Mojo’s Must Reads: Billy Budd by Herman Melville

Stung by the critical reception and lack of commercial success of his previous two works, Moby-Dick and Pierre, Herman Melville became obsessed with the difficulties of communicating his vision to readers. His sense of isolation lies at the heart of these later works. “Billy Budd, Sailor,” a classic confrontation between good and evil, is the story of an innocent young man unable to defend himself against a wrongful accusation.”

   It’s been a while, but I have some time to write a quick recommendation. I recently read through Billy Budd by Herman Melville and I, at first, hated it. Mostly because it is one of the hardest books I have ever read. Melville’s writing style is extremely eloquent and quite pretty, but it is hard to follow, I mean, he spent a paragraph to write about someone getting a drink. But once I reread it again, as it is only about 90 pages, and I started to understand it I grew to really like the book. At the heart of the book, it’s the classic tale of good vs evil. But there is so much more to it. I don’t want to discuss it at length, as it involves spoilers, but Melville gives enough evidence to justify both sides of the argument. He really leaves it up to you to choose what you believe is correct. I think it is definitely a must read for anyone who wants to be an english major. When you deconstruct Melville’s writing style, it really is beautiful. At the surface, it’s a bunch of complicated words and sentences that will definitely confuse you. However, when you read it slowly and digest it, it becomes a thing of beauty. It can come of as but show off-ish, and it kinda is, but it is a great piece of writing. That’s really what I have to say on it. Hopefully, I can post more later in the week. 🙂

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Mojo’s Must Reads: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

“In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the  OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.”

    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is one of my favorite books of all time. No, it’s not a literary masterpiece with beautiful syntax and diction or deep and philosophical novel that challenges society. Frankly, it’s not even a well-written book. But it does one thing so freaking well: it’s just so damn fun.

   Wade Watts is a solid character. He’s not game-changing, but he fulfills his purpose as a likeable protagonist. Artemis was a good supporting character, but Aech was an absolute badass. Each of them go through their respective arcs and Cline handles it well. By the end of the book, you truly care for them. The plot is fairly predictable and the dialogue is pretty cringy too. It’s not even really a well-written book. But damn is it fun. The world Cline creates is fantastic. Everywhere Wade traveled seemed to be filled with adventure and packed with action. I mean a boss fight involving a retro video game called Joust or a full recreation of the movie WarGames starring you as Matthew Broderick’s character. It is just so much fun to read. The world has an interesting lore and of course, pop culture references. The book is well known for its various references to classic video games, movies, and entertainment in general. Those who lived in the 80’s will be filled with nostalgia.

   I love Ready Player One. The book is such a delight to read that I could see past its glaring flaws. It shows that you don’t need to write some deep, philosophical book to be noticed or praised as a writer. It’s ridiculous, exciting, and above all, fun. Ready Player One shows that you don’t have to be the next Ernest Hemingway or Kurt Vonnegut to be successful, just write about what you love.