Whatcha Reading Right Now?

Yamaha Rider

Gold Member
If you haven’t already, I would highly recommend Gibbons’ “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” which outlines in excruciating but captivating detail exactly how “great” civilizations inevitably change and weaken.

It’s a 2000 year study and provides amazing insight as to the drivers of change . It’s often thought as one of the great examples that merges history with literature.
I think I remember reading that the writing style is very stilted, despite the content?

Yamaha Rider

Gold Member
I know someone who read The Great Gatsby recently. They said they enjoyed the flavor and depth of the actual source material..but could not stop picturing Leonardo Decaprio's face throughout the story.🙄
Robert Redford, ffs!
IMO, even the original misses the point of the original character though.

Yamaha Rider

Gold Member
View attachment 121022
Another gem from the American Renaissance. It's crazy to think I could say much about something so marvelous in a short forum post.
I will start by by saying that this book was not what I expected. Of course that is how it is with good literature. Especially the "famous" books, that eveyone has heard of, but few have actually explored for themselves.
It may be that I have read part way through a few classic books in high school. But I did not begin to really enjoy the stories until I discovered them for myself as an adult. With nobody looking over my shoulder telling me how I should be interpreting the work.
The epiphanies contained here are unlocked when you read by yourself, and with your whole heart. Someone told me that's also the secret to reading Plato.

Anyway Moby Dick is a romp. Most of the book reads like slipping in and out of a philosophical daydream. A daydream wrapped in a grey, misty sailing narrative. And all the while with its tongue squarely in its cheek.
Again I sing the praises of a good audiobook reader. I might not have known how laugh-out-loud-funny this story was except for the pinched, ironic tone that Librivox reader Stewart Wills applied for the entire reading. This book is dark and wet and grey but it's the funniest and most refreshing...like a playful troll upon the tropes and mysteries of philosophy and religion.

But to many of us, the real genius of Moby Dick is the writing style. There is a wild, almost bizarre freedom to Melville's prose in this book. I can say truthfully that this one book changed the way I think about communicating in english. Melville was one of those authors who figured out a way to say things very vividly, while using unusual, almost goofy word combinations.
Sort of a Mark Twain vibe, but maybe "cooler", not quite as hammy.

I could go on and on. But I'll just say to anyone who wants to take a real trip, and doesn't mind if there's no electricity on the voyage, and doesn't mind getting wet..there might be an epiphany or two, or three in these pages. Some laughs for sure.

*Normal caveat for taking on literature from mid-20th and prior: Be patient while building up your vocabulary in preparation to read these old books. One thing that keeps people away is the realization of how many non-obsolete English words your average modern American simply doesn't know. I had to fill a notebook with dozens of 'archaic' words I had never heard, just to get into anything from the 19th century.

Again...so worth it.
"non obsolete"? 'Obsolete', surely?


Senior Member
I think I remember reading that the writing style is very stilted, despite the content?

Well it’s an eighteenth century multi-volume opus, so you have to manage your expectations. All writing of that era can qualify as stilted.

That being said, the focus on imagery and characterization make this one of the very best examples of history that qualifies as literature. It’s eminently readable.


Didn't realise he was WW2 - knew he was a Phantom pilot.
Yes, twelve German aerial kills flying P-38s and P-51s. He got four in Viet Nam, possibly five, but if he did, he hid the fifth kill, because it would have rotated him home, and he didn't want that. Robin was possibly the greatest fighter pilot this country ever produced.

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
This was very well written. It's incredible what the millions of people of Paris endured in their Exodus