Before We Begin

Let me introduce myself. I’m Astrid, a perpetually messy twenty-nine year old who is still figuring things out. One thing that I figured out early on, is that I like stories; reading them, watching them, writing them, analysing them.

I was first introduced to Moby Dick in grade nine. I went to highschool in California for half a year, and was placed in the top English class, where we read Moby Dick and The Scarlet Letter. Both books were tough to read, but worth it. I got through Hawthorne, and loved the overwrought symbolism – I read and wrote about it again later at Uni; it’s still one of my favourite books.

Then I returned to Sydney, Australia, before I had to worry about finishing Melville’s famous tome. Needless to say, my classmates were jealous.

My journey with The Whale didn’t finish there, though. I have tried reading the book twice since I was fourteen. I’m always captivated by the first few chapters – something about Melville’s prose draws me in, initially. But then we get to the ship, and Ahab. And I just lose interest. I put it away again and think to myself, ‘one day, I will finish this book.’

At uni, doing my creative writing degree, I looked at Finnigan’s Wake by James Joyce, and heard about a guy who wrote a book, or kept a record, of his experience reading it. That thought stuck in the back of my mind, until after the third time I attempted to read Moby Dick. And then it occurred to me, I could do the same thing.

Now, I’m not saying that Moby Dick is anywhere near as daunting as Finnigan’s Wake, but it is on something of a pedestal in literature, and infamously difficult to get through in its own right.

I’ve decided to share my journey through this book publicly because I want to keep myself accountable. I know that if I merely keep a private journal, I would get to the point I’ve always arrived at before, and put the book down a third or half way through.

Another reason to share my read-through is to connect with people and maybe help some other bibliophiles who want to read a hefty classic, but just need that little bit of encouragement. Let’s do this together!

My plans for this blog are pretty obvious – I want to track my progress and thoughts as I read through Moby Dick. I want to post three to five times a week, and at that rate it will take me half a year to a year to log the whole book. Along the way, or after I finish the book, I hope to review adaptations and related texts. Maybe I’ll take on another notorious classic. We’ll see 🙂

Thanks for reading,


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