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Reading a TINY version of a BIG book about a GIGANTIC whale

I’ve never read Moby Dick. Nor have I ever read the electronic version of a full-length novel in its entirety – as a PDF, with a Kindle, an eBook reader – in any way. But I just moved into a house under construction and must leave everything packed in boxes and I’m traveling a lot and I got an iPhone, with an eBook reader called Stanza, and a wealth of open source texts at my disposal from Project Gutenberg. So I downloaded Moby Dick, as I figure I can carry it in my pocket while all of my other books are packed away.


So my question is: am I asking for trouble? Is it possible to consume epics on a 3.5″ screen?

6 thoughts on “Reading a TINY version of a BIG book about a GIGANTIC whale

  1. Good question! You know, I was talking with Matt Bell the other day and he was telling me that he likes to take walks reading from his Kindle, I think. Pretty wild.

    I wonder how scrolling, as distinguished from flipping a page, facilitates reading. What are the seductive aspects of pixels on a screen versus ink on a page?

    Also, there’s something about the varying weights of books that I love. I would think that there’s a different sense of accomplishment (if that matters) after reading from a brick like Infinite Jest as a book contrasted with reading it from some e-Book reader. I also wonder, in regards to Moby Dick whether it’s easier with some e-Book reader for people to skip all of Melville’s wonderful cetological asides. Ha!

    Speaking of Moby Dick, have you seen ; or The Whale, by Herman Melville, edited by Damion Searls? It’s Searls’s brilliant response to this other book Moby-Dick in Half the Time that chops up the book into a much distilled (to put it lightly) psychological novel. Searls’s created the text using everything cut from the excised/expurgated edition of Moby-Dick. It’s a textural tour-de-force. Excerpts here: http://damionsearls.com/melville.pdf

  2. The thing about Moby Dick you have to be prepared for (that I was not prepared for when I read it for the first time last year) is that there’s no whale stuff for the first 250 pages. The first 250 pages is a homoerotic love story between two of the shipmates, which takes place on land. Don’t get me wrong, I like homoerotic love stories, but that was not what I was looking for when I picked up Moby Dick. I wanted crazy whale tales, trouble at sea, harpooning, existential ennui, etc. Anyway, just thought I’d warn you.

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