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Listen to the adventures of Captain Ahab and the Mighty Moby Dick

Join The Moby Dick Big Read

Opening pages of Moby Dick Heritage editionThe Moby Dick Big Read event is an unusual literary broadcast event. This daily broadcasting of Herman Mellville’s Moby Dick, or The Whale chapters reminds me of those old radio serial stories where the audience listened and imagined the story day by day or week by week. You can start listening and downloading a chapter a day now.

This exciting literary project is the creative output of author Philip Hoare and artist Angela Cockayne. Participating readers include Tilda Swinton reading the first chapter, followed in no special order by Britain’s prime minister David Cameron, Will Self, Simon Callow, Stephen Fry and others.

 “Moby Dick is perhaps the most famous yet least-read of all American novels. For anyone who ever wanted to read it but was daunted by its length, we have the perfect solution: we’re reading for you…” Philip Hoare

Today starts this ambitious project of reading one chapter a day, all 135 of them–yes, that’s the entire novel. If the big whale, the great literary mega-classic Moby Dick, has eluded you, this is the time for you to discover, or rediscover, the merits of this epic classic novel.

Heritage Press title page Moby Dick by Herman MellvilleBeginning with the iconic “Call me Ishamel,” and ending as the “great shroud of the sea rolled on…,” listeners will be able to download each day’s chapter or listen to it online. If you’re reading this after the start date (September 16,2012), don’t worry. The chapters remain available, so anyone can easily play catch up. You say you have questions?

How long will I be chasing this great whale? 

Starting September 16th, and reading one chapter a day for the full 135 chapter novel length, listener/readers should be finished around the end of January, so it’s about 4 months.

Can I just read Moby Dick?

You most certainly can. By all means, start with the opening chapter and zip to the end. You don’t have to follow the scenario of one chapter per day or even listen to this special audio version.  This event is to encourage everyone to rediscover this classic. You can listen at the one-chapter-a-day pace or you can read it in one sitting, if you can, or you can do both or anything in between. This is a free event, no sign up, and you’re totally on your own with the where, when and how your participate.

How do I participate in this whale of a readathon?

Easy. Go to Big Moby Dick Read and listen or download the first chapter and listen. To follow the program, simply repeat that process for 135 days. You can also play catch up if that’s what you want.  Yes, you find this on iTunes, too.

Captain Ahab of Herman Melville's Moby Dick - The Big Read

Captain Ahab

How can I learn more about this Moby Dick stuff?

 Why am I learning about this now? 

I learned of the event a few hours ago. My friend and fellow book blogger Jillian from A Room of One’s Own gave me the heads up. She heard it from Susan over at You Can Never Have Too Many Books. From there the trail goes dim but the idea is hot, and I’ve decided to participate. If you’re an avid reader and a book blogger, you might want to look at the Transcendentalist Event in November 2012.

I’m doing a read-along with the audio chapters, partly because I tend to have a problem staying with any audio version of a book, but mostly because I want to read as I listen. The photographs posted here show images from the old Heritage Press edition that I pulled from our bookcases but there are ton’s of Moby Dick editions available if you want to read along, too.

Moby-Dick (Penguin Classics) / The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea (P.S.)

So, what do you think about this whole idea of a massive audio reading of Herman Mellville’s Moby Dick? Does it intrigue you? Are you going to participate? What do you think about the book, itself? Use the comment section below and share your thoughts.


  • IMAGE & AFFILIATE CREDITS: Photos of Captain Ahab image, Moby Dick title page, and opening pages copyright 2012 Vikk Simmons; all other book covers and titles via affiliate program

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