Friday, February 24, 2012

Post: Tips for Reading Moby Dick

Post by Connie & Ingrid

Ok, we promise this is our last post about Moby Dick. Inspired by Ingrid's post with tips for reading War and Peace, here's a quick list of our tips for reading Moby Dick ... for those of you who know you want to read it someday but need a little push.

Source: via Rhiannon on Pinterest

1. Change your expectations. This is NOT an action-packed adventure book. Some of the best advice we received upon starting this book was to view each chapter as a short story. If you start the book expecting a linear plot, you will grow very, very frustrated. Approach the book expecting a lot of non-fiction, a lot of experimentation, and a lot of jumping around, and try to enjoy it. As our fellow read-alonger Shelley at Book Clutter said in one of her posts, be ready to switch into non-fiction mode a lot in this book. And when you get discouraged, just trust, trust that the end will make it all worth it.

2. If you have a Kindle or other ebook reader, consider reading it on that. I started reading this book the old-fashioned way, but because it was so slow moving, it felt like it took FOR-EV-ER (read that in your best Sandlot voice) to even turn a page. I felt like I was making no progress at all. When I switched to the Kindle (and it's a free download), I stopped paying attention to how much progress I was making and how many more pages I had left to go, and I was able to enjoy the process much more.

 3. Set a finish date. It's easy to abandon this book because it's long and some parts are . . . well, boring. Both of us had a hard time getting through some parts, but we both ended up loving it after we finished. If you set a goal to finish before a certain date, you'll be less inclined to give up.

4. Don't be afraid of supplemental reading. Ingrid read Why Read Moby Dick? by Nathaniel Philbrick while she was working through Moby Dick and found it clarifying and encouraging. Don't be afraid to read outside sources - even though they discuss the end, we think it actually might enrich your reading experience if you already know what happens in the end. So don't be afraid of spoilers. Check out our Moby Dick intro post for some more suggested reading. also has some advice for reading Moby Dick and other hard books.

Good luck! And when you decide to tackle this leviathan (had to do one more leviathan joke; come on, when am I going to be able to use that one again?) make sure you stop by and tell us what you think! Happy reading.