I love Moby Dick
. I LOVE IT. It took me 30 years to decide that I wanted to read it, and when I did...it changed my life. There's a long story about why I finally decided to read it, and it may or may not involve W.R.A.T.H. (Whales Rising Against the Humans (which also requires a disclosure that W.R.A.T.H. is a completely fictitious organization that I created consisting of 3 members...we have a logo)), but I did read it. And I wear that as a badge of honor.
There are a lot of books out there, "classics," if you will, which enter into a sort of grand checklist- any self-respecting book lover/bookseller is assumed to have read them. But no one can get around to ALL of them, especially the ginormous ones. Out of the many bookstores I have worked in and even more booksellers I count among my dear friends, I find Moby Dick
to be the one "classic" that is missed most...and it, the GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL! Maybe it's the hefty size, or being forced to read it in high school, or the ever-feared chapters on knot-tying. So yes, I take a certain pride in having read it. Especially when all of my coworkers are so well read; slogging through David Foster Wallace, while I tuck into a romance novel (no judgment!). Moby Dick
is the heart of my bookseller street cred.
My love for Moby Dick
could fill its own blog. It has led me to non-fiction reading tangents, whale watching trips, collecting paint-by-number nautical art, boycotting aquariums, possible tattoo designs, and a belief that I can summon whales (another long story)...it doesn't seem to end. Finally, I am so happy to report, that you too can share in this life-altering piece of classic American art. And it's fun too...I promise. Though I'm reasonably sure you can enjoy it without the obsessiveness that has affected me.
The Moby Dick Big Read
, a new website/art installation, has undertaken the grand task of offering this magnificent tome to you, free of charge, downloadable, and read by some of today's most awesome people. I'm talking Tilda Swinton, and Stephen Fry, and so many more. Ah-mah-zing! As of September 16th, this awesome art collaboration has been posting a chapter a day; downloadable, completely free, and accompanied by the most amazing original art. Here is a little bit from their website:
‘I have written a blasphemous book’, said Melville when his novel was first published in 1851, ‘and I feel as spotless as the lamb’. Deeply subversive, in almost every way imaginable,
|Queequeg By Timothy Woodman|
Featured with Chapter Six: The Street
Moby-Dick is a virtual, alternative bible – and as such, ripe for reinterpretation in this new world of new media. Out of Dominion was born its bastard child – or perhaps its immaculate conception – the
Moby-Dick Big Read: an online version of Melville’s magisterial tome: each of its 135 chapters read out aloud, by a mixture of the celebrated and the unknown, to be broadcast online in a sequence of 135 downloads, publicly and freely accessible.
So this is it. If you've ever wanted to be a part of that select group of people who have tackled, and adored Moby Dick
, now is your chance. I myself can't wait to submerge once again into the depths of this truly remarkable, life-altering masterpiece. Join me, won't you?