Monthly Archives: November 2013

Moby Dick vs. Oliver Twist

I confess I have never read these two books before. I decided it was high time to get to some classic english literature.

What follows is so subjective as to be almost unworthy of print. Your subjective opinion may be that it is not worthy of print at all. I am going to assume it is a subjective opinion so I can post this in good conscience.

I am listening to the unabridged version of Moby Dick on audio. I am reading Oliver Twist in hardback.

While the reader for Dick is very good, I have to say my preference goes to Dickens. Melville writes some great prose and the narration is authentically dramatic. But Melville yammers on a lot. And then a lot more.

That is my only complaint about the book. I imagine it is very loved by the pretentious. You can really lose yourself in the prose and forget the story altogether.

I don’t like to forget about story.

Dicken’s Oliver Twist, you could say, is the opposite of Moby Dick. I wouldn’t mind a little more exposition and prose (not that he is a bad prose writer). But when it comes to story, Dickens keeps you on track; almost every page involves a character doing something, if only one thing. You can go page after page of Melville waxing together mounds of words.

So I call this a subjective report. I am not done with the two books yet. But I find Dickens, at least Oliver Twist, much more to my tastes.

Actually I am quite the Dickens fan just because of the 150 pages of Oliver Twist I have read. Go Dickens!

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Is Atheism a Religion?

I see this question a lot on forums, and see the claim made frequently. It appears (click link here, please) some would like it to be as close to a religion as possible.

This sort of thing boggles my mind. What is the purpose? Is it the notion that more people would be atheists if they just had a local Sunday support group? That it is really about the singing and the sermons and the calls for contributions and help? Perhaps they are going to offer plusher seatings than the standard pew? I am pretty sure it is not those things that bring people to church.

Let’s look at the three aims of the Sunday Assembly. And remember these aims when we get to their 10 item Sunday Assembly.

We are here for everyone who wants to:

  • Live Better. We aim to provide inspiring, thought-provoking and practical ideas that help people to live the lives they want to lead and be the people they want to be

  • Help Often. Assemblies are communities of action building lives of purpose, encouraging us all to help anyone who needs it to support each other

  • Wonder More. Hearing talks, singing as one, listening to readings and even playing games helps us to connect with each other and the awesome world we live in.

Can anyone point to a single thing here that is different from… oh, say… church?

I have one question. Why point number two? Help often? Why? This is Continue reading


Doctor Sleep

Took some time out of reading Gene Wolfe’s The Knight/Wizard and Fulton Sheen’s Life of Christ (a good read actually) to read King’s sequel to The Shining. In all honesty I didn’t seek the book. On the night of my flight out to Tucson to visit family I left my Kindle at work and desperately needed something for the flight(s). You are not likely to find the sort of stuff I normally read at the airport as they stock mainly Patterson level sellers.

So there was King’s Doctor Sleep. I thought, “why not visit an old friend?” When I was growing up Stephen King was it, he was the author. This was around the time of The Stand, Salm’s Lot, to Night Shift, Cujo, Christine, and onto Pet Cemetery and Tommyknockers – late seventies to early nineties.

I devoured them all.

I moved on to “weightier” stuff after I got married and read maybe two of his novels in the intervening years. I think they were Hearts in Atlantis and Bag of Bones (I have little recollection of the former).

I’m glad I stopped in to visit. A new Stephen King book is similar to a new Continue reading