To begin, this is not meant to be an exhaustive post.
Discussing MOBY DICK fully could take days, hours, years, decades or more. With some members of the Literary Team heading to the shores of Cape Cod this weekend, we started thinking about the ties that connect this peninsula of greatness with one of the most powerful literary accomplishments of all time.
First off, we know what some of you are thinking: “I’ve tried reading MOBY DICK a million times and just can’t power through.” We were once at that point, too. We understand. We feel your pain. BUT as The Literary Man discussed in his post When is it ok to give up on a book, if you’re thinking about whether or not to finish MOBY DICK the answer is to never give up. You must push through to the end, because the last page gives you that kick in the gut that you’ve been needing.
So, to properly psych yourself up for a long haul to the finish of this epic, we suggest a visit to Cape Cod and the Islands, the native land of Pequod sailors Starbuck, Stubb, and Flask.
First, to get to the Cape, take a ferry, take a train, take a car, take a plane. If you are driving, before you make it across the famed bridges connecting the Cape to the mainland stop in at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Here you can be sure to be inspired by scrimshaw, paintings, skeletons, boats, and so many facts about blubber and harpoons you’ll have them coming out your ears.
Next, continue your pilgrimage to the town of Woods Hole, MA. As you pass through the town of Falmouth, take a stop in at the Falmouth Public Library, where the 2010 town book of the year was MOBY DICK. When the Library chose the book, they planned a 24 hour Moby Dick Marathon. Salty dogs, lawyers, oyster farmers, town doctors, ferry captains, hippies, scientists and other residents came together for this rum soaked reading.
Next, after grabbing coffee at the local’s spot, The Coffee-O, wander over to the ferry where you can catch a ride to one of the most literary spots in all of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard. Once you disembark, take the bus over to Edgartown, a town that was once a center in the whaling trade. This is by far one of the most picturesque places in New England and as you wander through historic inns and homes of the great whaling captains you can contemplate how Captain Ahab’s “girl-wife” and his young son may have lived.
But ok. We know. Some of you still won’t finish MOBY DICK, although we highly recommend that you do. If you want to get a feel of the book, but would prefer not to slug through the hundreds of pages devoted to cetology, we have a suggestion. Read MOBY DICK IN PICTURES by Matt Kish. Each day he read one page of Moby Dick. Taking inspiration from the words, he created an illustration for each of the 552 pages.
Here’s what you do: buy MOBY DICK IN PICTURES and read a page a day alongside Mellville’s MOBY DICK. After a year and a half you’ll be finished, and we can guarantee you that you’ll be glad you did.