Starting an adventure: reading 'Moby-Dick'

Starting an adventure: reading 'Moby-Dick'
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Call me a reader. I've started reading Herman Melville's 1851 novel, "Moby-Dick." (Call me a stickler; you have before. The hyphen is on the cover.)

It's page 27 in this volume before the famous first sentence of the story itself, "Call me Ishmael," and in the notes, I have picked up on a lot of what happens in the story. But not how it happens.

There's a "Dictionary of Sea Terms" at the back, along with end notes, and there are footnotes on pages, too. But I'm not going to let that intimidate me.

I'm on page 79 and the start of Chapter 10. Each of the nine I've read so far is a small gem, worth reading for itself. The neighbor who was reading this on the bus a while back was onto something -- he was right, it's a good bus book.

My neighbor encouraged me to try it as a bus book because the chapters are short. Without being a spoiler, I can tell you that as Ishmael describes a Sunday morning, Melville uses separate chapters: "Breakfast," "The Street," "The Chapel," "The Pulpit," "The Sermon."

I haven't read anything in about 36 hours, but I checked on the next chapter, and it follows others in being very clear with the transition -- the "after that, I" description.

So I'll keep going -- as some of us say around Chicago Now, there's a post in this, more than once in this case.

At least I know something about one of the characters I (and Ishmael) haven't met yet: Starbuck. I think he and I will get along just fine, and a certain company will be providing reminders to read.

More to come!

Margaret Serious has a page on Facebook. 

What next on this literary adventure? Will I try reading the book at Starbuck's? Subscribe and find out! Just click the button marked "Subscribe by e-mail" and follow the prompts. I never send spam, and you may unsubscribe at any time. 


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  • Wonderful post. What an adventure, indeed!

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    Thank you. I'm sure to keep writing about it. Watch this space!

  • "I believe the one occurrence that uses the hyphen when referring to the whale in the text is in Chapter 133, “The Chase — First Day,” page 609 in the first edition:"

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Well, it'll be a while until I get there. I'm on page 80.

  • I look forward to following your observations about Moby-Dick, Margaret. I know it is a classic, and one that I have not read.

  • In reply to folkloric:

    Thank you, folkloric. I had planned on it for so long, and now I am enjoying it as a quick "getaway by ship." My neighbor's observations about short chapters are holding true, and even the notorious "facts about whales" chapters haven't slowed me down.

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