By Beth David, Editor
There’s nothing like settling into a comfy spot for a long period of reading a good book. And books do not get much better than Moby-Dick.
So hundreds of people settled in to listen as close to 170 people took turns reading portions of the favorite American classic about the quest of a whaleboat that set sale from New Bedford Harbor (on the Fairhaven side, I might add…ahem)*.
The 23rd annual marathon reading of one of America’s most beloved classics took place at the New Bedford Whaling Museum this weekend, with one portion held at the famed Seamen’s Bethel. And Culture*Park performers acted out Chapter 40 in the Whaling Museum theater on Saturday night.
Famous readers and regular folk, Melville Aficionados, veteran readers, and newbies, 168 according to the list, read for a few minutes each. The reading started at noon on Saturday with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan, Co-Hosts of Boston Public Radio jostling to be the one to say the famous first line: “Call me Ishmael.”
Jim won that tussle.
Late into Saturday night, as the clock ticked closer and closer to midnight, there were still about 50 people following along.
Patricia Andrade grabbed one of the few soft chairs, put her feet up, her head on a pillow and a warm wrap around her neck to follow along.
She said she goes every year for at least part of the time. This was the first year she was trying to stay through the whole thing, including through the night. She said she has done the beginning, the middle, and the end.
“I never did the whole thing,” she said.
She has also read before, but not this year, unless they need her to.
Logan Rockefeller lives in California now, but grew up in Arlington, Mass. She said she comes back for the holidays and extends her stay a bit to catch the marathon.
“I really love it,” said Ms. Rockefeller, adding that she read it with her book club a few years ago with a very dear friend. “So it’s very dear to me.”
She admits that she usually manages to sleep, but “not much.”
Sarah Robbins and Frank Curren traveled from Providence for the marathon. Mr. Curren, listed in the program as an Melville Aficionado, read earlier on Saturday afternoon. It was the first time for both of them.
“It’s Moby-Dick,” said Ms. Robbins when asked why they were there. “We love the book.”
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