As a break from all the fanfic I’ve been inhaling, I’m re-reading Herman Melville's Moby-Dick
. This will be my third time through. I was too stoned to remember my high school trip on the high seas. The cassette tape audio edition by a mellifluous American stage actor (name escapes) distracted me when I was stuck in bed a couple decades back. I think it fascinates me because it's epic, it's full of weirdly specific detail, the language rolls and pitches, and I grew up in the area where whaling created magnates.
My plan is to read a chapter online each day, and then read it again in audio. Modern technology eases the way.
While there are scores of instances of Moby-Dick online, I prefer this one:http://www.mobydickthewhale.com
It provides definitions of words which have fallen out of common use in 21st century English. (Who knew that "mole" was a jetty?) The low-key site design permits me to enlarge the font as needed.
There are more than one hundred different audio editions available
on request at your library. For free, Librivox.org, the audio fellow-traveller to Project Gutenberg, has one:http://www.learnoutloud.com/Free-Audio-Video/Literature/American-Classics/Moby-Dick/22710
To me the reader sounds like he’s acting, not reading. (I didn't link directly to Librivox because interface Reasons.)
Fortunately a stray tweet connected me to Peninsula Arts with Plymouth University, UK and their “Moby-Dick Big Read.” They’ve undertaken to produce and freely distribute an audio version of the complete Moby-Dick via the internet, with many different readers contributing.
They started on 16 Sept 2012 with Tilda Swinton slyly whispering “Call me Ishmael.” Other readers are famous (Cucumberpatch), appropriate (John Waters on whale foreskins, Stephen Fry on UST between Ishmael and Queequeg), unknown but talented (Capt R. N. Hone, Merchant Mariner), and much more famous (David Cameron).
Every chapter is at the Project's home pagehttp://www.mobydickbigread.com/
for streaming or downloading.
You can grab it from iTunes or stream at your computer via Soundcloudhttps://soundcloud.com/moby-dick-big-read
I know Moby-Dick has a fearsome reputation, but it’s the whale that’s big. The book is lighter than many fantasy doorstops — just 135 10- to 30-minute chapters.
(This literary enthusiasm is brought to you by Twitter. I kvelled about the project, and numerous tweeps were like, "Melville? Why? Really?" I spammed my list with cetacean promotion for 15 minutes and discovered I'd talked myself into it.)