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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It’s Almost Bloomsday Again

The author kept getting bogged down in details instead of moving
the storyline along, because we don’t need to know everything
about the characters, just enough to keep reading until the climax 
of the story; if you compare it with something like the Hunt for
Red October you’ll see what I mean.

JoyceThat is a recent review of Ulysses by James Joyce culled from the riches of erudition commonly found on Amazon. Although this blurb is highly representative of the dumbing-down of civilization I can’t help but suspect it to be a ruse … anyone who represents the culmination of Ulysses as a climax just has to be an avid reader of Joyce.

The question posed in this weeks NYT Book Review is “How Would ‘Ulysses’ Be Received Today?”

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Le Voyeur and Le Nouveau Roman

R-GI sat down to consider what I might say in a post focusing on my favorite author, Alain Robbe-Grillet. Specifically I was running through the events and the structure of what is possibly R-Gs most well-known novel, Le Voyeur. But despite having read this novel at least five times, I began to get confused.

It goes something like this:

Le Voyeur is the story of a watch salesman who takes the ferry to the offshore island where he grew up in hopes to makes some lucrative sales. While he is waiting for the ferry he thinks back to the last time he went to the island and, characteristic of the author, while he is imagining his past experiences, he is also having his remembered self thinking back to his even earlier experiences on the island. Then to really confuse the situation, the watch salesman is also imagining how he will canvas the island when he gets there and how he will make such excellent profits off of the watches he will sell after the ferry takes him to the island.

Of course, when the watch salesman gets to the island and tries to sell his wares, his efforts do not provide the rewards he imagined. Then a young girl is found strangled and there is talk of a stranger wandering suspiciously around the island. Is the watch salesman the killer? There are many clues to suggest he is guilty.

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