Mark Blackard
Mark Blackard asked:

Very epic tale yet sometimes difficult to read/understand. Some pages you may have to read a few times to follow but with patience you will be glad you did. Moby Dick is not a book you will read and finish over a weekend. Curious how long it took some others to finish this tale?

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Jose Frias Corrales I have started reading Moby Dick for the second time. I have a habit of writing the dates I start and end a book on the first page. The first time I read Moby Dick I started on May 1, 2004, and ended it April 5, 2006. That's almost two years! My goal, this time, is to finish the book in one month, wish me luck!
Sharon After flogging myself with the unabridged version for weeks, I finally decided Melville was on drugs when he wrote it and stopped around halfway. I couldn't handle the inconsistent point-of-views. The English major in me really wanted to love it--I just couldn't. Hoping to find the inspiration to try again one day.
Spaceecho I want to say it took me right around three months. It was the first truly "difficult" book I read for pleasure, but for whatever reason it hit me just right and I enjoyed every page. I've flipped through my copy a few times since then and wondered to myself how I managed to get through it...It's hard to imagine giving it a second read any time soon, but I absolutely do consider it a personal favorite.
Joshua Downes Can't help but chuckle at all the people claiming to have read it 'over a weekend'


It took me a month and that was with the audiobook as well as print.
R. I read it in 11 days -- 60 pages a day -- over the course of the Christmas holiday. It's slow reading and those 60 pages could take 2-3 hours depending on the content, but since I had the time off from work and had no other major obligations, it was easily time well spent. Loved every word!
Mr. Biggs Any careful reader will need at least a few weeks. Also, I think it works best to read it communally and have the help of others. It's just too big to tackle alone. As Melville explains, no one gets through this life alone.
Stephen 3 days. I needed to do a book report on it, and I procrastinated until a few days before it was due lol
Paul Yep - about a month. I was surprised at how little of the book was actually Ahab's story and how much contained overdone descriptions of the minutiae of whaling and sailing. At times, they (the off plot descriptions) were so annoying, I'd want to toss the book into the garbage (or press the delete key in my case) but then I'd read an absolutely magnificently written chapter and decide to forge on. Having it on Kindle was a big plus because I'd be looking up the meaning of at least one word per page. Overall - climbing the Moby Dick mountain was worth the effort and the view from the top is magnificent.
Gerard Best part of 3 months in small bursts here and there. It requires quite a lot of concentration.
Amy Farnell I started reading it on my Kindle in January. It is somewhat interesting in the beginning, but I personally get bored with the details toward the middle. It's now almost May, and I am only half way done with it. I've read several books in the meantime that were easy to read and hard to put down....Moby Dick is definitely not one of those types of books for me! I will be glad to finish it, but wonder why I am bothering.
Michael The last time I read it (third time) about 4-5 years ago it took me three weeks. I am now reading it as a group read and it is predetermined to read it in 30 days. Just finished Stave XIII which is just under half-way through. This is my fourth time. The first time was tough. Keep up with it. It is by far my favorite novel ever. Reading it in a month this way is the best as it gives me a chance to full appreciate it. Don't hurry through..also check our annotated versions on the internet or look up things like scuttlebutt, hogsheads ,taffrail and monkey jacket to fully understand the terms used.
Eilis Keely
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David Ellis I think I started it around the beginning of April (it is now the end of August). I only read a few pages here and there. During this same period I have read 13 other books, and I still have nearly 200 pages to go on Moby Dick.

It reminds me of running a marathon... just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Like Amy Farnell's comment, I will be glad to finish it, but don't know why I bother. Perhaps 30 years of reading architectural specifications as an engineer forces me to keep reading in spite of it not being fun......
Andres I picked up this book in all honesty as part of a reading challenge that I am doing. It happened to be the "next on the list". I dug into it. I savored the first 20 chapters or so, laughing at the auspicious and commical encounter between Ishmael and Queequeg (yes, I had my suspicion of some homosexual innuendo but took the story at its face value, two male strangers share a bed together and become best friends...hey it could happen right?) I followed their friendship up to the point where they enlist in the Pequod and from there all hell broke loose. Holy shit!

Chapter 24 The advocate: Ok, history of whaling, mmm, I gues I could LEARN something from this chapter

Chaper 28 Ahab: Good so far. Nice description of the capt'n. I haven't fallen as...(yawn)leep so far. Ahab did what? He scolded Stubb and the mate went and had a dream about being kicked by capt'n Ahab and a humped Merman told him that was supposed to be a great priviledge? mmm (suspicious face here)

Chapter 32 Cetology: Wait, what??? What happened to our good friend Ahab, Ishmael, Queequeg, and for fuck's sake even the Merman disapperared. "No branch of Zoology is much involved as.." (skip)...."In one respect this is the most venerable of the Leviathan" (yawn, skip)..."DUODECIMOES.-These include the smaller whales" wtf! I hate this chapter. If I wanted to learn about cetology I would've search it in wikipedia. Ok I'm cheating but skipping ONE chapter is not that bad, is it?

Chapter34 The Cabin-Tale: What the heck?. Do you need to invoke Belshazzar, King of Babylon to tell us the Ahab had supper with his mates who were deathly afraid of him to the point that did not make any sounds when eating. At least the "savages" didn't give a shit and ate to their heart's content.

Chapter 37 Sunset: yawn!
Chater 38 Dusk: More yawn!
Chapter 40: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..... what was that? Oh, sailors signing... going back to sleep

Chapter 41: Hey, finally some good on point description of Moby Dick. Well, not so fast, I had to read and reread and reread certain passages (Yes I am a slow reader or could it be that his writing is so God-awful boring?)

Chapter 42 The whiteness of the whale: Seriously? What is this, a history of the color white? C'mon Mr. Melville was this chapter even necessary. Hey what the hell do I know, he wrote a classic, I'm just trying to decipher it.

And so my friends between yawns, skips and ocassional discoveries of good gems I find myself on page 211. They have just seen a shoal of whales and are getting ready to go to battle.

Wish me luck.

Alison Beard It took me a month to finish, and I credit that speed to paying $0.99 to Audible -- made it easier to read along with the free Kindle version and stay committed. It was narrated by Frank Muller, who has a great voice, and therefore, was a good companion for my most epic reading voyage, to date. Had to pause several times to look up a word, but that is the case for most books. The whale and vessel and whaling trade detail were far easier to read when I saw them as the metaphor for life that each represents, in my interpretation. Melville was a genius!
Clarke Owens 4 days. Couldn't put it down.
Tom Looks like I'll have it done in about six days.
Peter Cohen It took me a long time. Months. I stopped reading it for a while and came back to it.
Gabrielle What the fuck, Herman? As a biologist I thrill to Melville's interest in the details of the sperm whale, and the fact that he understood biology so well. Nonetheless, what was he thinking? Five or seven (I lost count) chapters just about the head of the sperm whale? I got the impression he was trying to set himself up as a scientific expert on cetology. But to what end? To prove he was just as smart as Louis Agassiz?
Of course, many of the cetology/oceanography chapters include very interesting and avant-garde philosophizing. But do they really need to be so many and so long?
Meanwhile, I was initially pulled into this novel (which I'd resisted reading for lo, 50 years or more) based on the beautiful, insightful, and addictive initial chapters on Ishmael's interactions with Queequeg. I was hoping the novel would go on to be a bromance, with the devil Ahab as a psychological counterpoint to the essentially kind natures of Ishmael and Queequeg. But no! No sooner do we go out to sea than the novel turns into meditative romance between Ishmael and whales, in the form of a highly poetic but not fully informed scientific textbook, with plot and human interest tossed aside for endless chapters in favor of self-indulgent speculation and obsessing over the nature of the sperm whale.
In the end, it is Melville's obsession with the sperm whale that is the mystery -- not Ahab's obsession (in Ahab's case -- damn! A freaking whale chomped my leg off! I'm pissed!) And the mystery of Melville's obsession with the whale is never solved.
Is that what he means, in the end? That we get obsessed with certain things for no reason? That his obsession was not that different than Ahab's?
Damn you, Herman! I've dragged myself through 350 pages of this book, and will drag myself through another 150 just to say that I finished it, and I suspect I will still be left thinking "WTF?"
Or is THAT Melville's final message? His appraisal of the universe? Just, "WTF?"
Jon Nguyen At least a month!
Sam Kuntz It took us about three months to read it. I enjoyed every second of it.
Ron Peters I've seen a number of remarks here about difficult language. An incredibly useful tool for making your way through the nautical, cetological, and biblical references is "Power Moby-Dick, the Online Annotation:"
Jeff It took me almost a full month to read.
Tova 216 days. Yes, that is almost 8 months.
Aikya 2 months. I read in the weekends and on my way to work, which takes about 45 minutes in each journey.

It just did not seem to finish. It seemed my journey through this book was longer than that of Pequod's journey to hunt the white whale.

But I confess that although I have studied in an English medium school, English is not my first language and I do not know any terms related to fishing, let alone Whaling.
eden I pretty much read it over a weekend.
Ertl It tooks me 20 days to finish because of daily life. I agree that there is lots of details about whales and also sailing. But still I found engrossingç
Klemans Des Took me 40 days. I loved it from the first word but it's true that it's not an easy book to read. But then I read it in english and english not my mother tongue, so I had to spent one evening just figuring out all the different whales and basic sailing terms!
Gita Madhu I took some five months, reading for a maximum of half an hour at a stretch.
Eric Cutler About 6 weeks, based on my Goodreads account.
Patricia It took me six months! I read 1% at a time, and sometimes went days without reading it. I did read other books during that time though.
Caleb Three weeks, though I read another novel in the second week because I needed a break. So kind of two weeks?
Embly It took me about 4 months, I enjoyed it but couldn’t read more than a few pages at a time. About 12 pages was good, sometimes more sometimes less.
Longest book in terms of time I’ve ever read.
Nickita Potapov Started reading it in December 2020. Was hooked at the beginning, but the story started to drag at the middle. Sometimes I had to force myself to read through certain chapters. But once I passed through narrator's lectures and ultimately reached the end, I noticed how easily I was able to sort out the chapters by category and organize the entire story into several acts - like a Shakespearian play. In the end, I was able to appreciate Moby Dick. The novel, not the whale.

Was it difficult to read? Yes.
Was it worth it? Definitely yes.
Would I recommend it? Well, not to an unprepared reader, at least.
Beth A little over a month.....was reading for Bookopoly 2021.
Ricardo Flores It is a long book. It took me 19 hours. Also, I was surprised to read a book called "Moby Dick" and find out that Moby Dick only appears until the end, and just in 20 pages. It might as well have been called "Whale Hunters". I felt it could almost be a non fiction work... it was a pretty instructive journey.
AZ BOOKS I started May 25, 2020 and finished June 18, 2020. Sheltering in place has given me a lot of time to enjoy the incredible writing. A piece of Americana life circa 1850's.
Jon Nine Took me about a month!
Frank Z. good luck. I am reading it for the first time. I can say this, it is not a fast read.
Kimberly Molter I FINALLY finished this book! I really enjoyed parts of it and have written down a couple of cool quotes to save, but man, it is a LOOOOOONG book and took me far longer than I imagined. Persistence wins! I try to read one "classic" a year but this one has taken maybe 3 years, fits and starts and all.
Eric I read this over about a week or two while on vacation. With nothing to do but read in the sun all day. I admit it was an intensive read, and at times, I felt the strain, but the novel was engaging enough to keep me going.
Bruce Stern I believe I spent a month reading it. Had learned before starting that a reading might want to read it several pages or the like at a time. I committed to 10 pages or thereabouts, and read that amount 2-3 times a day.
Katy Lohman It took me a couple of months, because I kept wearing down and running off to other books that were more enjoyable. But about 3/4th through, I grew interested and finished it in a week of concentrated reading.
Vigneswara Prabhu I Listen to 2-3 chapters a day, One hour's worth during the Commute. Its been 2 months and barely halfway through. Doesn't help that At time I have to go back and Review some chapters as I have no Idea where the current Tangent of the Prose is leading to.
Eric I am on board with what you are saying. He gets really technical about whaling and then jump back to the characters activity on the boat a lot. I think just that in itself makes it tough to get into a groove with this book and keep reading. This book is taking me longer than anything else I've read lately -- I'm about half through and I am hoping to finish it within two weeks. If not I might just go find me some ship in Nantucket and find the white whale myself.
Ann Cell Two months and six days. I had not read it before. I also followed each chapter NOT about the main story by reading the Sparknotes to make sure I hadn’t missed anything essential. I read five other books on the side in the meantime.
Abraham Ortega It seems like forever. I like Mr Corrales idea of writing down the start dates. It is just the language and not knowing some terms. I can’t help but look them up. I’m hoping I’ll get to enjoy it soon. I don’t just want to be able to say I read it. I want to enjoy reading it.
Jaime Olmos
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Rich Uncle Pennybags It took me two weeks and three days, according to Goodreads.
Warren Hall I planned on reading the book within a weekend. Then, the weekend past. It took me about 5 days.
James Goodrum I chose to read this in middle school (7th grade) for an "Accelerated Reader" test I needed to take. I had about three weeks to read it and decided that I wasn't going to stick to my plan. Needless to say the night before the test I had 300 pages left and ended up reading all through the night. I got a 75% on the test. Funny thing is I actually picked up this book read about half of it when I was in the 2nd grade and it is the book that got me landed in the "Gifted and Talented" program we had. So in a way I guess you can say 5 years.
Luan I have to force myself with books like this, otherwise it never ends. It's a challenge but still enjoyable; so, I made sure to read at least 30 pages a day even if I didn't feel like it, in the end it took me a little over 2 weeks.
Tsega Tsehaye I have started reading Moby Dick about 2 month ago and i am still at page 97
Yannick Ruhnau took me like 6 months to read. At times it gets a bit technical and hard to read. But it was worth it. An ocean of a book
Jalever I had read it from January 2017 and now it's June 2017 but still haven't read it over.LMAO
Anshuk Attri 1 month and still going (100 or so pages left). Nice to know other people found it difficult, as well. I am not very fimiliar with nautical lingo, so I have to lookup meaning of so many words.
Ryan 3 months, but with a month-and-a-half long break in the middle.
Maggie 5 days but I had the advantage of being sick and stuck in bed for part of that so I didn't have other distractions and could just focus on it.
Susan Wolfe It took me about three weeks, and that included following my husband around and telling him about the amazing things that were happening. (Poor guy, he tolerates this.)
Peter It took me two months, but I had only half my normal reading time. I always finish what I start, though this book has made me revise that policy. SO not worth the pain.
Ben Malloy 24 days. Read a little bit everyday.
Kelly Perry I read it for a few months, got about 3/4 of the way through it and had to stop. I just couldn't do it. Try as I might, this book just didn't hold my attention. I know its a classic - but I kept waiting for something exciting to happen that never did. When I stopped reading, they hadn't even boarded the ship yet!
Belle Welsh I read it with school so it took about a month to read but we just finished discussing it
Caitlin About six days.
NomDePlume I read it in two days, and the only chapter I had to absolutely re-read was chapter 54.
Meredith Johnson 35 very long days. :)
SSC Thank goodness for long haul flights. It is a challenge to read a few pages here and there or in the evening, so reading in bulk time worked for me.
Esther Barrera Over a month, but it was worth finishing it.
Chelsia It took me almost 2 months to finish it.
Thomas Flowers I have started the book on 22nd of May (this year!) and now the last 30 pages are lying ahead of me. I agree: it is a hard piece of literature. If for thee as a native speaker than how much more for me as I was born and raised in Germany. Yes, English is a foreign language for me and even more the language Melville uses. But what a language he uses! Like shoals of whales his words glide through the sometimes roaring, sometimes placid waves of thoughts, occurrences and descriptions. Oh, what a language it is when it spurts these similes and allusions. When it warns and when it enlightens. When in spite of all the words and phrases you suddenly realize who and what the white whale is.
Naomi I believe it took me 3 or 4 weeks to read
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