‘So long son, you’ll have a whale of a time!’

Having departed for nautical college last autumn, the time has come for my son to set sail aboard this very ship, on a four month long trip which will take him to South America and back. Fingers crossed he finds his sea-legs!


I’m already on planning to stalk his travels by reading books set in South America for our #AW80Books challenge, but to mark the occasion of his first oceanic expedition, we (my husband, daughter and I) are going to going to start listening to the Moby Dick Big Read which was recorded as part of an arts project run by Peninsula Arts along with Plymouth University.

As well as perfectly ticking the obligatory sea-based novel box for the Around the World in 80 Books Reading Challenge, Herman Melville’s leviathan tome also happens to be on the Guardian’s 100  greatest novels reading list, which I’ve been neglecting of late, so this is even more of a bonus.

All 135 chapters plus the Epilogue are included and unabridged, and read by an incredible plethora of actors, writers, musicians, celebrities, (and *cough* David Cameron), and on the website, there are links to accompanying artworks which were made in response to each chapter’s content.


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It’ll last us for the entire time our son is away, and will be a wonderful way to feel in some way connected to his oceanic adventure. Well, if that doesn’t do it, I’m sure our matching ‘his ‘n’ hers’ sailor suits, and anchor tattoos will.

Thanks to Kim at SpiralSpun for telling me about the ‘Big Read’. I’d much rather be read to, than tackle ‘Moby Dick’ on my own. That said, I’ll be switching to my paperback for some parts – I don’t think I can stomach listening to David Cameron more than is necessary, even on the subject of whales. Still, it could be worse, at least he’s not reading from ‘The Peppermint Pig’, or as he’d probably rather call it, ‘Babe’!