Literature for the Illiterate

I’m not much of a reader. Don’t get me wrong, I wish I was more of a reader. But reading is hard. It takes time, requires concentration, and I am not too good wit dat book learnin. Besides, isn’t it a movie or TV show a much more efficient way to tell a story?

Regardless, it is a shame that I have not read more. Books, from what I understand, are good. And if I want to grow and become more educated, I need to put my nose to the grindstone, get some books, and start reading.

So now I listen to audiobooks.

Cheating? Sort of. But it is a great way of introducing yourself to some classic literature in a way that is easier to digest. Because let’s face it, if you are going to ‘read’ Dickens or Bronte, you have to sit down, isolate yourself, and put in some hard hours. Who has that kind of time to dedicate? Probably me honestly, but I digress.

So I have picked a few books from the library to listen to on the bus on the way to work. Side note: did you know the library has free stuff? FREE?!?! Shit, who knew?

The first book I picked was Great Gatsby. I know the story, but never read the book or even seen the movies. One of the great American novels, has lived on for years, not so long of a story, so why not?

Well, I’ll tell you why not…..there is not much ‘great’ and Gatsby. Yeah, it was good and I’m glad I know the story now. But why this has endured throughout time is odd to me. Honestly it is probably because it gets assigned to every high school junior taking English and American History; Great Gatsby is definitely a period piece that illustrates the ‘Roarin 20s’. But there is nothing overly deep about this book. The language was ornate and descriptive. The characters were interesting. Fitzgerald’s grand message is tied in at the end in a very well done way. But great American novel? Survey says…………..X!!! Just not ambitious enough for my taste.

So to satisfy my thirst for complexity, the second book I borrowed was Moby Dick.

And all I can say is wow!!

I am not done with it (full review will be written here once that is done), but this tome is everything I would ask for in a great American novel. The prose is like poetry; every line has a strange inner beauty to it that, if not careful, have hypnotize you. The ideas are vast, vast as ye yon sea. The symbolism runs rampant throughout this tale, as a school of minnows fluttering across the wayward bound. There is some much depth and intensity to this novel, I am completely wrapped up into it’s huge ambition. God vs Satan, good vs evil, Man vs Nature, black vs white, peanut butter vs jelly, Sega vs Nintendo, Pepsi vs Coke, Maggie Simpson vs that kid with the one eyebrow….its all in there!!!!!

Again, I am not done with it yet, so don’t tell me the ending. But I am really pulling for Ahab in this one. I mean that whale….well……seems sort of like a dick. Anyway, more to come when I finish this magnum opus of Melville.

Oh no!!!!! It’s due in a day?!?! And I have to be put on the wait list again!?! Seattle Library; To the last, I grapple with thee; From Hell’s heart, I stab at thee; For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.