• Thu. Oct 21st, 2021

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Moby Dick or Why Not Every Classic is Good for You

picture of desk and chair in front of a book case
Everyone always tells us we should read the classics. What they don’t tell us is that some of those classics are just not any good. In my world, Moby Dick was not a good book. Reading that book took many hours of my life that I will never get back!
Not every classic book is good for you.

 

Many of the people reading this blog read Herman Melville’s Moby Dick at one point or another during the course of their time at school. There are others like me, who did not read the book in school and then as an adult began reading all the classics they felt they missed along the way. I have a collection of several hundred classic books on my Kindle 3G so I decided to check out Moby Dick.
  
For those of you who do not know, Moby Dick is the name of a whale that is the arch-enemy of Captain Ahab, the captain of a whaling boat. I had read the book was a metaphor for many things:
  • man’s struggle to maintain a dominant position in the food chain
  • man’s struggle to succeed against overwhelming odds
  • the need to chase a dream and control it

 

 

Well, I read Moby Dick, the entire thing, all 556 pages. What I learned is that not everything is a classic for a good reason.
I read Moby Dick on my Kindle so as I read the book I could see what percentage of the book I had read at any given point. I started the book, and learned about the history of New England, stocking a whaling vessel, sailing the oceans, life at sea, and more about whales and the uses for whale fat than I ever imagined I would learn. For approximately 94 percent of the book, there was no whale named Moby Dick. I remember telling my husband and kids as I read the book, “Twenty-three percent and no Moby Dick.” “Thirty-seven percent no Moby Dick.” “Seventy-eight percent no Moby Dick.” “Ninety percent no Moby Dick.”
When I finally got to the big interaction between Moby Dick and Captain Ahab, I looked for the meaning of the book. I am not going to spoil the story by telling you the end. But, let me sum it up this way. I read Moby Dick all 556 pages and I will never read it again. If any of my kids have to read it for school and want my help, I will not be happy. I hope that all I learned about whale blubber, New England, and the nature of whales comes back to memory. Because there is no way I am reading that book again.
picture of land in the ocean and the words not every classic is a good book
In the end, what I learned by reading Moby Dick is that I can complete any task I set my mind to complete. After all, I got through that book, which I stopped enjoying after three pages, I can accomplish anything. I am indeed a superhero. So, the question for you this sensational day is, what is the worse book you ever read?

When I finally got to the big interaction between Moby Dick and Captain Ahab, I read and looked for the meaning of the book. I am not going to spoil the story by telling you the end. But, let me sum it up this way. I read Moby Dick  all 556 pages and I will never read it again. If any of my kids has to read it for school and wants my help. I hope that all I learned about whale blubber, New England and the nature of whales comes back to memory. Because there is no way I am reading that book again.
In the end, what I learned by reading Moby Dick  is that I can complete any task I set my mind to complete. After all, I got through that book, which I stopped enjoying after three pages, I can accomplish anything. I am indeed a superhero. So, the question for you this sensational day is, what is the worse book you ever read?

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