Well, there was pretty good response to my query about whether or not people were interested in a group read of Moby Dick. I’ve mentioned it a couple of times on twitter and Facebook as well and gotten a few encouraging responses. I had been waffling on whether or not to try to lead this thing, since I’ve been at this group read thing for nearly a year now, and it’s darned time-consuming for me. But I finally decided to go ahead and do the thing. And now I’m so excited I’m just about shaking in my skin about it. I’ve downloaded an audio version for potential listening to in the car and on the old elliptical machine. I’ve bought the authoritative text for this read and am poking into the end-matter as I have time. I’ve begun reading (and in some cases rereading) books about whaling and whales and Melville’s books. I’ve lined up a couple of neato bloggers who for the moment will remain nameless but whose participation I’m really excited about (not to diminish the efforts my siblings-in-arms already blogging here). And I’ve set a schedule.
Mark your calendar for May 24. That’s a couple of weeks after the 2666 read wraps up. We’re going to go pretty fast. I think that the longer a read goes along, the more fatigued people become. I know it’s been the case with 2666 (made worse by that big oppressive fourth section), and there are certainly parts of Moby Dick that some will find fatiguing or boring (though I find them fascinating). So this is going to be a 6-week whirlwind read. In the edition I cut my teeth on (the Penguin edition pictured front left above), that’s about 115 pages a week, or 16 pages a day. It seems like a lot, I guess, but the prose itself isn’t hard. If you were able to pull off 70 pages a week of Infinite Jest, this will be an absolute cinch. (And if people come at me with pitchforks and torches in the comments, I’ll consider stretching it out to an 8-week read instead.)
So there you have it. Bone up on your nautical lingo and get ready to chase the white whale. I’ll write a few more posts in preparation for the read in the mean time, but look for my post on the first few chapters on May 24.
If you’re already blogging for IZ and would like to be considered an official blogger for the Moby Dick read, please let me know one way or another so that I can add you to the about page when I make one. If you’re not a blogger for IZ but would like to be, please make your case in the comments (or if you’re too shy to make a case in the comments, at least leave a comment expressing your interest, and I’ll email you).