Moby Dick ain’t about no Whale

What is the experience of reading an author?
This is a difficult, completely subjective question, but one that is missing from reviews of books. However, I think it is both an untapped subject and a very difficult one.
I don’t have answers to this question. But to use Melville’s Moby Dick as an example, the experience of reading that fantastic tome is completely different, even opposite, to that of reading a summary, a critique, or watching a film, comic book, or operatic adaptation.
What happens when we actually *read* Moby Dick? What happens to us? What does it feel like?
What does it feel like to discover the main characters and then lose them, sometimes whole chapters at a time, as Melville digresses into arcane subjects? Or to zone out during several passages and snap back into focus? Is that part of the experience?
This is why most reviews of books talk plot and nothing else, but as another writer put it, nobody goes to movies for the plot.
I started thinking about this, actually, while I was reading Chuck Klosterman’s recent collection of essays X: A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century. For one thing, reading Klosterman write about writing puts you at both a distance to what you’re reading and more involved in what he’s writing. And his interviews are just as much about what it is to interview somebody–how questions bubble up through the subconscious; how what is planned measures up to what happens–as they are about their subject.
Anyway, this is just a note about something that I might write more about later.
^^^That is a terrible sentence^^^

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