No, I haven't finished Moby Dick, and like I wrote in an earlier entry, I have a lot of reading that I want to do this summer. If I wait until I'm finally done with that book, then I won't get anything done. So, I read The Stranger, by Albert Camus, which I might get to teach to my seniors next year. Kirsti had a copy, so I didn't have to go out and buy one. She had recommended it to me some time ago, as she had read it and really liked it.
It's a short book, yet it's taken me about a week and a half to get through it. I guess I'm just being a bit lazy, or preoccupied with other things, as there's no reason to not finish it in a day or two. It's really short, and it's pretty straight-forward. While it deals with some pretty weighty issues and a narrator who really makes you think, it's not difficult to discern what's happening as far as the plot is concerned.
I haven't read any sort of analysis of it, so I'm sure that there's some obvious theme or motif that I'm completely missing - especially considering that I was only reading about 10-15 pages a day. Still, I have to say that I enjoyed it quite a bit. I'm not quite sure what sorts of things I'd talk about with my students just yet, but I think that I would definitely like to read this one with them.
The main character is somewhat of a frustrating guy, as he seems to be rather indifferent to the world. Kirsti told me that he reminded her of me a little bit, as supposedly I don't get very passionate about some things that might matter to others. I see where she's coming from, but I know that I also get all steamed about stuff that many people don't care about at all.
I don't want to get into a plot summary, just in case you're interested in reading it, but I will definitely say that the ending has a good payoff. At least, it has a satisfying emotional payoff, and the character is definitely a changed person by the end of the story. In fact, the ending makes me want to go back and reread all of the earlier bits.
One thing I also noticed is that the book is a bit funny. Not hysterical, laugh-out-loud funny, but "isn't that absurd?" moments. Anyway, good stuff. Next up, another hundred pages of Moby Dick, or perhaps even The Crucible. That might not start up for a few days though, as I just bought an ass-load of comics.