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59 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2011
To say that Moby Dick is long, rambling, and weird, would be to understate the case. Many - perhaps most - of its 135 chapters are entirely extraneous to the plot. There are long unnecessary discourses on obscure whaling practices. Minor characters are introduced at length...and then promptly forgotten. Even the main character - the narrator - fades into obscurity as the book shifts from a first-person narrative to a more omniscient perspective. Apparently, more than one contemporary reviewer of Melville thought that the author had literally gone insane while writing the book...and perhaps he did.

But it's all really wonderful! Here's what I like about it: Often-brilliant prose with beautiful words, amazing extended metaphors, and vivid imagery. That's it in a nutshell. Even chapters that have nothing to do with the plot are fun to read when they're written well.

We live in a modern society that is often depressingly impatient. I think it's too bad that modern readers want their books to get started, move quickly, get to the point, and be done with it already! It's weird, isn't it? We read books because we (hopefully) want to read them; they provide an interesting diversion. Why, then, are we impatient for them to be over? Why not enjoy each chapter of Moby Dick for its own sake? Weird, rambling, but brilliant, they are enjoyable, if you suspend the need for instant gratification. I think it helps that I have a two hour commute in the car every day, and listened to this as an audiobook.

Oh, one other interesting side-note: The book has remarkable thoughts / insights / scientific questions about whales. One fascinating thing to think about is the visual system of whales. Whales have two eyes on either side of their enormous, massive heads. There's no way they can see directly in front of themselves... which means that means they almost definitely perceive two entirely-distinct visual fields. How are those disparate visual signals combined in the brain? How does a whale process spatial information? What a remarkable question Herman Melville posed in the 1850s!
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2011
Well, not really stupid but i just didn't have whatever it took to appreciate this novel. I tried to slog through it back then and I don't even recall if I actually made it; I certainly didn't remember any of it. But I just read it again for what felt like the first time and wow...

This book has more passages worth quoting on a variety of subjects than anything I have ever read. It's a wonderful story about whaling and about human nature. It brings alive an extremely important part of American history and the spirit that made this country what it is. I used to be amused that it was considered a "great American Novel." I thought a great novel was something like "Coma" or "Timeline." : ButI suspect that for other than the really intelligent and perceptive (of which I certainly was not as a youngster) the scope and feeling of this book may not be apparent until one has quite a few years under his/her belt.

An absolutely glorious work.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2013
I was disappointed to discover that a paragraph was missing in this version of the book. The omission that I found was rather obvious to notice. Nevertheless it strongly undermined my trust to this version of the book and further reading would not be fun anymore, as I would be constantly wondering if there are more errors. (Take into account that the book is written in a sophisticated, hard English. (at least for a non-native speaker))

There are very few annotations. I feel it is a strong drawback, because this book has tremendous number of references to art and history. Annotations that were OCRed are inlined in the text. A reader has to guess where the annotation ends and another paragraph begins.

Moreover, be aware that this version is inconsistent in using fonts (i.e. the chapter when the sailors talk on the forecastle). The chapters (and there are 135 of them) lack names in the table of contents, which is a very poor feature. Unless you are able to memoize which chapter has what number, it is a clumsy endeavor to navigate to a chapter that you've already read and want to recall.

Moby Dick is a marvelous book. It would be a shame if someone got discouraged from reading it due to poor version of the ebook. Therefore I STRONGLY RECOMMEND acquiring another version of the book. I bought the $3 version with annotations and was pleased with its quality.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2013
The white whale tasks me; he heaps me. Yet he is but a mask. 'Tis the thing behind the mask I chiefly hate; the malignant thing that has plagued mankind since time began; the thing that maws and mutilates our race, not killing us outright but letting us live on, with half a heart and half a lung. We all have so much in common with Captain Ahab, be it hate, fear, loathing or losses. Great book, classic which due to the old English is not read enough.

I
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2013
Melville really captures life on the Northeast Atlantic seaboard, rugged and raw. The writing is clear and though the plot is not always driving forward on every page, such is the allowance for great writers anywhere. The characters are fascinating. I doubt I would have continued reading, if it weren't for Melvilles gift of characterization. Not unlike Charles Dickens, in his ability to draw up such a clear image in your mind. Television will never paint a picture so clear! One thing that is nice about reading this on a kindle was the ability to look up words. Melvilles vocabulary is huge and I found an interesting word I did not know, every few pages or less. And in between the lines, you can find a wonderful love of life and sense of humor. Man against the elements. Let Melville take you into his world for a while, and meet the magnificent white whale. You won't regret it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2013
It is done! Took me about 4 months but so glad I persevered. Sometimes we must learn to let our issues go.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2012
Melville's book is astounding, to be sure, but this version begins with the first chapter, not with the extensive front material that Melville included. In other words, it is NOT a complete text.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2013
Complain about the details of the layout if you want, but this is one of the great books ever written, and it's free for Kindle. Unless the formatting makes it truly a chore to read, it doesn't bother me enough to downgrade my rating of such amazing literature. If you've never read this book, get this free edition for your Kindle and read it. The writing is powerful, the imagery ranges from the deeply introspective to the cosmic in scale, and the themes explored are timeless and universal. This book is everything that great classic literature should be. You will see yourself, at least in part, in these pages.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2014
This version is missing sections. iBooks has the entire version for free and nothing is missing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2014
It's an exhaustive work and the text can be challenging since contemporary readers are unaccustomed to nineteenth century prose. But, it is a brilliant narrative that challenges doctrine and philosophies alike. Enjoyed it immensely. The kindle version is a faithful reproduction of the text and I used it interchangeably with the physical book as I read through.
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