"Moby Dick" by Herman Melville

Yes, I read "Moby Dick" the entire way through. It was required for my American Literature class this semester and I have to say . . . it was HORRIBLE!

The story itself is wonderful (and very sad) but Melville found it necessary to include every detail about every thing ever mentioned in this book. There are complete chapters on: the whale, the tail of the whale, the eyes of the whale, the rope used on the whale-ships, the harpoon, how the blubber is removed from the whale after it is killed, etc. etc. etc. for a grand total of 135 chapters! Not fun.

But! I do have to say I feel pretty proud of myself for having read it. And now that I'm done reading it, I'm really enjoying being able to talk about it. This book is overflowing with symbolism and Bible imagery. Everything stands for something else and each character is unique and interesting.

I wouldn't recommend reading this one unless you have a lot of time, a lot of patience, and a willingness to learn more about whales and whale-ships than you ever thought possible. Even then . . . it's not the best choice. But being able to say you've read it is pretty cool! Maybe not worth the hours it took to get through, but for an English Lit nerd like me, this is what cool looks like.

"Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley

I remember reading "Frankenstein" in high school and being so bored that I couldn't finish. But reading it again for a college class was a much better experience! I LOVED it! The book is so well-written and the actual story is so much better than the Hollywood version that we automatically think of when we hear about Frankenstein's monster.

Mary Shelley was the daughter of two famous English writers, Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin. She married Percy Shelley, another famous writer, and wrote "Frankenstein" as part of a ghost story contest with Percy and some other big writers of the time. It's amazing to me that THIS is what she came up with. The story is beautiful and tragic and horrifying all at once.

Definitely read it if you haven't already. And I'll leave it up to you to decide who the real monster is: Victor Frankenstein or his creature.