Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday - Literary Best Friends

We boldly proclaim that each day of the week preceding Wednesday shall henceforth be known as “Top Ten Tuesday” (please update your calendars)!  This historic decision has come about after the discovery of The Broke and the Bookish blog.  Each week fellow bloggers are invited to ponder and rank a new literary related subject.  Because of our similar fondness for lists we are all too excited to participate. 

This week’s subject for consideration is:  “Top 10 Characters I’d Like to Be Best Friends With”

   1.      Melanie Wilkes (Gone with the Wind) – We were soooo tempted to pick Rhett with this one (we still think we would have done well as part of his entourage), but it’s impossible to overlook Melly.   She has every characteristic we’d want in a friend and we’d promise not to take her for granted like Scarlet and Ashley.

   2.      Charlie Bucket (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) – Seriously, he owns an entire Chocolate factory!  Oh, and we’re sure his personality is endearing too…

   3.      Georgia Nicolson (Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging) – After reading this novel our life-long ambition is to become part of the ACE gang.  We totally want to cast aside our annoying American Midwestern accent for a British one.

   4.      Frodo Baggins (The Return of the King) – We would love to sit down and have a prolonged conversation with Frodo right before he boards the ship at the Grey Havens.  Sam and Gandalf are welcome to join us if they’d like – the ale’s on us.

   5.      Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice) – Oh, to be able to stroll along a garden path alongside Lizzy.  Despite her tendency to be a tad bit prejudice, we’d accompany her to any social and maybe she’d invite us over to peruse Darcy’s library!  

   6.      Thursday Next (The Eyre Affair) – Funny, eccentric, and always caught in a web of literary related hardships.  We want to join her as a LiteraTec and with any luck; she’ll teach us how to jump into a novel.

   7.      Harry, Ron, and Hermione (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) – Since the very beginning we wanted to pal around with Harry and Co.  Unfortunately, as Dumbledore would have never let us into Hogwarts, Deathly Hallows would have been our best chance to befriend the chosen one.  We’re relatively confident that we could have lent a helping hand in the Horcrux search.  

   8.      Scout Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird) – We would love to have an opportunity to spend a summer with Scout, Jem, and Dill.  We’d even volunteer to ding-dong-ditch Boo Radley.

   9.      Peter Pan (Peter Pan) – Unfortunately, this one would be a conditional friendship.  As long as Peter could convince Tink to share a little of her pixie dust, we’d be friends.  Otherwise the fly‘in green kid’s a little too arrogant and obsessed with pirates for our liking.

   10.  Dirk Pitt (Atlantis Found) – We admit he’s rather shallow and his one liners are quite predictable – still, there’s no one we’d rather have on our side if a German industrialist ever decided to separate the polar ice shelves and take over the world.

Also, we’re particularly fond of followers on this blog… give us try and we will be sure to return the favor!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Back to the Classics Challenge 2011

We’ll, it’s been 5 long days since we last signed up for a 2011 reading challenge. Today we’re on a mission!
It is with unbridled enthusiasm we can proudly reveal “Back to the Classics Challenge 2011” as our 3rd reading experiment for next year. Thanks to Sarah Reads Too Much for putting together this challenge! All the fantastic details can be found ather website by clicking here!
In order to complete the challenge, you must choose a novel that fits into each of the 8 categories.  We’ve decided to go out on a limb and choose our titles in advanced.
The goals to complete:
1.     A Banned Book – Ulysses by James Joyce
2.     A Book with a Wartime Setting (can be any war) – Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
3.     A Pulitzer Prize (Fiction) Winner or Runner Up – March by Geraldine Brooks
4.     A Children's/Young Adult Classic – Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
5.     19th Century Classic – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
6.     20th Century Classic – Shogun by James Clavell
7.     A Book you think should be considered a 21st Century Classic – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
8.     Re-Read a book from your High School/College Classes – The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Be sure to visit frequently (and follow) so that you can stay updated on our progress!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Greatest Novel Involving Butt-Kicking Fairies

Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, #1)
Artemis Fowl – Eoin Colfer
Evan’s ESS = 7 out of 10
Erin’s ESS = out of 10
Content = PG (Adult Content, Fairy Violence, Semi-evil Child Masterminds)

“If I win, I’m a prodigy.  If I lose then I’m crazy.  That’s the way history is written.”

Why: Artemis Fowl has been described by its creator as “die hard with fairies”.  Do we even need to say more?  I suppose we probably should… 

This novel is easily one of our (Evan’s) top 5 young adult fantasies...  Just to be clear, Evan doesn’t have fantasies about young adults, he just really likes this genre of literature.  Anyhoo, the premise is great and the fact that an elite fighting squadron of elves, centaurs, and dwarfs are central to the plot is even greater.  The mayhem starts when an eleven year old criminal mastermind, Artemis Fowl II, decides to kidnap a fairy creature and steal a most sacred guide book.  It doesn’t take long before the might of the entire underground fairy population is focused on destroying Artemis.  The line between good and evil is blurred as the consequences of greed infect both sides.  Artemis Fowl doesn’t break any new ground in the genre of action / adventure, but what story doesn’t need a few breathtaking action sequences, unpredictable treachery, and an eccentric, yet brainy computer specialist? 

To date, the Artemis Fowl series has spawned 7 adventures, with an 8th and final book to be released at an undetermined date in the future.  In every book we read we try to glean one important nugget that will help us in our journey through life.  Quite possibly the most profound lessons we’ve learned in a long time are found within the pages of this novel: Don’t go stealing someone else’s books and, only slightly less important, unless you have a death wish, don’t go upsetting the LEPrecon squad.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The World of Blogging - Part 3

Book Blogger Hop

Well, another Thanksgiving and in spite of all the warnings from previous years, we have once again gorged ourselves on food.  Quite literally, a neon indigo-ish mixture of blueberry cheesecake and green bean casserole is oozing out our pores (that was pretty discussing, sorry).  Seriously, even getting out of bed is going to present a considerable challenge today.  Our Hope is that we’ll be able to burn off some of those extra calories during this week’s HOP!
This week’s question is: What is your favorite book cover?

This is such a good question because there are so many good covers out there.  If we (Evan) were forced into making a hasty decision it would have to be The Hobbit. 
The Hobbit: Or There and Back Again

Not very original or thought provoking but there you have it.  If you’ll excuse us now, we’re going to go and lovingly hold the copy on our bookshelves…
As always, thanks to Jennifer over at Crazy-For-Books for hosting the book party!

Also, we’re particularly fond of followers on this blog… give us try and we will be sure to return the favor!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Greatest Underappreciated Love Story

A Room With a ViewA Room with a View – E.M. Forster
Evan’s ESS = 8 out of 10
Erin’s ESS =  9 out of 10
Content = (Adult Content, Snobbish Attitudes, Indecision, Skinny Dipping)

“You say Mr. Vyse wants me to listen to him, Mr. Emerson.  Pardon me for suggesting that you have caught the habit.”

Why:  We’re probably still basking in the afterglow of this wonderful novel, but A Room with a View may have just rocked into our (Evan’s) top 10 best love stories of all time.  Yet, when we search other best of lists, this novel is nowhere to be found.  In fact, visitors to GoodReads.com even voted more frequently for Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree and Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s, The Little Prince.  While both are touching novels in their own respects, how do they possibly compare with the same novel that Pam, Oscar, and Toby reviewed in an episode of The Office?  Truthfully, the list on the aforementioned website loses nearly all of its credibility by placing I Capture the Castle all the way down at number 79.  Either the entire literary world is screwed up, or we are, and this crazy voice in the back of our head is telling us that it’s not the latter.  Great, now we’re all worked up and sweaty.

Anyway, (does it seem like we often begin the second paragraph of our reviews trying to get back on track?) regardless of what others think, A Room with a View is a good stinkin’ book.  The novel is really a coming of age commentary of high society England at the turn of the 19th century.  The main character, Lucy Honeychurch, is forced into making numerous decisions that will ultimately define her as a woman.  Enter all around good guy, George Emerson, and get ready for the fireworks.  Similar to reading Dickens and Austen, the modern reader must stay alert in order to catch every witticism and profound critique.  For us the novel’s lone flaw was that we didn’t feel the same incredible connection to the main characters as we have in some of the other great love stories.  We’ll allow A Room with a View to simmer before casting a final judgment, but for now we plan to try our best to ignore any critics.

Editor’s Note:  There is a Graphic novel out in Literature Land entitled, A Room with a Déjà View.  Be sure to check your titles, people…

Gothic Reading Challenge

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, another exciting reading challenge!  For us, this is a no brainer….  Gothic books rule!  All the details can be found by clicking the picture of the creapy castle and thanks to Susan B. Evans for hosting!

There is nothing better than a great Gothic read - crumbling old castles, mysterious legends, shadowy characters, supernatural beings and unexplainable events, make for some of the most haunting and captivating reading imaginable.

There are four levels of participation to choose from:

A Little Madness - Read just 1 novel with Gothic elements.

The Darkness Within - Read 5 novels with Gothic elements.

A Maniacal Frenzy - Read 10 novels with Gothic elements.

Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know - Read 20 novels with Gothic elements.

We’ll be striving to achieve The Darkness Within level, but there could definitely be some upside potential as the year progresses.  We’ll be cross-referencing our multiple reading lists over the next week and hope to divulge our reading line up for this challenge shortly.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

2011 Reading Challenges

In previous posts, we’ve explained our feelings on the world of book blogging in general and how, up to this point, we’ve only dipped our metaphorical big toe into the water.  Well, today, everything changes with the introduction of our first “challenge”.  For those unfamiliar, challenges are really nothing more than feats of strengths for readers.  We say bring it on!  This is not so much out of respect for our physical prowess, but our unbridled ambition to read every book every published.  For us, turning down a challenge would be a sign of weakness and as everyone knows, Vampires and Werewolves can sense vulnerability…
All this said to highlight that fact that over the next few weeks you will see us posting a considerable number of challenges that we’ll be undertaking throughout 2011.  We’re still nursing a mild hernia and significant hangnail in our right index finger, but otherwise we are in peak reading condition.  We’d encourage you to join us in some of the challenges as we’ll promise to keep the trash talking to a minimum.
Without further ado, we’re excited to announce the 2nds Challenge hosted by Fewmorepages.blogspot.com as our first ever display of might.  The levels are detailed below and in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we’re going for the All you can eat level (this could be subject to change if we end up with indigestion or gas at any point during the meal).    
  • Just a spoonful - Read 3 books that are 2nd in a series or the second time you've read the author. 
  • A few more bites - Read 6 books that are 2nd in a series or the second time you've read the author.
  • A full plate - Read 12 books that are 2nd in a series or the second time you've read the author.
  • All you can eat - Read 20 books (or more) that are 2nd in a series or the second time you've read the author.

Click on the picture to sign up and get the rest of the happy details!

Greatest Literary Romances

Go to fullsize imageIn this week’s installment of our “Greatest Of” lists, we’ve decided to take on the noble topic of love.  We submit for your entertainment: Greatest Literary Romances (that we’ve read).

Please be forewarned that our list does not guarantee a “happily ever after” ever after.  One of the infamous couples listed below only shared a few memories together, yet their passion was nonetheless profound.  Additionally, one of the individuals on the list is technically not
human… hopefully everything’s out on the table now.

Anyway, as always be sure to tell us who we’ve missed and where we’re wrong!    

Greatest Literary Romances

  1. Rhett & Scarlett – Gone with the Wind
  2. Darcy & Elizabeth – Pride and Prejudice
  3. Edward & Bella – Twilight Series
  4. Edward & Jane – Jane Eyre
  5. George & Lucy – A Room with a View
  6. Henry & Clare – The Time Traveler’s Wife
  7. Edward & Elinor – Sense and Sensibility
  8. Georgia & Robbie – Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging
  9. Michael & Sarah – Redeeming Love
  10. Jack & Aliena – The Pillars of the Earth

Editor’s Note:  What an impressive showing for Edward.  It’s quite clear what you should name your child if you want to raise a future Dr. Loooove….

Monday, November 22, 2010

Greatest Novel to be Chucked Across the Room

My Sister's KeeperMy Sister's Keeper – Jodi Picoult
Evan’s ESS = 6 out of 10
Erin’s ESS = 6.5 out of 10
Content = PG (Adult Content, Language, Violence, Extreme Medical & Moral Decisions, Lawyers)

"You don't love someone because they're perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they're not."

Why: My Sister’s Keeper receives the distinction as being the first hard cover novel to be thrown across the room during the reading.  Needless to say, the plot twist at the end is a boomer…  In fact, due to the sensitive nature of PPR (premature plot reveal) we must be very vigilant with the content of this review. 

My Sister’s Keeper is a heart wrenching account of a young girls struggle with leukemia.  Kate’s battle is brutal and often times hopeless.  The entire family is understandably affected and learns to cope through varying levels of destructiveness.  If the situation wasn’t already unpleasant enough, Kate’s most recent relapse requires a kidney from her younger sister.  The decision is much more complicated below the surface and sets the stage for most of the novel’s drama and shocking plot twists. 

This was our first introduction to Jodi Picoult and boy does she ever hit a controversial topic square in the forehead.  To be honest (as if we’d be anything but genuine on this blog), her writing for us was a little rough and her characters a bit one dimensional.  On the flip side, her page-turn-ability is more than respectable.  Last year the novel climbed all the way to number 7 on the ALA list of most challenged books, proving once again that My Sister’s Keeper is definitely a keeper! 

Editor’s Note:  Please, if you happen to be a serial book thrower, choose the paperback version.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Greatest Overated High Seas Adventure Novel

Cover by Geoff Hunt for Master and Commander.Master and Commander – Patrick O’Brian
Evan’s ESS = 5 out of 10
Erin’s ESS =  out of 10
Content = (Adult Content, Aggressive Language, Seafaring Violence, High Sea Treachery)

Why:  There are really only 5 nautical phrases that we know and understand.  In complete random order they are as follows:

“Trim the main sail.”
“Man overboard!”
“All hands on deck.”
“I’m afraid she’s run aground, Captain.”
“Go, go, go, go, go, there’s a huge freak’in shark behind the boat.”

This being said, it you are unable to speak early 19th century seaman, don’t waste your precious time with Master and Commander.  Captain Jack Aubrey’s high sea adventures are infamous to many in the world of literature, but during almost every battle scene we didn’t know if the main character was commanding a full broadside or requesting a fried bologna sandwich with extra mayo and pickle.  Plus, what the heck is a Sloop? 

If you happen to have a great uncle with a pair of sea legs or you really love Russell Crowe with a pony tail, then I daresay try this one.  It’s your lucky day because there are 20 other books that follow Jack Aubrey and his band of government sponsored pirates.  Personally, we were feeling green after the first sea battle.  Oh, and that reminds us of another phrase, “abandon ship!” 

The World of Book Blogging Part 2

Book Blogger HopWell it’s Friday again and that means it’s time for us to step outside our small sheltered community and venture into the zany world of literary blogs.  Hold on a second while we organize our Chuck Berry, Johnny Mathis, and Fats Domino albums.  You’re going to love our new poodle skirt and bobby socks to match!  That’s right; it’s time for the BOOK HOP!

The question of the week is:  “Since Thanksgiving is coming up next week, let’s use this week’s Hop to share what we are most thankful for and what our holiday traditions are!”

For us we’re soooo thankful for the 3 “F” words.  Faith, Family and Friends!  Over the Thanksgiving holiday we’ll be able to indulge in all three and for that we are wildly thankful.  

We don’t have any significant traditions for Thanksgiving other than running across town in an unruly frenzy trying to split our time at two dinners.  Wouldn’t have it any other way!

Oh, ya, we're also quite thankful for the "B" word... Books!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Greatest Novel within a Novel

The Neverending StoryThe Neverending Story – Michael Ende
Evan’s ESS = 9 out of 10
Erin’s ESS = out of 10
Content = PG (Mild Violence, Auspicious Dragon, Wicked Scary Storms)

Every real story is a never ending story.

Why: What a great movie!  What an even better young adult novel!  You just can’t beat a magical story with reader participation.  Seriously, you can’t – so don’t even try.  Prepare to journey into Fantasia alongside Atreyu and help him save the Childlike Empress and her kingdom from something called the Nothing.  Then prepare to save yourself…  Only those of “noble heart and steely sinew” dare venture forth.

Unfortunately for us, and probably many of you, we watched The Neverending Story before reading it.  Don’t get discouraged though, because the entire second half of the novel is left out of the movie.  Also, the cover art on the 1997 Dutton edition is quite impressive, and even the text itself adds a certain amount of intrigue.  Red and green font is utilized throughout to designate the two storylines taking place in each parallel world.  We enjoyed novel immensely and were even more surprise to see just how similar the movie dialogue was to the book. 

Lastly, The Neverending Story will teach you the importance of loving yourself as you are.  Pardon us for channeling Dr. Phil, but it’s always a bonus when a novel is able to learn you something.  What a great novel to read with your children and then break out the 1984 film.  It won’t be long before they’re begging you to go to the pet store and buy a luckdragon!

Editor’s note: Contrary to what the title would have you believe, the story does actually end.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Greatest Historical Fiction Novels

In our latest installment of the “Greatest Of” lists, we submit for your viewing pleasure: Greatest Historical Fiction Novels of all time (that we’ve read).

Nothing new to report other than the same challenges we previously confronted when consolidating our two independent lists into one.  Same groveling.  Same gnashing of teeth.  Same spirited finale with Evan left weeping in the fetal position.  Chin up… off to the list!

Greatest Historical Fiction Novels

  1. Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  3. The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett
  4. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
  5. The Other Boleyn Girl – Philippa Gregory
  6. The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
  7. A Fine Balance – Mistry Rohinton
  8. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
  9. The Great Gatsby – Scott F. Fitzgerald
  10. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
As always, we encourage your recommendations and mention of our omissions!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Greatest Use of Letters in a Novel

84, Charing Cross Road84, Charing Cross Road – Helene Hanff
Evan’s ESS = 8.75 out of 10
Erin’s ESS = 8 out of 10
Content = PG (Very, Very Mild Adult Content, Book Passion)

Why:  Dear reader,

Due to the sincere impact 84, Charing Cross Road left on us, we’ve decided to write this entire review in the form of a letter (as it turns out this really doesn’t change things as much as we originally thought. Oh well).

What a charming read.  Rarely on this blog will you find the word delightful used to describe a novel, but in the case of 84, Charing Cross Road we can think of no better adjective.  The novel follows an actual 20 year correspondence between a New Yorker searching for rare literature and an antique bookseller in London, England.  What we found amazing was that after only 4 or 5 letters you have a thorough grasp on each character’s life.  By the end, genuine relationships have been established, which makes the climax all the more touching.  Touching in a good way or touching in a bad way, you’ll have to decide for yourself.      

                                                                                       Two Bibliomaniacs

P.S.  We really don’t have anything significant to add here, but we thought the usage of the PS would further validate the whole letter format thing.  Anyway, hope you’re having a good day.  We’d love to hear back from you in the comments section.

P.P.S.  Never mind, once was probably enough….

Friday, November 12, 2010

The World of Book Blogging - Part 1

Book Blogger HopWe’ve been very upfront about the fact that we here at Two Bibliomaniacs are new to the world of blogging and more specifically, the fabulous world of book blogging.  This new world of ours is filled with many unfamiliar happenings, like Challenges, Read-a-longs, and Hops.  Today, we would like to spend just a few moments talking about Hops.  Initially, we were put off by this most vulgar display of physical exertion (doesn’t the mere fact that we’ve created a book blog show that we’d rather be curled up in a comfortable chair?). 

Anyway, after further review, we found that a book hop is something entirely different and requires very little sweating.  In fact, the event is nothing more than an opportunity to connect with other book bloggers and only requires participants to answer a weekly question.  As we are always looking for a way to climb out of our current blogging hole of obscurity, we decided to participate.  Thank you Crazy-for-Books.
“If you find a book that looks interesting but is part of a series, do you always start with the first title?”
At first we thought this question was a joke.  Nothing more than a muse to stir emotions, but then to our horror we realize that there must be some legitimate truth to the question.  Now that our multiple fainting spells have ceased we must respond with a resounding, “YES, we always start with the first in the series.”  This is fundamental book etiquette, people.  Starting a series in the middle will do all kinds of horrible things to the delicate balance between our two worlds.  There’s really nothing more to say about this topic and if you happen to be one of those people who plot jump...  shame on you.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Greatest Military Satire

Catch-22Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
Evan’s ESS = 8 out of 10
Erin’s ESS = out of 10
Content = PG (Adult Content, Violence, Language, Brief Nudity, Circular Logic)

"Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them."

Why: In case you didn’t know, the word stressed spelled backwards is desserts.  Similarly, the words taco salad spelled backwards is dalas ocat, which to the astute mind, makes absolutely no sense.  We highlight this important point to foreshadow the fact that much of Catch-22 doesn’t make any sense either.  That being said, don’t think for a second that Joseph Heller’s most popular novel isn’t one of the funniest ever written.

Who in their right mind doesn’t yearn for a little dysfunctional military comedy every once and while?  We do, we do!  You’ve got to be alert (and slightly insane) to keep pace with Captain John Joseph Yossarian and the rest of his bombardiers.  The reward however, is a hilarious account of military Bureaucracy and a few other things that go well beyond our humble comprehension, but are enjoyable nonetheless.    

Catch-22 has climbed to the top of several lists, including The Modern Library, Time, and The Observer.  Furthermore, it came in at a respectable 11th place in the UK’s Big Read campaign.  We loved the book for its unique voice and fast pace.  The novel will make you cry, laugh, and then wonder what you were so emotional about in the first place.  No catch, just a good story.  

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Greatest Fantasy Novels

Throughout our “Greatest Of” series we will be sharing a variety of lists representing our favorite novels within a certain genre.  Today, we submit our first list: greatest fantasy novels of all time (that we’ve read). 

But first, before we reveal anything (resist the temptation to scroll down) we would like to highlight a few of the difficulties encountered during the list creation process.  In order to minimize the total number of lists, the editorial staff here at Two Bibliomaniacs decided to consolidate the many candidates into one master list for each genre.  Considering the overlap found in Evan and Erin’s top 25 lists we naively thought this would be a fun and enjoyable process with only negligible dissention.  Rarely have we been so wrong.  We found out the hard way just how much passion went into defending each choice.  In the end, while we did find the necessary middle ground, there is plenty of truth to the rumor that Evan’s sleeping arrangements are temporarily located on the back patio.

Finally, we would like to remind everyone that all our “Greatest Of” lists are limited to only those novels that we have read, sooooo we would love to hear other recommendations that you deem worthy.       

Greatest Fantasy Novels
  1. The Hobbit – J.R.R Tolkien
  2. The Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling
  3. The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R Tolkien
  4. Peter Pan – J.M. Barrie
  5. The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis
  6. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
  7. The Color of Magic – Terry Pratchett
  8. Sabriel – Garth Nix
  9. The Neverending Story – Michael Ende
  10. Inkheart – Cornelia Funke

Editor’s Note:  Okay, we lied about the whole sleeping on the patio thing.  Actually, it’s the smallest couch in the basement.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Greatest Insomnia Curing Novel

Moby Dick
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
Evan’s ESS = 4 out of 10
Erin’s ESS = out of 10
Content = PG (Adult Content, Maritime Violence, Temperamental Sea Creatures)

“There she blows!–there she blows!  A hump like a snow-hill!  It is Moby Dick!”

Why: Rarely does a novel come along that has medicinal powers far beyond the narrative captured within the pages.  Since the onset of children we have experimented with countless sleep aids, but we’ve found nothing as effective in curing our nighttime insomnia than reading Moby Dick.  The rapidity at which we fell asleep after only a few paragraphs was wonderful if not a little startling.  Thank you Herman Melville, thank you.

Moby Dick is the classic seafaring tale depicting the hunt for literature’s most infamous white sperm whale.  Ishmael, Queequeg, Captain Ahab and the rest of the crew aboard the Pequod set sail towards the South Pacific and Indian Oceans in search of adventure, riches, and revenge.  Similar to the hardships faced on the whaling expedition, you too will encounter momentous challenges as you fight your way all the way to the last page (remember what we said about not completing a book once you start…).    

Melville certainly possesses a thorough command of the English language; however, his ability to keep the reader awake is of great concern.  The only part we found interesting was the commentary on the biblical story of Jonah and the Whale.  Reviews for this novel are mixed, ranging from “irrelevant” to “masterful”.  In fact, the Massachusetts legislature recently voted Moby Dick as the state’s official epic novel.  Frankly, we believe a motion for impeachment is in order.  One final note: If you haven’t picked up on this already, this novel should not be read while driving, operating machinery, or supervising young children as narcoleptic induced stupors are common.