(And Yet Another) Moby-Dick (Book Acquired, 4.18.2014)

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So I bought yet another copy of Moby-Dick, despite the many several editions already in our home.

I’d looked for an edition of the Barry Moser illustrated M-D for years—casually, in used book shops—but after a few (ahem) glasses of chardonnay, I bought one for next to nothing on eBay.

Moser’s etchings are superb, of course, and they most often illustrate the technical, scientific, or historical aspects of the novel. Great stuff.

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Another Moby-Dick (Book Acquired, 3.29.2014)

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At the bookstore today with my youngest child, I couldn’t resist yet another copy of Moby-Dick, despite the many several editions already in our home.

Just love Hieronimus Fromm’s vivid illustrations here.

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Ahab — Rockwell Kent

39-17-02/68

Moby-Dick(s)

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These are (as near as I can tell) all the versions (translations, if you will) of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick at our house.

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This is my beloved copy, a hardback Signet Classic edition that’s the size of a mass market paperback.

I love this copy because it was the one that I read when I really read Moby-Dick (I also kinda sorta ‘klept it).

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These abridged versions for young readers are the same, despite the cooler updated cover on the right, which I guess fooled my wife into buying another copy for me to read with my daughter. (She liked it the first time though, so….). Even the illustrations are the same:

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More of a resource than a reading copy—although as Norton Critical Editions go, this one’s footnotes aren’t too obtrusive. Handy dictionary of nautical terms.

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I am a huge fan of Bill Sienkiewicz. And Moby-Dick. I wish his Moby-Dick adaptation had no words though.

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My dad’s childhood adaption, a Grosset & Dunlap from the early ’60s.

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Sam Ita’s fantastic pop-up adaptation fails to mention Herman Melville’s name at all.

Despite the gross oversight, it’s given me hours of joy with my kids.

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Moby-Dick was published on October 18th, 1851 in England.

The English printer Peter Bentley’s text contained numerous errors, including leaving out the epilogue, where we learn that Ishmael survives to bear witness to disaster.

Although the American printing in November of 1851 emended many of these errors, the early reviews of Moby-Dick were scathing, and Melville’s career and reputation deteriorated.

It wasn’t until the advent of literary modernism in the first decades of the twentieth century that the world caught up to Moby-Dick.

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Henry Miller/Georg Büchner (Books Acquired, 4.30.2013)

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Needing another book the same way I need another hole in the head, I nevertheless dropped by my local used bookstore to browse—the place is huge, and a day of grading term papers made me feel zapped and perhaps depressed. Anyway. Spotted a beautiful Penguin edition of Henry Miller’s The Colossus of Maroussi and had to have it. Here’s a passage some soul saw fit to dogear:

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I had never heard of Georg Büchner or his novella fragment Lenz, but it was shelved next to Blake Butler’s Scorch Atlas and both stood out because of their odd shapes.

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Here are the blurbs for Lenz, which more or less sold me:

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Finally, I did not buy yet another edition of Moby-Dick, despite this midcentury Rinheart cover—but I had to snap it to share:

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Selections from One-Star Amazon Reviews of Orwell’s 1984

[Ed. note: The following citations come from one-star Amazon reviews of George Orwell’s novel 1984. I think 1984 is an important dystopian work (although I think Huxley gave us a better book and a more accurate vision in his novel Brave New World). Anyway, I find myself fascinated by one-star Amazon reviews for some reason (see also: See also: Melville’s Moby-Dick, Joyce’s Ulysses and Markson’s Wittgenstein’s Mistress) and to be clear, I think some of the one-star reviews of 1984–including ones I cite here—make some pretty valid points (others are atrocious, of course). I’ve preserved the reviewers’ unique styles of punctuation and spelling].

1984 is a fictional novel by George Orwell.

I don’t really like futuristic based books…

1984 might have been scary 100 years ago, but not now.

…the plot is fairly simplistic but with redundant lines. “Oceania has always been war with Eastasia.” “Freedom is slavery.” “Big Brother is watching you.” In other words, it was nothing but a lot of nonsensical fillers.

I truly believe that Orwell’s sole purpose for writing this novel was to encourage anarchy, and to convince his readers to be subordinate to authority.

The text was so long and unelaborate.

George Orwell is no wordsmith and his style of writing stinks and flows like verbal diarrhea.

i give this book one star i had to read it for class and i know it’s suposed to be a “classic” but god itis awful. first of all its NOTHING like the future is probly going to turn out. second of all every one says the aurthor george orwell is so trippy and wierd but i think he’s just trying to cover up for the fact that HE CAN’T WRITE. please george do us all a faver and stop writing books.

I am not at all intrested in the goverment. This may be part of the reason that I didnt like it.

I personally think big brother is the man.

It is crude, heavy-handed, superficial propaganda.

…a boring, unoriginal one-hit wonder who wanted to make a buck rehashing much-talked-of, much-written-of themes.

It is dark, depressing, and I finished reading it feeling like less of a human than when I started.

Quote from “1984”: “Humanity is nothing more than one man shoving another man’s face in the mud.” So, “1984” tells us that humans are completely useless and we have no reason to exist.

It was just thoughts of a sad man with perverse and suspicouis thoughts. The main character constantly dwelled on how horrible everything was and eventually how he was going to fight against it. But never did, unless you count having an affair and writing in a journal or buying an old paperweight.

Keep your dictionary handy.

I was greatly dissapointed with the redundent and unecessary words.

For me the book took a downword turn during the time where Winston started having a love affair with some girl.

…it doesn’t make any sense to think that a novel like this one is really any better than say, Michael Crichton or Stephen King.

The main character, Winston, daydreams about raping Julia, who later becomes his dirty mistress. Then about a hundred pages later, they get caught by the Thought Police, thrown into “prison,” and are brain washed. That’s pretty much what happens.

…and must we really keep reading in full detail the horror and disgust of Winston’s vericose veins?!

Today, his book is the modern bible of the paranoid disgruntled white male and other conspiracy nutcases.

Human beings are BETTER than this…

In addiction, the contradictions throughout the novel were frustrating.

On the surface it seems to be an interesting glance at the “future” that our grandparents envisioned. This however could not be farther from the truth. 1984 is in fact a lame, boring, and novel that attempts to be philosophical.

…a monumental ode to nothingness, an ideologically streamlined state of unbelievable being.

And please for the love of God don’t read that “Brave New World” book by Hoxley. It is twice as worse as 1984.

Last time I ever read a history book by this Orwell scrub. He doesn’t know a thing about the 80s. Not ONCE did he mention Def Leppard or Karma Chameleon.

Selections from One-Star Amazon Reviews of Melville’s Moby-Dick

[Ed. note: The following citations come from one-star Amazon reviews of Herman Melville’s novel Moby-Dick. To be very clear, I think Moby-Dick is fantasticbut I also enjoy seeing what people compelled to write negative reviews of the book on Amazon had to say. What follows are selections of one-star Amazon reviews; I’ve preserved the reviewers’ unique styles of punctuation and spelling. See also: on Joyce’s Ulysses and Markson’s Wittgenstein’s Mistress].

Yechh.

I bought this book for a friend in jail. Alas, he was unable to read it because the font was too small.

First of all, classiflying it as fiction is a mistake. Probably a good 60% of the book is non-fiction – chapter after chapter dedicated to every imaginable detail of the biology of the whale and every imaginable nuance of whaling.

Ray Bradbury, who wrote the screenplay for this novel, (a la Gregory Peck) couldn’t even finish the damn thing!

Moby Dick, was a horrible waiste of time. Along with its wordy paragraphs, it also talked about uninteresting issues. It is also to long, and you don’t hear of them encountering the whale until the end of the book.

I am quite the fan of stories which involve man eating sea creatures, such as Jaws. Moby Dick is nothing compared to such classics, I fear.

Moby Ick’s more like it.

It made for a smashing movie.

Throughout the book, you may read one chapter with some action only to be followed by 5 or 6 chapters of tangents that are not necessary to understand the story.

Honestly, Over 400 pages devoted to killing a whale because it ate your hand? Come on.

Those chapters about Ishmael sleeping with whatever his name was and Ishamel had such a good time with the other guy’s arm over him and leg over him that he didn’t know if he was straight or gay any more.

What is the whales motivation? You dont know.

I have seen better writing in a Hallmark card! Boring! Give me a good ole copy of Elvis and Me! A true story that really tugs at your heart strings! I sleep with that one under my pillow! Keep Moby Dick away from my bed!

i personally didn’t enjoy the philosophical or deep side of the book, i have read much much better books in that regard.

It is 540somepages of boring whaling details.

I think if you made it into a short comic strip, you would have liked it.

There is no suspense, and I find the idea of people hunting whales offensive. Offensive with a capital O.

No wonder Melville flopped as a writter.

OMG, this is tedious and torture to read.

If you like a story with nonessential information and an author that is entirely to verbose, then this book is for you.

I love literatur just as much as the next guy but we must face it 100 years or so ago American literature was reall weak and lagging from the rest of the world, perhaps now they’re starting to catch up with writers like Ann Rice and them.

It is hard to read. like work. Doubt he could get published today.

I HATE this book. Why? It’s BORING!

The only people who like this book are english teachers who derive a feeling of moral superiority from forcing others to read this incredibly bad novel.

If you want to read lots of meaningless whale trivia read the book.

Boy gets whale. Boy loses whale. Boy gets whale. Spawns yawns.