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Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Discussion: Moby Dick Big Read

On Friday I posted a link to the Moby Dick Big Read that is going on right now.  The latest chapter as of the time of this post is Chapter 9.  I have only had time to listen to 1 chapter myself, but as I have mentioned many times on this blog before, I am a huge fan of Moby Dick.  I think I read it at the right time, with the right teacher.  As a result, this project really interests me.

The idea of the project is to present this great American novel in a more accessible way.  The 135 chapters are being read aloud by people from famous to unknown and each chapter is accompanied by art (more at this link).  By taking it a chapter at a time in an audio format, where the reader can sit back and let the words and language wash over them, the organizers hope to introduce more people to the beauty and brilliance of this work.

This made me think of myself and my own reading.  When I am confronted with a "big" book, Moby Dick sized, I often turn to listening to it.  In the last few weeks, I have done this with Haruki Murakami's 1Q84 and Stephen King's 11/22/63.  Both of which are long and complexly layered. I don't know if I would have gotten through them if I had to carry a heavy book around for 3 weeks each to read them, but I loved listening to each of these captivating stories while I walked, drove, did laundry, or washed dishes.  I think I enjoyed them even more because I listened to them. I did not feel the pressure of a huge number of pages still to go, rather, I returned to each with a desire to be lost in the story again.  Both were among the best books I read this year.

Back to the point for today's discussion though.  The combination of the Moby Dick Big Read and my two positive experiences listening to big books got me thinking about other large tomes that might work well in this chapter a day, read by different people format.

So for today's Monday Discussion, I want to hear from you about what you would want to hear this way.

I will start with my suggestion. I would love it is someone organized a big read for all of The Wizard of Oz stories. Like Moby Dick, these are tales people know the basic plots for but very few people have read them. And, I think it would work well with different readers.

What about you?  For today's Monday Discussion, let me know a book or series that you would like to give the Audio Big Read treatment.

For past Monday Discussions, click here.


Megan Rosol said...

It's so true that "big" books are less intimidating when on audio. I need to give an audio treatment to "In Search of Lost Time" by Marcel Proust. I think I would like the book if I only could get past 200th page (three times trying).

Kaylin said...

I love this idea. I think incorporating social media gives it a "let's do this together!" attitude rather than a "I guess I'll trudge through this 300 page book now" mentality.

I'd like to hear anything by Dostoevsky or Dickens in this format - they get a reputation for being dry so people put them down, but I think they'd both read well in audio.

John, Librarian At Dawn said...

This may seem obvious, but POETRY! The spoken word lends itself so much better to poetics than that of the written. Lengthy, epic poems such as Don Juan or Childe Harold leap immediately to mind. Prometheus Unbound vocalized by an English narrator would be wonderful.