Moby Dick Read-A-Long: Sign Up!

Moby Dick Read-A-Long

Shout out to MS Paint.

Sharpen your spears…. in just two weeks, Reading in Bed will host its first ever read-a-long!

Why Moby Dick?

I was challenged by my brother in law to read Moby Dick before the end of the year. But, I don’t know, MD feels like a summer book to me (keep in mind I read Roxana on my honeymoon in Mexico, so I don’t really do “beach reading.”)

I also want to have fun with this and get to know some of my fellow book bloggers a little better. If we can inspire and encourage people to read a book they might have been intimidated by otherwise (I am super intimidated, by the way,) that would be pretty cool, too.

Isn’t Moby Dick long and boring and about a whale?Moby Dick cover

Well, yes. It’s 750 pages long, and is purported to not just be about a whale, but to have whole chapters that are literally ABOUT a whale, like, details of anatomy and whaling and what not.

But, it’s also regarded as the Great American Novel, and possibly the first postmodern novel. That’s pretty amazing, considering it was written a hundred years before anyone else wrote a postmodern novel.

I’m going in with almost no expectations. I’m not doing a ton of research or reading other bloggers, like I usually do. The edition I bought has no introduction. So let’s just jump in!

What do I have to do?

Ready to sign up? Great! Leave a comment on this post and you’re all set. Here are some things you could do after that, if you’re so inclined:

  • I’ll post every Monday with my thoughts on the chapters I’ve read and other random Moby Dick stuff. You could do that too!
  • Comment on other people’s blogs. You can refer back to this post, or my most recent post, to see who else is blogging. I don’t know about you, but getting comments is pretty much the best feeling ever, so spread the love around!
  • You can put a badge up on your blog -> see sidebar.
  • You can tweet about what you’re reading with the hashtag #MobyDick2013.
  • If you don’t have a blog, that’s okay! You can still comment and tweet. Or start a blog. Go crazy!

What’s in it for me?

At the end of it all, I’ll randomly select one of you to win a Moby Dick t-shirt (well, an gift certificate from Out of Print Clothing so that you may choose your own t-shirt.) E-Readers making it hard to show off how well-read you are? No problem. Let everyone know you’ve tackled that white whale. Just make sure you comment on this post, and participate a bit, and you’re entered to win.

I'm not above bribery.

I’m not above bribery.


You’ve got two weeks notice to finish up whatever you’re reading and find yourself a great paper or electronic edition.  Feel free to fall behind or read ahead, but I’ll try to post according to this:

I’m still not sure….

Here are some links about how to read Moby Dick that you may find encouraging:

Herman Melville

Herman wants you to sign up. Also, I saw a teenager with this exact facial hair the other day. DISTURBING.



  1. Rick MacDonnell

    A few scattered thoughts:

    1) Yay for a read-a-long that doesn’t involve vampires or magic!
    2) I know so little about Moby Dick that I’m not even entirely sure #1 is true
    3) I’ve been staring down Out of Print Clothing’s Moby Dick shirts for like a month. They’re awesome, and I want one, but I’d feel dumb owning the shirt if I didn’t like the book. 30% of why I hope I enjoy Moby Dick is based on wearing the shirt without remorse.
    4) 136 chapters … terrifying. But also great, as it shows that the book is in bite-sized nuggets. Should make for easier reading, methinks.
    5) “I’m not above bribery.” F#&%, you make me laugh.
    6) Herman Melville wasn’t above slamming Shakespeare, or at least knocking him off his pedestal. I want to like this book so bad.
    7) I’ll be trying to stick to your exact schedule. I think it’ll be more fun that way.
    8) Super. Pumped.

    • lauratfrey

      There are lots of classics readalongs… you’re not looking in the right places.

      I think you win automatically if the word “vampire” appears in this book.

      I’ve been coveting Out of Print for years! I like Brave New World, Wuthering Heights (obviously) and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, too. I’ve also requested a Kobo cover for mother’s day, they’re half price at Chapters right now.

      Thanks for being enthusiastic 🙂 I’m kind of scared I won’t like it, or worse, won’t “get” it. But between all of us doing the reading, maybe we can figure it out.

  2. Caitlin

    I’m in.. and in case Tony doesn’t reply, he is in too 🙂

    Make sure to send words of encouragement for this one. I think this book is going to be a huge challenge!

  3. Brie @ Eat Books

    Gawd, you’re so organized! And gawd I love itty-bitty chapters. Feels like you are making huge accomplishments when you are reading! I’m really just doing this because now I want to win that shirt. So your bribe worked. Also, I’m pretty confident I will never read this book unless I do it now, although, I can guarantee my posts won’t be as smarty-pants as yours. 😉

    • lauratfrey

      Yeah, the chapters are all like 10-20 pages, which is great. I’ll probably read it on my Kobo, so it won’t make much difference, you can’t really tell what a “page” is, anyway.

      I don’t know, my posts might just be me bashing my head against a wall cause I don’t get it… I can see the Twitter fail whale being used at some point 🙂

      • thedubioushausfrau

        Yes, yes you should! I shared this on my blogs fb page as well so hopefully you have a few more takers.

  4. David

    I just finished Moby Dick, so I’ll still be interested in following along with your posts. But I must warn you, it definitely lives up to its reputation as a very difficult read.

  5. jaynesbooks

    I am in; its been on my TBR list for almost 20 years. I have a paper copy of the book in addition to the one I got on my Kobo. I should warn you that due to other reading commitments, I may not exactly be on schedule with the reading, but I will do my best.

  6. ebookclassics

    Signing up! I want the shirt too … better than a tattoo. I will also be reading on a Kobo and thank goodness for itty bitty chapters. A little mercy for the mommy-brained.

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  8. littlemisstrainwreck

    Great! This is a fun idea. I am certainly in. This has been on my to-read list for way too long, it’s about time I buckle down and get it read. Looking forward to this, Laura.

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  13. Erica Drayton

    I’m SO in on this! I’ve never read the book or seen any movie version either. I do own a copy of the book but I’ll confess it was because I loved the binding so much. It’s about time I actually read it!

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  16. emmawolf

    I wish I had known about this before today! I really like Moby Dick (but I skip chapters that are too whaley)! Happily, I started rereading the book a few months ago, put it down to read something else, and am near where you guys are now. It must be fate or something!

    • lauratfrey

      Well join us in progress! I’m kinda liking the whaley chapters, as long as they’re not TOO long. I was just in awe of the entire chapter about how Moby Dick is white. How do you make a chapter out of that? Amazing!

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  18. Andrea

    I’m going to jump in and start reading very soon! (as soon as summer unofficially starts and I have hours of reading time) I’m so excited 🙂

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  21. Lisa

    Oh drat! You’re about 60 chapters in and I don’t know how I’d ever catch up but I sure would love to read this with a group.

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  30. LasonyaGilman

    I am now not sure the place you’re getting your info, however good topic. I must spend some time studying much more or understanding more. Thanks for wonderful info I was looking for this information for my mission.

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