I've been a little obsessed this month. I read Moby Dick.
I'm not an expert. I'm just a regular, ordinary person who loves to read, a person who felt like I should read Moby Dick., and so I did.
It took me all month. I read the book while listening to narration, either from the Moby Dick podcast or the Moby Dick Big Read.
I found myself thinking about Moby Dick. A lot.
Of what did my Moby Dick experience consist?
I read a lot of books about Moby Dick. Kid books. Comic books. Whale nonfiction. Historical fiction about a (possible) relationship between Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne. A whole book on why people should read Moby Dick.
I wrote reviews for ten Moby-Dick-related books:
I loved the vocabulary in Moby Dick. I wrote a lot about the wonderful words in the book:
I wrote four other posts about Moby Dick and talked about Moby Dick covers, Moby Dick characters, Moby Dick art, and Moby Dick themes:
I watched a Moby Dick movie.
I listened to Moby Dick music.
I made a Moby Dick poll: The Moby Dick Character I Like Best. Winner? Queequeg, of course.
I made word art from the complete text of Moby Dick.
What are my take-aways from reading Moby Dick?
1. Many people have told me they have tried to read Moby Dick and came away thinking it was a daunting book or a boring book. Another huge group of people told me they never want to read Moby Dick. It is possible that Moby Dick is the classic that the least number of people ever plan or want to read.
2. A very small group of people have told me they read Moby and loved this book. Moby Dick has a tiny, but devoted group who are obsessed with this book.
3. Reading Moby Dick is daunting. The Great Gatsby is 7.3 on Accelerated Reader's ATOS readability scale. Tom Sawyer is 8.1. Anna Karenina is 9.6. War and Peace is 10.1. Moby Dick is 10.3.
4. I thought Moby Dick was the story of a captain who hunted a whale. It is. But Moby Dick is so much more than just the story of a man seeking a whale. It is the story of a man seeking a new life by going to sea. It's the story of man vs. nature. It's the story of whales. It's a story of adventure, drama, and even comedy.
5. I expected Moby Dick to be structured like a typical adventure novel. It is not. Moby Dick reads like a contemporary novel, with chapters written as plays, with chapters written as soliloquies, with chapters written like nonfiction text, and with paragraphs full of action but intermingled with deeply philosophical thoughts.
6. I thought if I read far enough into the novel I would grow to love it, and that happened. I did. I loved Moby Dick, but it took me 655 pages to decide that. In the process of reading it, I also disliked huge portions of it. I can't imagine that I will reread it, but I'm terribly glad I read it.
Have you read Moby Dick?