Author: Herman Melville (1819-1891)
First Published: 1851
My Edition: Penguin Classic (at right-and I want to just say that I really do adore that cover. It seems so powerful, doesn't it?)
Other Works Include: Typee (1846), Redburn (1849), Piazza Tales (1856), Timoleon (1891), Billy Budd (1924-discovered by his biographer in 1919)
I have been craving a book I can sink my teeth into. Most of my reading over the summer months has been limited to short books that I have been finishing in 1 or 2 short sittings. But now that fall is here, I really want a book I can dive into and absorb over a week or two.
I have been curious about Moby-Dick since I was in college. For one of my favorite college English classes, we had to read Typee. My professor was very adamant about why he chose that novel over Moby-Dick. He didn't want people to drop the class when they saw the reading list. Even so, there were many of us wary of reading Melville. We all knew him as "that guy" who wrote about "that whale." And the first line of this novel, "Call me Ishmael," is legendary. Melville is just one of those intimidating writers we all hear about somewhere and form preconceptions about without actually knowing anything about them!
But, I ended up loving Typee. I remember thinking that Melville really had a gift with stringing words together effortlessly. His writing was just beautiful. Even with that positive experience, however, I haven't given Melville a second chance.
I suppose he is getting that now. And while I am a little worried about reading a book about a whale, I know that the story is more than that. Melville was writing during a fascinating time in American history, and I know that part of that American spirit is captured in this. I also tend to love books dealing with the sea and voyages. Some of my recent reads (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Treasure Island) have spurred that bit of adventurous spirit within me, so I certainly hope Melville and ol' Ishmael up there are up for the challenge. :)
Who has read this one? thoughts?