Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Moby-Dick: Final Thoughts

So, it's done.  I'm finished.  I've completed Moby-Dick -- that is, if you count listening to an audiobook the same as reading a book.  To be completely honest, I would say I read about 30% in combination of print and online, and the other 70% via audio.

Anyway, this book really was not what I expected at all.  I really thought there would be more action, more adventure.  I didn't expect non-stop action like Treasure Island or even The Three Musketeers, but I was expecting a little more adventure, for a whaling novel.  There was much more description about whales, and whaling, and butchering whales than I ever expected.

Maybe I would have liked it more if I owned this beautiful Penguin Clothbound Classic!

Overall, I really wish I understood this book better.  Listening to the audiobook certainly made it easier in some ways, especially because I could absorb a little at a time, but sometimes I felt like I was losing the narrative thread (such that it was) since I only listened to a few pages a day.  After a break, I want to read Why Read Moby-Dick? by Nathaniel Philbrick to see if that sheds some more light.  Parts of it were funny, and I really liked Queequeg -- I wish the book had had more about him.  I'm really not even sure what happened to him, though I have my suspicions.  I admired the writing, I appreciate the risks that Melville took, but I'm not sure that I can say I actually liked it.   And now I really want to go on an ocean voyage -- I'd love to go to Alaska now and do some whale watching! 

I'm glad I finished it, and I'm counting Moby-Dick as my American Classic for the Back to the Classics Challenge. 


  1. I'm still working on it. I would love to finish it before the end of the month and officially count it as a summer read but I'm not sure if that will happen. There just isn't enough narrative to keep me interested and my marine biologist background is really hating the graphic whale butchery descriptions. But I want to finish it! Congrats on getting through. :)

  2. Congrats on finishing it. I think this is one that I will probably just never get around to.

  3. I'm still on page 120, and have been since this started :S I'm reading Sense and Sensibility right now, I think I'll make this my next book. I *do* want to read it this summer! :)

  4. Super-belated congrats on finishing this! I did it in 2012 as a chapter-a-day (just on my own) and it was... well, not my favorite book by any means. I also found it underwhelming and I think I expected it to be more of a seafaring adventure. I probably should have done it as a read-along - or maybe I should look into the Philbrick!


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