‘Moby-Dick’ update

You may recall that my New Year’s goal was to read “Moby-Dick.”

Well, at the one-month point, a progress report: I’m at page 248, out of 577, or Chapter 54 of 135. At this rate I’ll finish by the end of March, which isn’t bad; I initially thought it could take me to the end of April.

Did you know Barack Obama cites “Moby-Dick,” and also “Beloved,” as his favorite books? When I read that, I suddenly became an Obama fan.

“Moby-Dick” is an amazing book — there’s a reason classics are classics — although it’s not what you would call a quick read, owing to long sentences filled with semi-colons that sometimes require a second or third reading to decipher. Some of the language is jaw-droppingly lyrical, though. My schedule is such that it’s rare I can find even a half-hour a day to read it, further limiting my progress.

Still, I’ve managed to read a little bit every single day since Jan. 1, usually six or eight pages. It’s not much individually, but nibbling at it daily does make a difference.

Call me Incrementalist.

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  • meg

    Speaking of nibbling, have you gotten to the chapter that consists of a tangent comparing trailing sharks to patrons in a restaurant with bad service? That was the bit that convinced me that Melville was a feckin’ genius.

    You could always interweave it with one of your restaurant reviews, except that you are always diplomatic enough not to use the term “bad.”

    [I am, aren’t I? For one, I’m easy to please, and for another, since I write based (usually) on a single visit, I hate to be too critical. As for Moby, I haven’t come to the shark tangent yet but am now looking forward to it! — DA]

  • Anonymous

    To quote Homer Simpson, “The point of Moby Dick is: be yourself.”

    Never read it myself but it doesn’t stop me from believing that.

  • Charles Bentley


    The question that must be asked of you at this point:

    Hath thou seen the white whale?

    [All we’ve seen is a mysterious, almost unearthly jet of spray at midnight a couple of times that is likely Moby’s. Foreshadowing is so cool! — DA]