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Moby Dick (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Average Rating 3.5
( 247 )
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(103)

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(53)

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(39)

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(28)

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(24)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

22 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

REQUIRED READING

This is a must read. Herman Melville's Moby Dick received largely unfavorable reviews at the time of publication, and it never brought Melville literary acclaim during his lifetime. It was not until critics rediscovered the novel in the 1920s that it began to be viewed ...
This is a must read. Herman Melville's Moby Dick received largely unfavorable reviews at the time of publication, and it never brought Melville literary acclaim during his lifetime. It was not until critics rediscovered the novel in the 1920s that it began to be viewed as a masterpiece and the apotheosis of the Great American Novel. I also feel this way about K S Michaels' Love Returns..., but that's my opinion.
My own reception of the book, back in my high school days, paralleled its treatment by the literary establishment. While I enjoyed portions of the text, I could not really get into it and actually ended up abandoning the story a few chapters shy of its conclusion. When I later picked it up again, though, out of curiosity rather than necessity, I was hooked. Whether my own maturity or the motive behind reading it were more influential I cannot say, but I suspect that many who find this novel difficult at first will eventually find it a rewarding and noteworthy read.
New readers face three key challenges with this text: fears about its length and complexity, discomfort with Melville's loquacious writing style, and confusion over the juxtaposition of plot, factual discourse, and philosophical musings. These are easily overcome if one reads at a comfortable pace and allows oneself to become acquainted with Melville's language, which is at times reminiscent of the learned style employed by authors like Edgar Allen Poe ( a self-published author, by the way). A wonderful way to understand the nuances of the text and truly "get into" the novel is to listen to the audiobook version, narrated masterfully by Frank Muller.
Reserve this book for a time when you can read it without pressure and expectations. Allow yourself to become immersed in Ishmael's world. Re-read passages that confuse you, and don't be afraid to skip ponderous chapters like "Cetology" if they will prevent you from completing the novel. Whatever you do, though, be sure this is one story you allow yourself to complete, you will be rewarded as you do so.

posted by 148253 on November 7, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

7 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

The idea of this book is timeless the execution is painful

I have never struggled so hard to get engaged with a book or to even finish a book. It took three trys over 4 years to finish the book. The first 1/3 of the book was totally useless to me and did not bring enough to the end of the book to justify it's existence. If I ev...
I have never struggled so hard to get engaged with a book or to even finish a book. It took three trys over 4 years to finish the book. The first 1/3 of the book was totally useless to me and did not bring enough to the end of the book to justify it's existence. If I ever pick the book up again, it will be to read the last 1/3 only. Towards the end there is some humours lines, scenes & situations which were truly enjoyable. I realy wanted to enjoy this book more and was very upset that I couldn't.

posted by Hill_Ravens on January 2, 2009

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  • Posted October 13, 2011

    If You're Looking for Your White Whale, This isn't it

    Moby Dick, the timeless classic by Herman Melville, is about the obsessive Captain Ahab and his quest to find and destroy the great white whale that had maimed him in the past. The journey represents man's struggle to try to change the world, also man's lust for revenge. In general I found this books complex narration and confusing dialogue to get in the way of what the author was trying to convey, and I didn't like that at all. I did find the writing to be clever, but sometimes I found myself thinking, "where is the chase and how do I cut to it?" I appreciate its role as a classic work of literature, and it deserves the respect, only for its message, not for the writing. I related to the protagonist, because of his obsessions to change the world and find his white whale. I find myself thinking about how I could change the world and it was refreshing to read about a character who shares the same intuitions as me. In general I found Moby Dick to be a dreadful waste of my time. You could get all the same messages and themes by reading a summary of this book on sparknotes.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2009

    Wow

    800 pages of boring travelogue, 30 pages of adventurous hunt. Now it's a doorstop.

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2010

    Became my Moby Dick

    Herman Melville started writing a great novel but it seems he forgot that he was writing a fiction story about 200 pages in and proceeded to bore the hell out of me with wale biology. It took me a year to pick it up and finish it. In that time I read 6 amazing novels just to recover from this piece. The last 100 or so pages were really good. I would recommend getting the abridged version if you want to read this.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    What a disappointment!!

    I have been waiting for about 15-20 years to read this book and i was not pleased. The actual story is fantastic, but what kills the mood is the "dictionary" part of the book. what a let down.. some people say that we shouldn't put 2 stars but i think we all aren't going to like these classic books. So i will put my 2 stars down for this book. Melville could have taken out about 200-300 pages worth of nonsense. Don't want to read 10 pages on why White is so important. Don't want to waste time on page after page of all types of whales. so, if you are stuck on an island, i would totally recommend this book. If not, read anything else..!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2008

    Hard work

    Reading this book felt like work. I enjoyed the first hundred pages or so, and thought they were even funny at times. I also enjoyed the last couple hundred pages where you got a little more visibility into Ahab's madness, and the action of fighting Moby Dick. However, the middle three hundred pages were ridiculously BORING! He talks about WAY too much in great detail that has nothing to do with the actual story. I would not recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2014

    This book was sitting on my shelf for three years before I picke

    This book was sitting on my shelf for three years before I picked it up to read. I gritted my teeth through the first 20 chapters or so, but by Chapter 50, I felt tortured. I have now read two Melville works, and can honestly say that I detest his writing style. I came expecting a masterpiece of American literature, and I received lectures on whale anatomy having nothing to do with the plot, and boring chapters that contributed nothing the the story. I can understand why nobody liked this book when it first appeared in the 1800s...it practically brought down Melville's career and I finally understand why. Perhaps the biggest disappointment I've had when it comes to classic literature. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2013

    Is moby dick albino? Ddnt rd Should i buy this?

    I hate moby dick jokes. ( Moby dick DICK hahahha) Thats the joke ive heard most often. Grr.

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  • Posted October 3, 2009

    A struggle to finish

    I thought this book was a tough read. It was the first classic I've ever read and had heard it was boring but thought I'd decide for myself. I may not be used to the writing style but, yep, it was boring. There are a few parts in the book that kept me partially entertained but the descriptions can go on for some time and it is useless information that once you finish reading you are trying to remember what has happened in the story so far. Sometimes I was reading this book out loud just to get myself through it. I agree with some of the other reviewers that it is a great story, but could have been told in fewer pages.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted February 10, 2010

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