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Thread: What are your reading goals for 2017?

  1. #16
    Left 4evr Adolescent09's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bounty View Post
    boy Vladimir, I should have read moby dick then with you so that you could have helped me see some of those "hilarious and...beautiful lines in it."

    I absolutely loathed the book.
    The banter between Ishmael and Queequeg and their introduction to Captain Ahab in the first 200 pages is indeed hilarious and poetically aesthetic but about 500 pages in after several chapters on the intricacy (and monotony) of whale sightings, whale behavior, whale catching methods and cetology in general, the book definitely becomes a drag. Unless you get all the philosophical and theological metaphors (which are very interesting), you'll interpret 80% of the book as whale history lessons.
    My hide hides the heart inside

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    Quote Originally Posted by bounty View Post
    boy Vladimir, I should have read moby dick then with you so that you could have helped me see some of those "hilarious and...beautiful lines in it."

    I absolutely loathed the book.
    I think I didn't like it when I read (parts) of it in college, but maybe taking my time helped this time around? Mostly, though, I started reading it, because at the time I was living on Nantucket (I don't anymore, but lived there for about half the year), so I was pretty immersed in the whole historical context of whaling, etc. Ishmael is really obsessed with Nantucket in the book, as you might remember.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adolescent09 View Post
    The banter between Ishmael and Queequeg and their introduction to Captain Ahab in the first 200 pages is indeed hilarious and poetically aesthetic but about 500 pages in after several chapters on the intricacy (and monotony) of whale sightings, whale behavior, whale catching methods and cetology in general, the book definitely becomes a drag. Unless you get all the philosophical and theological metaphors (which are very interesting), you'll interpret 80% of the book as whale history lessons.
    Yeah, honestly, the majority of the book is about the subject of whales and whaling, as opposed to the central narrative of actually being on the Pequod, chasing Moby Dick. It probably helps that I learned a lot about whaling both from In the Heart of the Sea and the Whaling Museum in Nantucket, and that I'm an animal person myself, so I generally find the chapters about the actual descriptions of the whale to be pretty interesting.

    If you're looking for mostly narrative, though, it's pretty rough going. The narrative stuff is all very exciting and richly detailed, but there are so many non-narrative chapters interspersed. I'm not lying when I say the VAST majority of the chapters are non-narrative.

    That being said, anytime Ahab says anything, it's pretty much staggering (kind of like Satan in Paradise Lost, which I saw you mention on the previous page). Some of the philosophy stuff Ishmael spouts off can be pretty boring or kinda senseless to a person like me who doesn't know much philosophy, but overall he's a pretty great and funny narrator.

  4. #19
    Registered User bluosean's Avatar
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    Ive been wanting to read Sir Walter Scott for a long time. This year is that year I think. After I read Ivanhoe I will be happy.

    Besides that, I have a small bookcase of books (I'm away from home and have only a very few). This is quite nice in a way, it seems like trying to read only a few can be accomplished. These are Francis Parkman's Collected Histories, Shakespeare's Collected Works, Shakespeare's Kings (a history of the Monarchs in his history plays), a Hazlitt book on Shakespeare's plays (I forget the name), The Collected Works of Pushkin, The Pickwick Papers, The Collected Poetry of Robert Frost.

    Seems not so bad at all. Should I finish these I will be higher than a cedar of Lebanon. But we will see; sometimes life gets in the way.
    "bruised reed" Isaiah 42:3

  5. #20
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    I wonder if I should add some more H.G. Wells on this year's TBR list. I am not sure I like the man, but he was a genius.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

  6. #21
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adolescent09 View Post
    The banter between Ishmael and Queequeg and their introduction to Captain Ahab in the first 200 pages is indeed hilarious and poetically aesthetic but about 500 pages in after several chapters on the intricacy (and monotony) of whale sightings, whale behavior, whale catching methods and cetology in general, the book definitely becomes a drag. Unless you get all the philosophical and theological metaphors (which are very interesting), you'll interpret 80% of the book as whale history lessons.
    I think the monotony may have been intentional, to make you feel you've been on a long sea voyage. Similarly, quite a lot of Madame Bovary is intentionally boring, because she's bored. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

  7. #22
    Since I'm ingressing in an advanced course on Italian Language and Civilization, I will probably be devoted to Italian Literature during most of the year.

    Quote Originally Posted by mortalterror View Post
    Read a bunch of medieval stuff, romances and sagas. Mahabharata, Tale of Genji, and the famous Chinese novels. Probably some history, religion, and philosophy too.
    Interesting! I love Medieval Literature. I'm especially enamored of Medieval Latin, since it's the corpus I can read with greater fluency, followed closely by Romance and Middle English literature. I also love Germanic poems, especially the poetic Edda, although I have currently no command whatsoever of Old Norse and Anglo-Saxon, and very little command of Middle High German. I'm especially amazed at the similarity of the insults in Lokasenna and similar excerpts from the Iliad, as well as by the similarity between certain aspects of Homeric mythology and warrior culture and that of the Norsemen. The centrality of insults and ribaldry in Lokasenna, however, and the relative centrality of this episode in the Edda and in their very beliefs on the fate of the universe is such a peculiar cultural and literary trait that I never cease to feel stimulated by thinking about it. Loki is such a fascinating character! Since the Edda is my favorite Germanic Medieval poem, Old Norse is probably the first Germanic language from that era I'm going to study, but I will probably have to postpone this undertaking for some years. I'm also interested in oriental Classics, although I'm certainly less knowledgeable in that area. I read Genji, but the only Chinese novels I have read from beginning to end were The Dream of the Red Chamber and The Scholars. I love both of them, but, from my limited knowledge of Zhou and Tang poetry, as well as of Chinese language (having had yet only one year of Chinese, I know only some 1000 characters by memory, and probably some 2000 - 2500 words) I imagine part of the wordplay and the beauty of the verse is lost in translation. The Dream probably suffers the most in this regard, since it is the most poetic and ornate of the classic novels. The Scholars, I think, suffers much less, and, being the funniest of the most famous Chinese novels, it's usually the first I recommend to my friends. Of the Mahabharata I have read only the Bhagavad Gita, which I found interesting. My translation is a religious non-poetic one, however, with a word by word translated glossary and a prose version of the texts, followed by religious explications. That version would be extremely convenient for studying Sanskrit if I ever find the time in the future to do so, as well as for understanding the meaning of the text for the Hare Krishna, who prepared the translation, but it’s not so helpful, unfortunately, for understanding the poetics of the text, which is probably the part I’m the most interested in. I would be interested in knowing your impressions on any of these books!
    Last edited by Dantesque Dream; 01-30-2017 at 10:01 AM.

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    I don't have a set reading list as such, but I would like to try and be a bit more "adventurous" in terms of the kind of genre I read. I have a tendency to stick within the same genres, mainly thrillers and classics, so will make an effort to branch out in 2017.

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    While I may complete a dozen or two books a year, I only think in terms of the next three or four that I have on my shelf (or plan to acquire). So far this year, I've read Beyond Good and Evil, Love in Time of Cholera and currently in the middle of Nostromo. Next up will be A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, 100 Years of Solitude, Either Or, and maybe something I haven't read yet from Dickens.

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    I think I'll re-read Dickens and Jane Austen's novels and rejoice. And, for a bit of sauce, I'll reread Little Women. At my age, one must cherish the friends who are still available and these a;uthors are eternal.

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