Moby Dick by Herman Melville

A Collector’s Library Edition

Artuccino’s bookish observation

I’m reading Moby Dick (the Collector’s Library Edition) as part of a personal challenge to read several books that are considered “classics”. I’ve been delighted and surprised at the contents of the book. I’m only 20% in. At first I tried listening to the audiobook version but the text was too dense for me to grasp the detail, so I bought a beautiful printed version and settled down to read at least one chapter a day. Herman Melville’s words reflect a philosophy of tolerance of social differences that rings true for today. So wise! I find myself wanting to lift text from it and paste it to Facebook and say, hey everyone, read this, this was written in 1851, and they were having the same social problems related to cultural differences we have today.

Note: I started reading Moby Dick in 2015, unfortunately, I shelved it.. I was hoping it could be included in my List of Betterment but it wasn’t to be, even though it did “speak to me”, I didn’t finish it.

A little about my List of Betterment (books that speak to me)

My goal for my List of Betterment is to create a list of fifty books, and write about them. The books on the list are books “that speak to me” and deepen my understanding of the world around me and my understanding of my inner self, that is, what quality reading is for me. My List of Betterment has been inspired by Andy Miller’s intriguing book, The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books (and Two Not-So-Great Ones) Saved My Life. I believe it is possible, by reading stories about the lives and worlds of others, the reader can become more accepting of the differences between people; an understanding of diverse personalities and cultures can be gained, and the reader will very likely experience a rewarding and pleasurable journey. Stories within books introduce the reader to an enormous number of characters, all sorts of predicaments, leading to fascinating consequences and outcomes. The reader of a book will find out about people, places and circumstances that they could never experience in several lifetimes.

Books “that speak to me” (quality reading from my perspective) contain two or more of the following elements:

  • I love the book;
  • It has elements of enlightenment;
  • I have the desire to share it with others;
  • It had an impact on my emotions, and is memorable;
  • Reading it twice has value;
  • I have the desire to keep the book on my shelf; it is collectable;
  • It is a “classic” and reading it felt like an achievement.
A little about the book

On board the whaling ship Pequod, a crew of wise men and fools, renegades, and seeming phantoms is hurled through treacherous seas by a crazed captain hell-bent on hunting down Moby Dick, the mythic White Whale who left him crippled. As the “”great flood-gates of the wonder-world”” swing open, Melville transforms the little world of the whale-ship into a crucible where mankind’s fears, faith and frailties are pitted against a relentless fate. Teeming with ideas and imagery, and with its extraordinary, compressed intensity sustained by a buoyant, mischievous irony and by moments of exquisite beauty, Melville’s masterpiece is both a great American epic and one of the most profoundly imaginative creations in literary history. ((Book description adapted from GoodReads))

A little about the Collector’s Library

The world’s greatest works of literature are now available in these beautiful keepsake Collector’s Library editions. Bound in real cloth, and featuring gilt edges and ribbon markers, these beautifully produced books are a wonderful way to build a handsome library of classic literature. These are the essential novels that belong in every home. They’ll transport readers to imaginary worlds and provide excitement, entertainment, and enlightenment for years to come. All of these novels feature attractive illustrations and have an unequalled period feel that will grace the library, the bedside table or bureau. ((Find out more about the Collector’s Library editions at Wikipedia))

A little about the author

Herman Melville (died 1891) was an American novelist, short story writer and poet of the American Renaissance period. Although his works were not widely appreciated at the time of his death, the centennial of his birth in 1919 was the starting point of a Melville revival in which critics re-evaluated his work and his novels became recognised as world classics. He was born in New York City, the third child of a prosperous merchant. His formal education ended abruptly after the death of his father in 1832 which left the family in financial straits. He took to sea in 1839 as a common sailor on a merchant ship and then on the whaler Acushnet but jumped ship in the Marquesas Islands. ((Find out more about Herman Melville at Wikipedia))

Genre – Fiction

Adventure, Historical Fiction

First Published

1851