Make no mistake, this book is a masterpiece written about a masterpiece. His insights make reading Moby Dick deeper and even more pleasurable.
Read this on the side to reading Moby Dick and I am glad I did. No earth shaking revelations but and nice discussion of the things I enjoyed, myself. Worth the bother to read it.
Ranges from quaint to pedantic to obnoxiously superior. As if one needs the nudge from this New England nabob to read THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL ( sorry, Mr. Roth, it wasn't your's). The final insult is that either the author, his agent or the publisher feel justified in charging $25.00 for the privilege of reading Philbrick's keen insights, besides which the book should have been titled "Why Not Read Moby Dick?" Take the money you would have paid for this and spend half on a copy of MOBY-DICK and half on lunch.
Philbrick's book is a very short, easy read aimed at encouraging more people to the enjoy long, slow, laborious reading required to tackle Moby Dick. "Why Read Moby Dick" highlights the major themes of the novel, the language, poetry, and clarity of Melville's writing, and the historical context of the novel. I am not sure that Philbrick will accomplish what he sets out to do - get more people to ready Melville's classic but hefty tome. I am certain, however, that anyone who takes the time to read Moby Dick will certainly agree with Philbrick that the novel is well worth the effort.
I am fascinated to know what others think of Philbrick's new release. It's such a tiny nibble of a book. But I assume that's part of the plan. If you haven't read Moby-Dick it's (probably in part) because the books is long and heavy and requires a substantial commitment of thought and time, so maybe this is meant as an amuse-bouche to the greater meal it's encouraging you to enjoy?
If you haven't read Moby-Dick and you read Philbrick's new book, please share your thoughts. If you haven't read Philbrick's book, do pick it up. You'll finish it in about an hour (even if you have a preschooler in your house). I greatly enjoyed it, and really wanted more, but maybe that's just the point.
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