Monday, June 21, 2010

Moby Dick Reading Challenge - Week #1

Pages read: 1-99
Chapters read 1-18

Yeah, I completed the first 99 pages of Moby Dick and guess what, it wasn't that hard. I psyched myself up to believing the Great American Novel was going to be boring and difficult to read but I was wrong. In fact, it was downright entertaining. I actually laughed out loud a few times.

Call me Ishmael is the famous first sentence of Moby Dick. Ishmael is the narrator of the story who wants to be a whaler. Whale blubber is the oil of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and many men risk their lives to capture and kill these giant sea creatures. The first 99 pages of the book covers Ishmael's journey to Nantucket and subsequent employment on Captain Ahab's whaler called the Pequod. Along the way he meets a harpooner named QueeQueg and shares a bed with him. They become fast friends and vow to sail out on the same ship. QueeQueg is the most interesting character in the story so far.

While reading Moby Dick, I am reminded of the book, Ahab's Wife. I am so glad I read it first as it really sets me up to understand Moby Dick better. Plus, Ahab's wife and son are mentioned in chapter sixteen. If you haven't read Ahab's Wife it would be an excellent novel to read after you've finished with Moby Dick as well.

There are lots and lots of religious references in Moby Dick. The first 99 pages referenced Jonah and the Whale, Noah's Ark and quoted a few Bible passages. Either Melville was a religious man or men on whaling ships knew that life was short and risky and had a need be religious. Probably both. Ishmael states that QueeQueg is a pagan and finds important the worshiping and fasting for his idol. Melville mentions Ramadan and I am wondering if maybe QueeQueg is not a pagan but Muslim.

Here is how I accomplished my reading this week. On Tuesday through Friday I read 25 pages each day. This allowed my to have my weekends free to read another book as well as reflect on what I read in Moby Dick. I am going to try and do this again.

Two other bloggers are reading this book in the challenge so please pay them a visit and check out their blog posts on Moby. I can't wait to see what their reading experience entailed. Thanks to Rachel at 1001 books and Book Snob Wannabe and for joining the challenge as well as all the book readers out there!

Tomorrow, I set sail on the Pequod for the week and will update you on my progress next Monday. Happy Reading!


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  2. Do you have a twitter account? If so, follow me at

    I wrote a post about the challenge!!!

  3. I am impressed that you have begun reading this book. I shall definitely follow your progress. I like the way you divided it up over the nights. If you enjoy this book all the way through, I might just be tempted to read it myself.