Book #67: The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, by Edgar Allan Poe

Like I mentioned in my last post, school reading is (unfortunately) taking over my reading time, but in grad school, you can’t expect much else.

My first longer reading project for my Responses to Poe course was The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, a short novel that inspired such works as Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick (the next book on my reading list). The book tells the story of a group on a large ship that falls victim to all sorts of problems, including mutiny, cannibalism, a shipwreck, shark attacks, and starvation. The book also has some uncomfortably racist overtones and an odd sense of mysticism, so there’s that.

I can’t say I enjoyed this book very much; in fact, I kind of gave up reading in the last 30 pages or so and just skimmed my way to the end.

On the upside, I also had to read a Poe short story called “Hop-Frog” this week that I really enjoyed. I’d never heard of it before, and the style is different from a normal Poe story, but it’s really fun and bizarre. If you’re looking for a weird way to spend 15 minutes, give “Hop-Frog” a read.

The rest of this week and my weekend will be spent with rather rigorous reading, I’m afraid. I’ve already started Moby-Dick, the next assignment for my Poe class, but my progress needs to increase if I’m going to finish the first 70 chapters by Monday. My next assignment for my Shakespeare class is Much Ado About Nothing, also due next week.

I guess this is grad school.


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