The Great Depths of the Ocean are Entirely Unknown to Us: Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Day 15) O is for Ocean: Choose a book that takes place on or in the Ocean

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Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

This is one of my top favorite books.

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I started reading this book the same way I started reading all the classics, The Great Illustrated Classics collection at my local library.

And this is one of my all-time favorite stories. Just like Doc Brown

Doc Brown: So do I. “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, my absolute favorite.

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As I mentioned before I love Jules Verne. I’ve read almost everything by him.

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My favorite thing about this novel is everything they see and all the adventures they go on.

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Another amazing thing was how Verne was so ahead of his time. In his novel Captain Nemo has electric lights on his submarine, it wasn’t until more than thirty years that was possible. He just had all these ideas or improvements that inspired people to create and copy them.

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This book also has some solid math and science, based on current inventions of the time and what was known. It is just a fantastic book!

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The book takes place in 1866. All the countries are agog as something seems to be destroying ships. Something…or some monster!

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They call in the top people to launch an expedition to destroy whatever it is that is doing this to them. One of the people called in is Professor Pierre Aronnax, a marine biologist. He believes that the creature is something from the very depths of the oceans, as it would need incredible strength to survive that and destroy the ships the way it does.

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Maybe a giant sea monster or narwhale?

He takes along his valet, Conseil, and the two meet and become good friends with Canadian Whaler, Ned Land, as they sail the sea searching for the creature.

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They eventually find the creature, which rips apart the ships set after it. The only crew members to survive are Professor Aronnax, Conseil, and Ned. They try to find something to grab onto and drift on, when they grasp the monster and discover it is not a sea creature after all…

Say What

It is a super advanced submarine.

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They are taken inside and saved by the captain, Captain Nemo. He decides to let them live because he greatly appreciates the intellect and things that Professor Aronnax has written.

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But they are forced to remain on the ship forevermore, as they can not be returned to the surface. Saved but not free.

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Conseil enjoys being underwater at first, but begins to wish for home. Ned has never liked being under the water, and from the beginning has been trying to figure out a way to escape their imprisonment. The only one who is thrilled with this arrangement is Professor Aronnax, as being a marine biologist this is the opportunity of a lifetime to learn about what really happens in the deep blue.

What is under the water?

What is under the water?

They travel 20,000 leagues around the world; being the firsts to look upon Antarctica (as it wasn’t officially visited until 1911), battle a squad of sperm whales, visit shipwrecks, walk along the ocean floor, witness all kinds of marine life, fight off cannibal islanders, and are attacked by a giant squid in one of the most harrowing battles in literature.

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As they journey they discover that their Captain has a lot of bitterness and rage; attacking ships because of an old pain.

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For one who is so stone faced and set in his ways, will they ever be able to convince him to set them free? Or will they be stuck under the sea forever?

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Yep just one fantastic read you need to check out for yourself.

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No matter how many times I read this book it is still one wild ride! What can I say?

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to I’d Spent Some Time As a Kid Wishing My Name Were Ashley or Katherine, if Only Because It Would Have Made Life Simpler, But My Mom Liked to Tell Me That My Name Was a Litmus Test: Along for the Ride

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For more on 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, go to Heaven on Earth

For more Jules Verne, go to I Think I Have Found a Means of Conveyance…An Elephant: Around the World in 80 Days

For more ocean adventures, go to I Finally Read Moby-Dick

For more marine biologists, go to  You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat: Jaws (1975)

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Today’s pick is Carol of the Bells. This song was composed by Mykola Leontovych, and written by Peter J. Wilhousky in 1914.

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For more Christmas Carols, go to Maybe Christmas, He Thought, Doesn’t Come from a Store. Maybe Christmas…Perhaps…Means a Little Bit More: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

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I Finally Read Moby-Dick

Day 12) L is for List: Choose a book from your to-read List

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Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

So reading lists. It feels like they will never end.

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And every time I read a book, it feels as if I add ten more.

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To help keep track of that, I have a Goodreads account and I try and work through it. But then I have another problem:

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Yes, so even though I have too many books that I own and haven’t read; and too many on my to-read list, I keep getting more.

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My shelves are stuffed:

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And I have boxes full of them everywhere:

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So I tried to figure out what book to review, and settled on Moby-Dick. 

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Moby-Dick or The Whale was published by Herman Melville in 1851. At the time it wasn’t received, and by the time of his death the book was out of print and hadn’t generated that much money.

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However, readers are fickle and in the 20th century, the book became so popular it was given the title of one of the Great American Novels. William Faulkner was known to have wished he was the one who wrote it and D. H. Lawrence called it “one of the strangest and most wonderful books in the world”, and “the greatest book of the sea ever written.”

Wow

Wow

I had started The Great Illustrated Classic version when I was much younger, but never finished the book. I had to return it to the library and I’m not sure why I didn’t recheck it out, but I never read, or finished reading it, ever again.

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This book has been on my to-read list since I’ve joined Goodreads, and my friend even gave it to me for my sixteenth birthday, but I had still not read it. Leaving it buried under all the other to-read books.

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But this year I decided to read it!

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So what did I think after all this time?

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I didn’t like it.

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I know, I feel horrible for even uttering those words…

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But it is the truth.

It's how I feel.

It’s how I feel.

So let’s go over what the story is about, and then I will share why I didn’t like it.

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Plot Synopsis:

Ishmael signs up to a whaling ship, having to share his room with a Polynesian harpooner, Queequeg. At first Ishmael is afraid of him, but the two end up becoming extremely good friends.

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The ship they go on is the Pequod, which is led by Captain Ahab. Now Captain Ahab has lost his leg to a mighty white whale, Moby-Dick, and he is incensed with revenge, planning on finding him and killing him on their journeys.

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The ship sails, and while the crew hunt for the whales to bring back their blubber; Ishmael shares his philosophies of whaling, his idea of the British, the different whales they meet, etc. The novel ends in a bitter battle as Ahab finds his prey; but will he be able to destroy it or just himself?

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So Why Didn’t I Like It?

The biggest problem for me is that this novel is a little bit of everything and moves from topic to topic instead of being one concise story. I mean Ishmael’s thoughts seem to wander everywhere as he will switch from the adventure on the whale ship to his thoughts of religion, how the color white is evil, that the British snootily look down on the Americans but need them, etc. This random philosophizing I could definitely do without, especially as there is no segway but a real rattling on.

Blah, blah

Blah, blah

I mean I really enjoyed the adventures in whaling and anything with Captain Ahab, I thought he was a great character, but sadly there wasn’t more of him.

Why not?

Why not?

What also struck me was how hard Melville was trying to make a “great American novel.” We know people from England looked down at America at this time, and you can see how hard Melville is trying to prove that American writers are just on par as the British.

“But where this superioty in the English whalemen does really consist, it would be hard to say, seeing that the Yankees in one day, collectively, kill more whales than all the English, collectively, in ten years.”

Yeah, I don’t think he is just talking about whales, it seems there is a deeper meaning under there…

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So I didn’t really care for it, but at least I finally read it! Now I can cross it off my list and move onto the next item.

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to Someone is Killing By Copying Old Murders!: Real Murders

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For more Lemony Snicket quotes, go to I Think I Have Found a Means of Conveyance…An Elephant: Around the World in 80 Days

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Today I choose the Christmas Carol, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear. It was written by Pastor Edmund Sears in 1849. At the time he was depressed and saddened by the war with Mexico and the strife that hung in the air. His friend, Pastor William Parsons Lunt, asked him to write a poem and this was what Sears came up with.

A year later, composer Richard Storrs Willis, wrote the music that the poem goes with.

I choose the version done by Celtic Woman as they are a fantastic group.

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For more Celtic Woman, go to You Will Be Haunted By Three Spirits: A Christmas Carol

For more Christmas Carols, go to Midnight in Austenland