They call me Alison. I finally finished reading the monster, or shall I say the Leviathan, that is Moby Dick. Diving into this staple of the Western Canon was a challenge and frustrating at times, but retrospectively I’m so pleased that I finished reading about The Great Whale.
Upon finishing the novel, I was surprisingly sad. Granted, it was refreshing to finally finish what felt like an interminable book, but since I invested so much time and energy over the course of a few weeks – the bittersweet ending of the narrative coincided to my own bittersweet sentiments.
Though the plot was slow, the prose was beautiful, musical even, and the thankfully short, digestible chapters were wonderfully descriptive. An added bonus is understanding the meaning and inspiration behind a sea of pop culture references, images, art pieces, tattoos even. In fact, The Art of Fielding, which is my favorite book I’ve read over the past 6 months, heavily references Melville’s masterpiece and it’s an obvious theme apparent in the setting, plot and characters.
If you’re on the fence about reading Moby Dick, don’t be intimidated by the sheer enormity of the novel or the level of difficulty because the catharsis and overwhelming feeling of accomplishment upon its conclusion is worth the labor. However, if you are one who can read multiple books concurrently (sadly, I never was) this is easily one that can be conquered chapter by chapter – a marathon more than a sprint. Alas, you will be grateful that you finally experienced the classic Great American Novel and more importantly, you’ll be grateful that you sailed along the Pequod and had the privilege of knowing the ever tortured Captain Ahab and the mysterious and elusive White Whale.
Independence Day is all about freedom and heroism and standing up for just causes, rights and beliefs. If you don’t believe me, watch Independence Day starring Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith this weekend and I dare you not to agree that defending America from alien annihilation is the epitome of patriotism.
For today’s edition of my weekly wrap-up, I think it’s only appropriate to recognize a few inspirational individuals who made a big impact this week. Heroes in their own beautiful, individual ways.
- Commercially speaking, The Amazing Spiderman was the obvious superhero of the week. Andrew Garfield did an exceptional job of portraying young, confused, but responsible Peter Parker in the reboot of the epic Marvel series. Not only did he capture the intelligence and quick wit of Spiderman, but his convincing empathy, kindness and love for Aunt May and Gwen Stacy stole my heart and I want to watch it again. Also, I desperately want to date him.
- Anderson Cooper and Frank Ocean are heroes in an intangible way, but no less powerful. Both of their “coming out” monologues were so beautifully written and communicated that hopefully a number of ignorant eyes were opened this week. Cooper matter-of-factly shared how his personal life was private for the sake of good journalism, but openly shares that he’s a gay, happy and proud reporter and individual. I particularly love Ocean’s liner notes for his upcoming album (pictured above) describing being in love for the first time. It’s so honest and universally identifiable – I hope we soon realize that love isn’t defined by gender any more than it was defined by race a few decades ago.
I spent the rest of my holiday eating barbecue, drinking beer and celebrating with friends. Nothing extreme or out of the ordinary. I just hope you all had a safe holiday and wish you an even better weekend.