Posts Tagged ‘Tom Brown at Oxford’


Friday, 8 August 2008

Still can’t crochet (although I am going through my crochet books to decide what to do with all that orange cotton), and I’m in the middle of a variety of longer books, so none of those are ready for review.

I’m currently listening to Moby Dick, and while the Librivox reader is doing a fantastic job, I end up missing bits of the story, because Melville keeps going off on tangents and I lose where we’re up to. Not that he doesn’t admit this lack of narrative within the text, but I can’t help wishing he’d written two books, one on the art and craft of whaling, whales, and everything to do with them, and one with the story of Captain Ahab and Moby Dick. I suppose Ishmael could come along for the ride too. (I really amn’t that keen on the narrator.)

Or maybe, since it seems to me to be what he really wanted to do, a book on whaling, with the straight story as an appendix, and a good contents page at the beginning, and index at the end, so that when one wants to read a discourse on how well artists of different countries represent whaling, one could go to that, rather than arresting the tale once again.

One of the things that is keeping me interested (far more than the story or the tangents) is trying to work out Ishmael. He keeps sounding like the standard 19th century bigot, and then turning out to be fairly open minded. I don’t particularly like him, but he is interesting, if annoying.

Dorothy Dunnett, unlike Melville, does not give you information that is unnecessary for the story. In fact, a lot of the time a whole lot more would be useful, even than what you end up working out by the end of the book, series, or canon. Which is part of why I’m enjoying this slow reread of Niccolo Rising. Chapter 8 is only the first time we’re going to wonder exactly what Tobie overheard in the sickroom.

And while we’re discussing books I’m part-way through, I really loved Tom’s attempts to row alone in chapter two of Tom Brown at Oxford. I am competent, if completely lacking in style, at sculling alone myself, and could readily imagine his exploits, which had me in fits of laughter.

There are a couple more books in progress, but I think they’ll be fine being discussed in their entirety.

As for the cotton, I’m considering making a tablecloth out of a whole variety of motifs, pieced together. I’m sure I’d get bored doing enough of the same ones for a whole cloth, but a variety could work.