Monday, June 28, 2010

Moby Dick Reading Challenge - Week #2

Moby Dick Reading Challenge - Week #2

Pages read 100-195
Chapters read 19-40

The second part of this reading voyage was a bit harder than the first. I firmly believe that Moby Dick must be read with a full mind in tune to the story, not half a mind that is busy thinking about other things. I spent most of my week reading with half a mind and had to re-read a lot. My plan is to read 25 pages a night, Tuesday through Friday and it did not work this week. By Friday I only had 60 pages out of 100 read so I was far behind. I did manage to catch up on the weekend but you know it is a busy week when all you read is 60 pages out of one book!

The second part begins with lots of foreboding. As Ishmael and Queequeg are heading to board the ship, they meet up with Elijah on the street whose prophetic utterances seem to disturb Ishmael. They board the Pequod and set sail Christmas day. Ishmael goes chapter by chapter introducing the crew, from Captain Ahab, to the Chief Mate named Starbuck and many others including the harpooners. I wonder if the Starbucks coffee shop is named after the Starbuck in this story.

Ishmael narrates an extensive chapter that is an small encyclopedia of the whales known to man at the time. The whales they are hunting are the Right Whale and the Sperm Whale. This part of the book continues to set up the voyage by explaining what happens at meal times and how they spot whales from the Mast-Head. There are tons and tons of historical references and I understand most of them but unfortunately some are lost to me.

Captain Ahab shows himself on the Quarter Deck and calls "Everybody Aft". He holds a meeting on the deck to tell the crew that they are sailing and searching only for Moby Dick, the whale who took his leg. The man who sights Moby first gets a gold doubloon. So they whole crew is now involved in Ahab's maniacal revenge on a whale and Starbuck and I believe it will be their doom. Lots of foreboding happening in this section of the book.

I read the last 30 pages when I was camping and we had two big thunderstorms roll through at the same moment in the book when a squall was coming up. It was kinda eerie. So that is where I left the story, a squall is coming and so is the first sighting of Moby Dick.

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!

I am continuing my voyage aboard the Pequod and start to chase the big, bad, whale. Hoping to stay dry this time. This week pages to be read are 196-300. Wish me luck!


  1. yes, your guess about "Starbuck" is correct! It may sound crazy, but the coffee chain is named after a character in Moby Dick!

  2. Good luck with the challenge and thanks for sharing you review.

  3. I recently read about 1/2 of Moby Dick and thought that it was pretty hilarious. I wasn't expecting that at all. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. I read Moby Dick for a read-along and just finished it a couple days ago. In hindsight I should have posted while I read because there's so much to it. I agree about reading it with a full mind. It took five weeks of undivided attention, but I really liked it. Enjoy the rest of your voyage.