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The apocalypse: nigh?

So I just came across a mindboggling story on the wires from the Kansas City Star. Seems there's this new website, dailylit.com, at which you can sign up for email installments of more than 500 different books. Each segment arrives in a chunk digestible in about five minutes. The idea is that Pp people don't have time to devote to reading every books, especially classics (hello, Moby-Dick). So you just grab a few minutes when you're on your Blackberry or checking your email, and you make your way through the book slowly but surely. The service is free for some classics; others cost $4.95. The idea is to supplement, not replace, reading.

But here's what freaked me out: Susan Danziger, one of the founders, tested the program by reading Pride and Prejudice this way. Now what self-respecting literarily inclined woman reads P&P one page at a time!? How could you possibly stand not to speed through it breathlessly? HOW? I don't understand. Just rent the miniseries if your time is that valuable.

On the other hand, Moby-Dick comes in 252 handy segments . . .

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amy

thank you for posting the photo of my husband, Colin Firth. He doesn't get enough facetime whatsoever. You go, Colin Baby!!!!!!

Connie

I am now seriously considering signing up for Moby-Dick to be sent to me in 252 appetizing segments. On the other hand...I still have that Moby-Dick in Half the Time. Dilemma!

Brett Bayne

I notice that you are always quick to make a Dick reference (as in Moby). What is it about this book that intimidates you? Is it just the size, or its reputation for being ponderous? And by the way, am I the only person who thinks the hyphen in the title looks weird?

bibliophile

Brett: I asked this q. about the hyphen somewhere else on this blog (can't recall where). Has it always been there and I never noticed? Or is this some innovation like "In Search of Lost Time," which is apparently the latest way to refer to Proust's "Remembrance of Things Past". It's a better literal translation of the French, granted, but I find it disconcerting to have book titles changing on me like world maps after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

bibliophile

OK, I've got way too much time on my hands today, so I'm answering my own q's about Moby hyphen Dick and Proust, having done the research. Apparently, the hyphen appeared in the title of one of the early editions of Melville's book but nowhere in the text, so some editions then left it out of the title as well.

About Proust/Things Past/Lost Time: Someone did a new translation in 2002 and also re-translated the title.

Brett Bayne

I am in favor of dropping the hyphen from Moby Dick altogether, and adding it to Andy-Dick.

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