Do You Like Starbuck?

moby-dick-queequeg.jpgFlipping through long list of books I have yet to read and even a goodly number that I have already read I was overcome by a curious sense of urgency, possibly corresponding to my rapidly advancing years. It started in the Js and became stronger as I scanned through the Ks and Ls, becoming a visible trembling as I dipped into the Ms. Could it be?

Is it time for one last and massively enjoyable read of one of the greatest American novels?

Call me Ishmael. Some years ago- never mind how long precisely- having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off- then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.

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Wuthering Heights

images-1.jpgBack in the early 1960s I was the sleepy blond surfer with the denim Converse and the sea-salty epidural itch. I was an inadvertent undercover scholar who passed for being bored in class because I was bored in class. When the teacher asked a question I often allowed the tense quiet to build before I almost imperceptibly raised my arm and grunted the correct answer.

My favorite class was English and in my senior year I happily read lots of books, drawled out correct answers, aced all the quizzes and tests, all while affecting a bad boy attitude toward school and learning.

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Good News; Bad News

9780143105138_p0_v2_s1200x630Despite a recent significant hiatus in my reading, I am about half-way through The Aeneid and enjoying it far more than even the greatest Science Fiction novel. However, I am reading the Fagles edition and definitely feel it is too modern and popularized for my taste. I did study classical literature at university and developed a preference  for the more classical translations. Thus I naturally lean towards Richard Lattimore than John Fagles.

Of course this is squishy ground since I do stoop to reading any translation. If I were a purist (or elitist) I suppose I would read The Aeneid in Latin as Virgil intended; however, both my Latin and Greek suck (despite a concentrated one quarter cram course in both languages).

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