Contented Reader

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Moby-Dick Big Read, chapters 1-6

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Moby Dick

Chapters 1-6

Herman Melville

Moby Dick Big Read

I’ve been reading ‘Tom Sawyer’ with my eighth graders.  They find the antiquated language difficult, these urban kids who are placated with easy-reader stories about other contemporary urban kids, and have rarely been called upon to read anything written before they were born.

“Eyes and ears,” I teach them.  “Read the text of the book with your eyes, while listening along with the audiobook.”  And it’s a technique that is working for them, too.  A few of them are even enjoying the book, here and there.

I decided to adopt the same method for myself, enjoying the Moby Dick Big Read project.  Yesterday morning, I read the first three chapters, following with my eyes the text of the book, while listening to a different reader on each chapter on this new audio presentation.

I normally read pretty quickly, and the readers are taking a slowish, thoughtful pace.  The slow pace is helping me to enjoy the language of the book, the digressions, the way Melville drifts through the story in something that is almost a nineteenth-century stream of consciousness.  It’s a very good way to read this long, thoughtful book.

This morning, I enjoyed three more chapters the same way.  I am not rushing, but I suspect that it won’t be very long before I catch up, and join in the pace of one chapter per day as they are released.  I feel good about that.  It’s a rich, dense book, and one chapter per day is probably just about right.

As much as I already loved this book, slowing down to listen while I read it is like reading it for the first time.  There’s no skimming the ‘boring parts,’ and behold, the ‘boring parts’ aren’t actually boring at all.


Written by Contented Reader

October 11, 2012 at 6:19 am

Posted in Reviews


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