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Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

Welcome goonlings to the Awful Book of the Month!
In this thread, we choose one work of literature absolute crap and read/discuss it over a month. If you have any suggestions of books, choose something that will be appreciated by many people, and has many avenues of discussion. We'd also appreciate if it were a work of literature complete drivel that is easily located from a local library or book shop, as opposed to ordering something second hand off the internet and missing out on a week's worth of reading. Better yet, books available on e-readers.

Resources:

Project Gutenberg - http://www.gutenberg.org

- A database of over 17000 books available online. If you can suggest books from here, that'd be the best.

SparkNotes - http://www.sparknotes.com/

- A very helpful Cliffnotes-esque site, but much better, in my opinion. If you happen to come in late and need to catch-up, you can get great character/chapter/plot summaries here.

For recommendations on future material, suggestions on how to improve the club, or just a general rant, feel free to PM me.

Past Books of the Month

[for BOTM before 2016, refer to archives]

2016:
January: Three Men in a Boat (To say nothing of the Dog!) by Jerome K. Jerome
February:The March Up Country (The Anabasis) of Xenophon
March: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
April: Plain Tales from the Hills by Rudyard Kipling
May: Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima
June:The Vegetarian by Han Kang
July:Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees
August: Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
September:Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
October:Right Ho, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
November:Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
December: It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis

2017:
January: Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut
February: The Plague by Albert Camus
March: The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin
April: The Conference of the Birds (مقامات الطیور) by Farid ud-Din Attar
May: I, Claudius by Robert Graves
June: Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
July: Ficcionies by Jorge Luis Borges
August: My Life and Hard Times by James Thurber
September: The Peregrine by J.A. Baker
October: Blackwater Vol. I: The Flood by Michael McDowell
November: Aquarium by David Vann
December: Sir Gawaine and the Green Knight [Author Unknown]

2018
January: Njal's Saga [Author Unknown]
February: The Sign of the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle
March: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
April: Twenty Days of Turin by Giorgio de Maria
May: Lectures on Literature by Vladimir Nabokov
June: The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
July: Warlock by Oakley Hall
August: All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriott
September: The Magus by John Fowles
October: I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
November: Arcadia by Tom Stoppard
December: Christmas Stories by Charles Dickens

2019:
January: Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
February: BEAR by Marian Engel
March: V. by Thomas Pynchon
April: The Doorbell Rang by Rex Stout
May: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
June: 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann
July: The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
August: Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay
September:Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
October: Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
November: The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

Current: MOBY DICK



Book available here:
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/2701/2701-h/2701-h.htm

About the book:

quote:

Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is an 1851 novel by American writer Herman Melville. The book is sailor Ishmael's narrative of the obsessive quest of Ahab, captain of the whaling ship Pequod, for revenge on Moby Dick, the giant white sperm whale that on the ship's previous voyage bit off Ahab's leg at the knee. A contribution to the literature of the American Renaissance, the work's genre classifications range from late Romantic to early Symbolist. Moby-Dick was published to mixed reviews, was a commercial failure, and was out of print at the time of the author's death in 1891. Its reputation as a "Great American Novel" was established only in the 20th century, after the centennial of its author's birth. William Faulkner said he wished he had written the book himself,[1] and D. H. Lawrence called it "one of the strangest and most wonderful books in the world" and "the greatest book of the sea ever written".[2] Its opening sentence, "Call me Ishmael", is among world literature's most famous.[3]


About the Author(s)

quote:

On 5 August 1850 a party of writers and publishers climbed Monument Mountain in Massachusetts, during the American equivalent of a hike in the Lakes. Among the literati on this excursion were Nathaniel Hawthorne, 46, author of The Scarlet Letter (No 16 in this series), a recently published bestseller (although a term not yet in use), and the young novelist Herman Melville, who, after a very successful debut (Typee), was struggling to complete an unwieldy coming-of-age tale about a South Seas whaler.

Melville, who was just 31, had never met Hawthorne. But after a day in the open air, a quantity of champagne, and a sudden downpour, the younger man was enraptured with his new friend, who had "dropped germinous seeds into my soul". Rarely in Anglo-American literature has there been such a momentous meeting.

It was the attraction of opposites. Hawthorne, from an old New England family, was careful, cultivated and inward, a "dark angel", according to one. Melville was a ragged, voluble, romantic New Yorker from mercantile stock. Both writers had hovered on the edge of insolvency and each was a kind of outsider.

A fervent correspondence ensued. Melville, indeed, became so infatuated that he moved with his wife and family to become Hawthorne's neighbour. Thus liberated, fulfilled, and inspired to say "NO! in thunder, to Christianity", he completed Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, in the spring of 1851. After an early reading of the manuscript, Hawthorne acclaimed it in a letter that remains, tantalisingly, lost. All we have is Melville's ecstatic response ("Your heart beat in my ribs and mine in yours, and both in God's..."), and, subsequently, a dedicatory declaration of Melville's admiration for Hawthorne's "genius" at the front of Moby-Dick (the first edition hyphenated the whale's name).

So how homoerotic was this friendship? No one will ever know; it remains one of the mysteries of American letters. All we can say for certain is that, after climbing Monument Mountain, Melville adopted Hawthorne's idea of the "romance" as a mixed-genre, symbolic kind of fiction, and found his creative genius somehow released in the making of his new book.

And that is everything, because Moby-Dick is, for me, the supreme American novel, the source and the inspiration of everything that follows in the American literary canon. I first read it, inspired by my sixth-form English teacher, Lionel Bruce, aged about 15, and it's stayed with me ever since. Moby-Dick is a book you come back to, again and again, to find new treasures and delights, a storehouse of language, incident and strange wisdom.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2...erver-moby-dick



Themes

quote:

An early enthusiast for the Melville Revival, British author E. M. Forster, remarked in 1927: "Moby-Dick is full of meanings: its meaning is a different problem."[19] Yet he saw as "the essential" in the book "its prophetic song", which flows "like an undercurrent" beneath the surface action and morality.[20]

quote:

“Squeeze! Squeeze! Squeeze! all the morning long; I squeezed that sperm till I myself almost melted into it; I squeezed that sperm till a strange sort of insanity came over me, and I found myself unwittingly squeezing my co-labourers' hands in it, mistaking their hands for the gentle globules. Such an abounding, affectionate, friendly, loving feeling did this avocation beget; that at last I was continually squeezing their hands, and looking up into their eyes sentimentally, as much as to say,—Oh! my dear fellow beings, why should we longer cherish any social acerbities, or know the slightest ill humour or envy! Come; let us squeeze hands all round; nay, let us all squeeze ourselves into each other; let us squeeze ourselves universally into the very milk and sperm of kindness.”

Sp

Pacing

Read as thou wilt is the whole of the law.

Please post after you read!

Please bookmark the thread to encourage discussion.


References and Further Materials

quote:

Essex was an American whaler from Nantucket, Massachusetts, which was launched in 1799. In 1820, while at sea in the southern Pacific Ocean under the command of Captain George Pollard Jr., she was attacked and sunk by a sperm whale. Stranded thousands of miles from the coast of South America with little food and water, the 20-man crew was forced to make for land in the ship's surviving whaleboats.

The men suffered severe dehydration, starvation, and exposure on the open ocean, and the survivors eventually resorted to eating the bodies of the crewmen who had died. When that proved insufficient, members of the crew drew lots to determine whom they would sacrifice so that the others could live. A total of seven crew members were cannibalized before the last of the eight survivors were rescued, more than three months after the sinking of the Essex. First mate Owen Chase and cabin boy Thomas Nickerson later wrote accounts of the ordeal. The tragedy attracted international attention, and inspired Herman Melville to write his now famous novel Moby-Dick.

quote:

The True-Life Horror That Inspired Moby-Dick
The whaler Essex was indeed sunk by a whale—and that’s only the beginning

In July of 1852, a 32-year-old novelist named Herman Melville had high hopes for his new novel, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, despite the book’s mixed reviews and tepid sales. That month he took a steamer to Nantucket for his first visit to the Massachusetts island, home port of his novel’s mythic protagonist, Captain Ahab, and his ship, the Pequod. Like a tourist, Melville met local dignitaries, dined out and took in the sights of the village he had previously only imagined.

And on his last day on Nantucket he met the broken-down 60-year-old man who had captained the Essex, the ship that had been attacked and sunk by a sperm whale in an 1820 incident that had inspired Melville’s novel. Captain George Pollard Jr. was just 29 years old when the Essex went down, and he survived and returned to Nantucket to captain a second whaling ship, Two Brothers. But when that ship wrecked on a coral reef two years later, the captain was marked as unlucky at sea—a “Jonah”—and no owner would trust a ship to him again. Pollard lived out his remaining years on land, as the village night watchman.

Melville had written about Pollard briefly in Moby-Dick, and only with regard to the whale sinking his ship. During his visit, Melville later wrote, the two merely “exchanged some words.” But Melville knew Pollard’s ordeal at sea did not end with the sinking of the Essex, and he was not about to evoke the horrific memories that the captain surely carried with him. “To the islanders he was a nobody,” Melville wrote, “to me, the most impressive man, tho’ wholly unassuming, even humble—that I ever encountered.”

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/hist...oby-dick-17576/

Suggestions for Future Months

These threads aren't just for discussing the current BOTM; If you have a suggestion for next month's book, please feel free to post it in the thread below also. Generally what we're looking for in a BotM are works that have

1) accessibility -- either easy to read or easy to download a free copy of, ideally both

2) novelty -- something a significant fraction of the forum hasn't already read

3) discussability -- intellectual merit, controversiality, insight -- a book people will be able to talk about.

Final Note:

Thanks, and I hope everyone enjoys the book!

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Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

The main thing I want to say at the start is:

be not afraid

Moby Dick is a friendly wonderful book

just dive into the sea of words and let them wash you


quote:

Philip Hoare, author of three books about the sea, including 2009’s Samuel Johnson Prize-winning Leviathan, or The Whale, admits he “can’t keep Melville out” of his work, and says he’s “almost messianic” about getting others to read Moby-Dick. Still, he advocates a gentle introduction.

“I always compare it to reading The Koran, or The Bible,” he says. “All of the chapters are discrete as and of themselves, so you read them for their own little inherent, cohesive narratives.” Perhaps more shockingly to the ears of a Mobyphile, he goes on: “I don’t think it’s an issue if you don’t read the whole thing right the way through. People read in very different ways; why should I say what someone should do? But obviously the Full Monty [“The FULL MOBY?!” I interject; “The Full Moby,” he acknowledges, with the trace of a sigh] gives you the full impact of it.”
]

anyway this whole article is good

https://www.esquire.com/uk/culture/...read-moby-dick/

Hieronymous Alloy fucked around with this message at 02:50 on Dec 6, 2019

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012




Gun Saliva

I'm pumped as hell about this book. I started it once in college and loved it, but then got busy and had to drop it, I've never gotten around to actually picking it up again. Probably overdue!

Idaholy Roller
May 19, 2009


What’s the audiobook version like?

Kangxi
Nov 12, 2016

The hat is mandatory.


I will take any reason to read a book this impressive and powerful again. I think I'm ready. I'll start tonight.

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



Obligatory.

Meaty Ore
Dec 17, 2011

My God, it's full of cat pictures!


Hieronymous Alloy posted:

The main thing I want to say at the start is:

be not afraid

Moby Dick is a friendly wonderful book

just dive into the sea of words and let them wash you
]

anyway this whole article is good

https://www.esquire.com/uk/culture/...read-moby-dick/



After a few aborted starts when I was younger, I finally got around to reading this unabridged about 5 years ago or so, and found that, yeah, it's really not that intimidating once you get into it. Just approach it like you would any adventure story and worry about analyzing it later. Let the narrator's sardonic jackassery carry you through the first two thirds or so and you'll be good 'til the end.

And don't cop out and read an abridged version. The chapters where he goes on tangents about whaling and sea life in general were some of my favorite bits, and also provide good insight into Ishmael's character, which doesn't get developed quite as well elsewhere.

edit:

What a dick move.

Meaty Ore fucked around with this message at 20:11 on Dec 6, 2019

TheGreatEvilKing
Mar 28, 2016



I love this book.

Any chance we could do Hawthorne next month?

Philthy
Jan 28, 2003



Pillbug

Looking at buying this and there are a few editions. Amazon has it free if you have a prime membership. Some versions are 350 pages, while others are 800 pages. The Amazon Prime version is 654 pages so I guess I'll just go with that one since it's free.

Teach
Mar 28, 2008



Pillbug

Haven't seen this mentioned in the thread yet, but there's a project called Moby Dick Big Read - each chapter read aloud by a different person, each chapter illustrated by a different artist. And I can't second this enough -

quote:

I always compare it to reading The Koran, or The Bible,” he says. “All of the chapters are discrete as and of themselves, so you read them for their own little inherent, cohesive narratives.” Perhaps more shockingly to the ears of a Mobyphile, he goes on: “I don’t think it’s an issue if you don’t read the whole thing right the way through. People read in very different ways; why should I say what someone should do?

I read it 20 years ago. Last year I picked it up again and read about a third of it. I'll go back to it this month, I think. It really is a lovely book.

https://twitter.com/pixelatedboat/s...1517440?lang=en

Philthy
Jan 28, 2003



Pillbug

Since I'm an idiot, http://www.powermobydick.com/ has been helping me along with the crazy rear end words that has my Kindle positively stumped.

A human heart
Oct 10, 2012



Idaholy Roller posted:

What’s the audiobook version like?

It's not literature.

cda
Jan 2, 2010



Lol

HopperUK
Apr 29, 2007

Clear off, fatso, this is a respectable establishment




Fallen Rib

I read it a few years ago! It's really drat great once you get immersed in the story. Poor little Pip.

OregonDonor
Mar 12, 2010


In a previous Moby Dick thread a goon had this really interesting and fairly postmodern interpretation of the digression chapters about cetology, SPERM, etc—that the book is being written by an Ishmael many years on, and these interludes are his attempt at imposing a kind of rationalist explanation on the events of his earlier life, and in so doing, trying to come to terms with the enormity of the whale.

I’ll see if I can dig it up but it always stuck with me.

Also, Lawrence Buell’s fairly recent The Dream of the Great American Novel has a lot to say about Moby Dick, and this is a worthwhile topic to introduce to the thread—Moby Dick, greatest American novel?

HopperUK
Apr 29, 2007

Clear off, fatso, this is a respectable establishment




Fallen Rib

OregonDonor posted:

In a previous Moby Dick thread a goon had this really interesting and fairly postmodern interpretation of the digression chapters about cetology, SPERM, etc—that the book is being written by an Ishmael many years on, and these interludes are his attempt at imposing a kind of rationalist explanation on the events of his earlier life, and in so doing, trying to come to terms with the enormity of the whale.

I’ll see if I can dig it up but it always stuck with me.

Also, Lawrence Buell’s fairly recent The Dream of the Great American Novel has a lot to say about Moby Dick, and this is a worthwhile topic to introduce to the thread—Moby Dick, greatest American novel?

I don't even know how I'd go about rating that to be honest. I'm very fond of The Grapes of Wrath.

Bilirubin
Feb 16, 2014

The sanctioned action is to CHUG!!!




Bleak Gremlin

Jumping on the boat

Teach
Mar 28, 2008



Pillbug

I grabbed my copy off the shelf last night and opened it where I last left it a year ago, and I read Ch55, Of the Monstrous Pictures of Whales, which, true to the book, is just Melville bitching that none can draw a whale for poo poo.

quote:

Look at that popular work "Goldsmith's Animated Nature". In the abridged London edition of 1807, there are plates of an alleged "whale" and a "narwhale". I do not wish to seem inelegant, but this unsightly whale looks much like an amputated sow; and, as for the Narwhale, one glimpse at it is enough to amaze one, that in this nineteenth century such a hippogriff could be palmed for genuine upon any intelligent public of schoolboys.

It's actually a lovely little chapter, and covers the many mistakes made by artists trying to represent whales, but also why those mistakes were made. There is even a joke attributed to the second mate of the Pequod.

Chapter gets 10/10, would read again.

Bilirubin
Feb 16, 2014

The sanctioned action is to CHUG!!!




Bleak Gremlin

Chapter into it, after the prolonged section of whale quotes that put me in mind of the snippets the protagonist from Bear found throughout the library. I'm already stuck that the writing lacks the characteristics I'm used to in the writing from the time I am most familiar with. It's not terribly old timey at all but refreshingly direct and simple for lack of a better term.

cda
Jan 2, 2010


OregonDonor posted:

In a previous Moby Dick thread a goon had this really interesting and fairly postmodern interpretation of the digression chapters about cetology, SPERM, etc—that the book is being written by an Ishmael many years on, and these interludes are his attempt at imposing a kind of rationalist explanation on the events of his earlier life, and in so doing, trying to come to terms with the enormity of the whale.

It's weird that that's a postmodern take since the book makes it clear that

1) Ishmael writes it
2) He is writing it after the fact
3) He is writing it with the aid of a library
4) The digressive chapters are a parody of scholarship

Like... Why else would the book be written that way?

mdemone
Mar 14, 2001

There is no route out of the maze. The maze shifts as you move through it, because it is alive.




cda posted:

It's weird that that's a postmodern take since the book makes it clear that

1) Ishmael writes it
2) He is writing it after the fact
3) He is writing it with the aid of a library
4) The digressive chapters are a parody of scholarship

Like... Why else would the book be written that way?

I'm a loving idiot because I never realized that Ishmael is himself the Sub-Sub-Librarian in the preface. gently caress my stupid rear end.

Philthy
Jan 28, 2003



Pillbug

25 chapters in. I'm enjoying it so far.

I'm using an annotated version and it has been referencing different versions of the Bible quite often. I'd be so lost without this. It seems to be smoothing out the further I get, though.

Philthy fucked around with this message at 14:39 on Dec 9, 2019

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

Oh good call

Online Annotated Edition:

http://www.powermobydick.com/

Bilirubin
Feb 16, 2014

The sanctioned action is to CHUG!!!




Bleak Gremlin

Hieronymous Alloy posted:

Oh good call

Online Annotated Edition:

http://www.powermobydick.com/

I'm not sure I want to click that url

Bilirubin
Feb 16, 2014

The sanctioned action is to CHUG!!!




Bleak Gremlin

The first introduction to Queequeg: LMFAO

Teach
Mar 28, 2008



Pillbug

Read Ch 57 last night, Melville's third (third!) consecutive cahpter about whales rendered in art, and it mentions scrimshaw.

quote:

Throughout the Pacific, and also in Nantucket, and New Bedford, and Sag Harbor, you will come across lively sketches of whales and whaling-scenes, graven by the fishermen themselves on Sperm Whale-teeth, or ladies' busks wrought out of the Right Whale-bone, and other like skrimshander articles, as the whalemen call the numerous little ingenious contrivances they elaborately carve out of the rough material, in their hours of ocean leisure.

And that reminded me that I've got some. I've got five small pieces that my wife bought at an auction years ago. No idea of how old they are, or whether they're modern, but I'm pretty sure they're not plastic.



Safety Biscuits
Oct 21, 2010



I'm Natalie Portman and I disapprove of this thread.

Going to read this, though. I read about half of it in school, let's see what I think of it now.

AngusPodgorny
Jun 3, 2004

Please to be restful, it is only a puffin that has from the puffin place outbroken.

I made it to the first of the cetology chapters and was pleasantly surprised. I was expecting Melville to just begin reciting everything he knew about whales, but this is written in character for a whaler who goes "pfft, scientists, they don't know what a whale is."

I particularly liked the poetic description of porpoises (which he decided are whales):

quote:

Their appearance is generally hailed with delight by the mariner. Full of fine spirits, they invariably come from the breezy billows to windward. They are the lads that always live before the wind. They are accounted a lucky omen. If you yourself can withstand three cheers at beholding these vivacious fish, then heaven help ye; the spirit of godly gamesomeness is not in ye.
immediately followed by the pragmatic:

quote:

A well-fed, plump Huzza Porpoise will yield you one good gallon of good oil.

Philthy
Jan 28, 2003



Pillbug

I enjoyed that chapter so much I spent the rest of the day lost in wikipedia going over whales.

Bilirubin
Feb 16, 2014

The sanctioned action is to CHUG!!!




Bleak Gremlin

This book is really good

cda
Jan 2, 2010


It would be interesting to pinpoint how and why Moby Dick ever got the reputation for being impenetrable or boring when it is so much fun.

cda
Jan 2, 2010


Like... Did it start getting taught in schools or maybe it was a key text in criticism that put a premium on difficulty or what

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat


Gravy Boat 2k

It's long.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012




Gun Saliva

At least when I was in school, it was one of the worst casualties of the dumb way a lot of American schools teach literature. There's a weird trend of treating great books like they're a puzzle to be unlocked, and that no symbol should be left un-dissected, and that (worst of all) there's probably an objectively correct interpretation of any given symbol or metaphor. A lot of lit teachers, either implicitly or explicitly, teach their students that in order to "appreciate" a work of fiction, you have to go through this laborious deconstruction of every literary device to determine its purpose in the novel as a whole, or you didn't really understand the book.

Honestly I think my lit classes had way too much focus on "understanding" literature to begin with, like that was given as the primary goal. If you didn't understand it, you were too dumb for the book. It wasn't an acceptable outcome for a student to say "I didn't really understand the book but it made me feel x/y/z". Having an emotional or intellectual reaction to a book was never the goal, you had to roast it over the open fire of historical context and deconstructive symbology instead. So taken in that context, yeah, Moby Dick would be pretty impenetrable/insufferable.

edit: also yes, very long.

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

I also think people may be better readers. Popular fiction is getting longer and more complex, more people have advanced degrees, if you've spent five hours reading random Wikipedia articles about whales then this is the book for you but fifty years ago that wasn't a thing.

Bilirubin
Feb 16, 2014

The sanctioned action is to CHUG!!!




Bleak Gremlin

Hieronymous Alloy posted:

I also think people may be better readers. Popular fiction is getting longer and more complex, more people have advanced degrees, if you've spent five hours reading random Wikipedia articles about whales then this is the book for you but fifty years ago that wasn't a thing.

Interesting. This contradicts a lot of what I have been hearing at least in the popular press about fractioning attention spans due to social media, 24 hour news cycles, tweets, etc.

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

Bilirubin posted:

Interesting. This contradicts a lot of what I have been hearing at least in the popular press about fractioning attention spans due to social media, 24 hour news cycles, tweets, etc.

Yeah. I ain't buying that, it's boomer "kids these days" bullshit. Popular appetites are consistently trending towards longer and more complex works across all forms of media (see: Breaking Bad; the whole Marvel MCU), average literacy has gone up, average education levels have gone up, everyone's spending MUCH more time *reading* because of the internet, etc.

All those "Fifty Facts About Whales" listicles have prepared folks these days in a way that people fifty or a hundred years ago weren't. Folks today are ready to sit down and just read about cool whale stuff.

AngusPodgorny
Jun 3, 2004

Please to be restful, it is only a puffin that has from the puffin place outbroken.

An entire chapter on whale classification instead of moving the plot along would have annoyed me if I was back in high school when I just wanted the book to be over so I could go play basketball instead. Now I can read it for the beautiful language instead of trying to find some symbolism in how each member of the crew corresponds to a whale species or whatever nonsense I would put in a paper.

Philthy
Jan 28, 2003



Pillbug

I'm having a hard time believing this was even a book attempted in high school. Perhaps today since a lot of classes are taught in 4 hour blocks, but back whenever my English classes were barely 40 minutes a day and they covered a lot of ground. We were tasked with books that we could digest quickly to move on. Brave New World, Poe, Shakespeare, etc. An 800 page book would have taken the entire year likely, not fit in anyones bags, or even in their lockers. A lot of this book seems to reference stuff that would never be taught anyways, 1800s pop culture references and especially all the biblical stuff.

I also don't buy literacy has gone up. Less than 20% of young adults read books today compared to 60% of the 70s. Social media and the internet I'm not quite sure would be considered a part of being literate.

Philthy fucked around with this message at 03:34 on Dec 13, 2019

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Kangxi
Nov 12, 2016

The hat is mandatory.


I am deeply enjoying this reread and I'm grateful to whoever suggested it.

It's even funnier than I remember it being.

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