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Old 14 January 2018, 02:12 AM
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Join Date: 11 July 2003
Location: Oklahoma
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Sorry to double-post, but is there a website or something that takes classic literature, like 19th century lit, and tells you which stuff is just filler and can be safely skipped without the reader missing out on too much, something akin to this one which provides advice on which parts in Les Miserables you can skip? I've heard rumors that the ten percent of Moby Dick* that's about, y'know, hunting the white whale, is pretty decent, but it is surrounded by countless passages about whaling, the equipment used in whaling, the many uses of whale oil, and the like. I want to find out if those rumors are true.

I know, I know, the English majors on this board are probably appalled, but before you judge me, I'm an English major, just more of a writing emphasis. And if the story interests me enough, I might actually go back and reread the passages I skipped.

Right now, so many of 19th century lit is the equivalent of being thrown into the Atlantic Ocean and told to swim. However well you may be able to swim, you'd like to have a clear view of where your destination is, so you'll know when you've reached it. Also, it'd be nice to have a boat to help you out. Maybe if you ride in a boat, there are stuff you'll miss out on, but it's easier to swim an ocean or really succeed in any sport, if you have an overview of the field.

I'm using that link to read Les Miserables and I find myself enjoying the book more than I remember from high school. Yeah, I was all callow and stupid in high school, but it does help a little, paring the fat. In doing so, I'm starting to get more of an appreciation as to what Victor Hugo was trying to do. Hugo was trying to tell a story about Jean Valjean, but he was also trying to do something much bigger, capture an entire era, its moods and ideas, via writing. I don't always enjoy it, but I understand it better.

*I'm wondering if that may be the most unrealistic part of Star Trek, the fact that both villains and heroes are obsessed with it. Given how far removed from my experiences and how foreign it seems to me, it should be even more incomprehensible to the Star Trek-verse. Maybe if Khan had been given some better reading material, he might have reformed.
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