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Reading Pythonga, 2015

A friend heading to the Galapagos Islands asked my advice for a breezy read, a light but engaging page-turner. Not my kind of read, but I scanned my shelves: Nick Hornby’s Funny Girl, Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians, John Kenney’s Truth in Advertising. Not light but certainly engaging, Dan Chaon’s Await Your Reply.

What is my kind of read? Big long books that keep me company for days, books like Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch or Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life.

IMG_1623You’ll laugh, but my latest big book read is Herman Melville’s Moby Dick or the Whale, which I somehow missed as an English major. No regrets: it’s a long, rich read that deserves an adult consumer.

Why now? I saw a stage rendition — really — that was so impressive I had to hoist the 824 page book and bring it with me to my favorite reading spot, Lac Pythonga, in Quebec.

A wise choice, as I had long hours of uninterrupted reading sitting on the dock, in a boat, on a screened porch. Its subject is whaling in general and the hunt for the great white whale Moby Dick, in particular, which will be the crews’ undoing.

Its pleasures come not only from the relentless plot; it is Melville’s writing that entices, and puts him in league with Whitman. Here, the Pequod reaches the Pacific Ocean: “When gliding by the Bashee isles we emerged at last upon the great South Sea; were it not for other things, I could have greeted my dear Pacific with uncounted thanks, for now the long supplication of my youth was answered; that serene ocean rolled eastwards from me a thousand leagues of blue.”

If you haven’t read, do. But give yourself space and time to absorb this full-bodied American tale.

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A friend heading to the Galapagos Islands asked my advice for a breezy read, a light but engaging page-turner. Not my kind of read, but I scanned my shelves: Nick Hornby’s Funny Girl, Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians, John Kenney’s Truth in Advertising. Not light but certainly engaging, Dan Chaon’s Await Your Reply. What is

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