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Topic: reading Moby Dick....(not me).

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Subject: reading Moby Dick....(not me).
Date Posted: 1/8/2016 10:19 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 3,209
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BOSTON (AP) — "Moby-Dick" fans from around the world are getting ready for their own grueling quest — a marathon reading of Herman Melville's classic.

The New Bedford Whaling Museum this weekend is holding its 20th annual nonstop reading of the seminal man vs. whale novel, with a few new twists to mark the anniversary.

What started with just "a couple of die-hards and some grog," according to museum president and CEO James Russell, has grown into a four-day event that culminates in a cover-to-cover, 25-hour reading of the book aloud by about 150 volunteers. Hundreds attend the live event, and thousands more watch a live stream.

The event has become so popular that this year's reading spots were snapped up within an hour.

"This is my favorite museum event of the year," Russell said. "It touches on so many dimensions: the literary experience, the physical works of art, the theatrical performance, the workshops and focus groups."

The readers are teenagers and nonagenarians. They include Melville scholars and Melville descendants. They come from across the country and overseas. This year's celebrity reader, who traditionally kicks things off by reading what has been called the most famous opening line in literature, "Call me Ishmael," is award-winning author Nathaniel Philbrick.

Portions will be read in foreign languages including Spanish, French and Dutch.

The reading starts at noon Saturday and moves through different galleries of the museum, even at one pointing sailing up the cobblestone street to the Seamen's Bethel — the Whaleman's Chapel in the novel.

New for this year are a four-hour reading of a Portuguese adaptation of "Moby-Dick," and a two-hour children's version, read by kids ages 8 to 12.

Philbrick, who wrote "In the Heart of the Sea," which won the National Book Award for nonfiction and was made into a movie of the same name, called it an honor to get things started.

"It's written with such force and complexity and beautiful language," he said.

Philbrick confesses he didn't read "Moby-Dick" until he was "forced to" as a senior in high school, even though his father was a university English professor who specialized in American maritime literature. Now, he estimates he's read the book a dozen times.

"Ishmael was the best friend I had not met and I was completely harpooned," he said. "It's become like my personal bible."

Every year about 25 to 30 caffeine-fueled Melville aficionados manage to stay awake for the entire reading, Russell said.

"It's an immersive experience," he said.

Date Posted: 1/8/2016 10:23 AM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
Posts: 13,991
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I still have not been able to read it.

DH, whose reading tastes are far more literary than mine, is also a huge fan of Patrick O'Brian and all the major "seafaring" writers and books. He's tried several times to read "Moby Dick," but he can't, either. I guess we're just destined to be uncultured :)

We've been to that museum though, the history is fascinating---and unbelievably brutal for all involved.

Date Posted: 1/8/2016 2:04 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 3,209
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I can recommend In the Heart of the Sea by N Philbrick. also Mayflower by Philbrick is very good I think.

I read Moby Dick in the mid 70's. I was living in London at the time and found a really nice leather bound copy that was fairly cheap. I decided to read it again about 3 years ago. I had a cheap penquin edition this time. I enjoyed it much more the 2nd time. The first time I was impatient for the story to continue so the interruptions were aggravating. The second time I knew the story so I could take my time and let the book move at its own pace.

Speaking of nautical stuff Two Years Before the Mast by Dana is pretty good. I read it in high school.

Date Posted: 1/15/2016 10:28 AM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2014
Posts: 2,793
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I bought a copy from my library store last year.  I have been meaning to read it it's on my list of books to read.

I'm finding audiobooks to be very convenient.  If I could listen to the story while in the kitchen I would be through it in no time.