Call me Ishmael. One of the most famous first sentences in English-language literature. And yet, while most people know that Moby Dick is the name of a white whale and that he was pursued by one-legged Captain Ahab, how many have the courage to sit down with all 641 small-font pages and follow the ship Pequod round the globe?
I confess I didn’t. I needed the help of William Hootkins’ incredible audio recording (Naxos, 2005) to get me through it. It’s close to 25 hours long and it feels like I spent two or three months slowly listening to the dense prose, dipping into the Penguin Drop Caps edition when I had to return the audiobook to the library and wait for it to be available again.
I don’t think this book could be published today. We don’t have time for long sentences or exhaustive treatments of a subject. We deal in slogans and sound bytes. Who sits by the fire with family and reads aloud from a book when there are lifetimes of YouTube videos to watch?
So why does Moby Dick endure?
What to do when your son is allergic to schoolwork? When the 5-7 pm “witching hour” of toddlerhood has turned into an equally combative “homework hour”? When you’re tired, so tired, of nagging to get anything done? All you want for Christmas is for him to do what he needs to do without reminders for one day.
I thought I had found the answer when I saw a podcast from the Art of Manliness about a book called He’s Not Lazy by Adam Price. Instead, after listening to the podcast and reading the book for myself, I wanted even more answers. This led me to read three more books on parenting teens, all in the quest to answer the question,
“Should I enforce homework completion or let my son fail to do his homework and learn from it?”