding optional reading!!!!

dun1urkin Wed 15-Jul-15 22:32:33

I loved it, but listened to it rather than read it, and I think this makes some books more appealing because a good narrator is miles better than me at reading
I agree that it's less about the story and more about the telling of the tale in parts.

dun1urkin Wed 15-Jul-15 22:33:43

I also thoroughly enjoyed the whaling info. Learnt so much grin

dun1urkin Wed 15-Jul-15 22:37:48

Also gave me one of my favourite quotes there is no folly of the beasts of the earth which is not infinitely outdone by the madness of men
I'll shut up now I loved it

SchnitzelVonKrumm Wed 15-Jul-15 22:39:14

No. It's dreadful.

Canyouforgiveher Wed 22-Jul-15 07:21:34

No. dreadful stuff. Heard someone on the radio recently saying something like "all great books are about love or death ... or a whale" I think we could safely lose the whale. Written in the time when men and manly things dictated what was suitable to be defined as literature (that time was/is a long long time)

Reading Moby Dick for most people (not all -some of you really love it) is like a corruption of the awful Samuel Johnson quote - it isn't so much that it is done well but that it is done at all. It is like an endurance test (I think Ulysses by James Joyce is somewhat similar but way more readable in my opinion - Yeats on Ulysses was great I always thought. he more or less said "wonderful stuff, absolutely a genius, no I never finished it nor will I")

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