Monday, August 30, 2010

Reading Moby Dick

While riding the train to and from Washington, DC, last weekend there were a lot of things that distracted me from reading; the amazing and weird scenery, the snack car, people yakking on cell phones around us, breaking my sunglasses, the train breaking down. I held Moby Dick in my lap for quite awhile before I cracked it open. And then I found it hard to concentrate and kept reading the same sentences over and over thinking, what is this guy talking about? I need a dictionary. I remembered the enthusiastic Melville customer from a couple of weeks back who had told me to simply read the first chapter and then I'd know whether or not I'd like the book. I read the first chapter. Uh oh. I was confused more than awed. But, not one to give up on a book so easily, I put it away and decided to pick it up again when my brain was in the right place.

Two weeks later I am on chapter 18 and...I love it. Ishmael is FUNNY. He is downright silly at times and that's not something usually advertised when Moby Dick comes up in conversation. When Queequeg comes into the picture their relationship is cemented so quickly and sweetly that I was right there with them in bed talking deep into the night. The so-called savage and the open-minded, Presbyterian would-be whaler - who knew such tenderness could develop between them? Ishmael is so respectful and non-judgmental that I wish more people could be like him right now, in the real life of 2010. Of course, I'm only at the beginning - they're not even on the ship yet - I have yet to see how they will change once the plot gets going. But I have a crush on them both right now.

I also downloaded a dictionary for my iPhone that I've been consulting frequently. Not only am I not really (more like not at all) up on my Bible references but there are plenty of wonderful, antiquated words that need defining. Thank goodness for that particular technology. It would be a bit much to carry around Moby Dick and a dictionary on the bus. But I can't get through certain passages without it.

It's going well, this reading of Moby Dick. My mom, an avid reader, was shocked that I voluntarily chose this monstrousest, "ponderous" book, but I'm glad I've got some 527 more pages to look forward to.

In the words of the landlord of the Spouter-Inn, Grub, ho!

1 comment:

Kitty said...

"The Las Vegas of Brookline?"