Book 52 of 2004
Like noiseless nautilus shells, their light prows sped through the sea; but only slowly they neared the foe. As they neared him, the ocean grew still more smooth; seemed drawing a carpet over its waves; seemed a noon-meadow, so serenely it spread. At length the breathless hunter came so nigh his seemingly unsuspecting prey, that his entire dazzling hump was distinctly visible, sliding along the sea as if an isolated thing, and continually set in a revolving ring of finest, fleecy, greenish foam.
Last year’s leviathan was Ulysses; this year it was Moby Dick. Only you didn’t hear me moan continuously during the mere three weeks it took me to reach the end of Melville’s marvellous sea adventure. Moby Dick was much, much easier to read than I had thought it would be; I’d venture to say that, if he had written a thousand pages about knitting in that same style, I would have found that thrilling too.
The picks of the year: all the books and authors that I rated highly during 2004. Still under construction.