This weekend Miss Shirley and I are taking a little road trip to New England. Basically, she's tagging along and helping me drive on my trip, since the major stops along the way are the New Bedford Whaling Museum and a Norwegian-dance-related party in Vermont. (Miss Shirley knows the dances but hasn't done them in ages. Possibly years.)
I've done a bunch of stories about whales and whaling recently, and gotten really interested in the history of whaling. Then there was singing about New Bedford, and I kept hearing about the museum, and I was thinking about going to this party, so I thought, why not? It's all New England.
Well, as I was looking up New Bedford online, I kept coming across references to Herman Melville. I thought, ok, I'll get Moby-Dick out of the library and at least take a shot at it. I figured he'd pretty much blow through the New Bedford stuff in the first couple of chapters and I could quit any time after that. I mean, that book is famous for being boring.
Here's the thing: I love Moby-Dick. I'm about halfway through the 500-some pages, and I am thoroughly enjoying it. Ok, it's confusing sometimes, and yes, there are sentences that are over a page long. But it's also funny and it's such a cool window into the past.
It occurred to me a couple of days ago: what I'd heard was so deadly about it was Melville's long digressions about whaling and ships and harpoons and the descriptions of how stuff worked, like the layout of the little boats they'd put out to chase after the sperm whale. Well, I LOVE that stuff! For someone with a minor whale obsession like mine, this book is basically perfect.