Moby-Dick Project


List compiled by Laurel Bradshaw 2013

Why Read Moby-Dick? / by Nathaniel Philbrick. (2011)
A slim and very readable summation of what makes Moby-Dick great.

Moby-Dick; or, The Whale / Herman Melville. (1851) 

Various editions and adaptations:
Moby-Dick: In half the time (2007) – originally published by Orion Books, Ltd. – all the action and none of the metaphysics

Herman Melville’s ; or The Whale / edited by Damion Searls (2009) – everything that the Orion ed. omitted

Moby-Dick in pictures: one drawing for every page / Matt Kish (2011) – can also be seen at
Online text with annotations:

1956 movie with Gregory Peck. (Screen play by Ray Bradbury)
1998 television movie with Patrick Stewart.
2011 television miniseries with William Hurt.

Dive Deeper: Journeys with Moby-Dick / George Cotkin. (2012)
Explores the cultural impact of Moby-Dick through literature, music, art, etc.

In the Heart of the Sea: The tragedy of the whaleship Essex / Nathaniel Philbrick. (2000)
The true story that inspired Melville’s Moby-Dick.

King Lear / William Shakespeare.
Hamlet / William Shakespeare.

Nathaniel Hawthorne…
Hawthorne’s influence is credited as the prime catalyst behind Melville’s decision to transform what originally seems to have been a light-hearted whaling adventure into the dramatic masterpiece that is arguably the greatest American novel of all time.

Miriam Coffin, or, The Whale-Fisherman / Joseph Hart. (1835)
This was the first novel to deal with whaling in Nantucket. Hart’s work was the most important fictional influence on Melville’s novel, though Melville was also highly critical of Hart. (By the way, Hart is now best known as the first person to assert in print that William Shakespeare was not the true author of the plays published under his name.)

The Naked and the Dead / Norman Mailer. (1948)

Peter Pan / James Barrie. (1904)
A pirate obsessed with hunting the crocodile that ate his arm…

The Great American Novel / Philip Roth. (1973)
“Call me Smitty,” he begins his narrative, and we soon see that not only Melville but various other great American novelists– Hawthorne, Twain, Hemingway and Company–are presences in his way of telling his tale.

Blood Meridian / Cormac McCarthy. (1985)

Cat’s Cradle / Kurt Vonnegut. (1963)
“Call me Jonah.”

Catcher in the Rye / J.D. Salinger. (1951)

The Passages of H. M. / Jay Parini. (2010)
A stirring novel about the adventurous life and tragic literary career of Herman Melville.

The Secret of Lost Things / Sheridan Hay. (2006)
A literary adventure centered around a lost manuscript by Herman Melville.

The Nautical Chart / Arturo Perez-Reverte. (English translation 2001)

Ahab’s Wife: Or, the Star-gazer / Sena Jeter Naslund. (1999)
A breathtaking, magnificent, and uplifting story of one woman’s spiritual journey, informed by the spirit of the greatest American novel, but taking it beyond tragedy to redemptive triumph.

Ahab’s Bride (Book One of Ahab’s Legacy) / Louise M. Gouge. (2004)
“Christian” fiction. This first volume is about their love and marriage and Ahab’s obsession and death. Followed by Hannah Rose and Son of Perdition.

The Art of Fielding / Chad Harbach. (2011)
A book about baseball, Melville, and obsession.

Tigers in Red Weather / Liza Klaussmann. (2012)
Debut novel written by Melville’s great-great-great-granddaughter.

Genoa: A Telling of Wonders / Paul Metcalf. (1965)
Great grandson of Herman Melville. This novel is his accounting with the Melville family legacy.

Call Me Ahab: a short story collection / Anne Finger. (2009)
Includes the story of “Moby Dick, or The Leg” told from Ahab’s perspective.

The Snow Whale / John Minichillo. (2011)
A hilarious retelling of Moby-Dick with a modern twist.

Railsea / China Mieville. (2012)
A brilliantly imagined sci-fi take on Moby-Dick, hunting a giant white mole across the railways.

The Handsome Sailor / Larry Duberstein. (1998)
A fictional recreation of Melville’s life after Moby-Dick.

The Night Inspector / Frederick Busch. (2000)
A maimed Civil War veteran returns to New York City and befriends a deputy inspector of customs named Herman Melville who, largely forgotten as a writer, is condemned to live in the wake of his vanished literary success and in the turmoil of his fractured family.

Green Shadows, White Whale / Ray Bradbury. (1992)
In Ireland to write a screenplay for an epic film adaptation of Moby Dick, an inexperienced screenwriter must confront both a mythical beast and a great director while he discovers the secrets of the Irish. (autobiographical)

Lucchesi and the Whale / Frank Lentricchia. (2000)
In a fragmentary fictional structure, Lentricchia waxes philosophical about language, the act of writing, and Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick…

Two Guys Read Moby-Dick / Terrence Hill & Steve Chandler. (2006)

The Whale: In search of the giants of the sea / Philip Hoare. (2010)

Grayson / Lynne Cox. (2006)

Summer of Roses / Luanne Rice. (2006)

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters / by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters. (2009)

The Adventures of Pinocchio / Carlo Collodi. (1881)

Jaws / Peter Benchley. (1974)

The Whale Rider / Witi Ihimaera. (2003?)
A young Maori girl discovers she has the mythic gift of communicating with whales. Best known as the hit indie movie, winner of the Audience Award in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. (CCL does own the DVD.)

Murder On the Rocks / Karen MacInerney. (2006)
Book 1 of the Gray Whale Inn mystery series. Agatha Award nominee. No, there are no actual whales here, but I like a good cozy mystery series, and this caught my eye as a free Nook selection.

Moby-Duck: The true story of 28,800 bath toys lost at sea and of the beachcombers, oceanographers, environmentalists, and fools, including the author, who went in search of them / Donovan Hohn. (2011)

The Perfect Storm: a true story of men against the sea / Sebastian Junger. (1997)

The Sea / John Banville. (2005)

The Watery Part of the World / Michael Parker. (2011)

Cathedral of the Sea / Ildefonso Falcones. (English translation 2008)
Not really about the sea at all, but the title caught my eye, and I love medieval historical fiction, so I included it.

We, the Drowned / Carsten Jensen. (English translation 2010)

STORIES ABOUT WHALERS AND WHALING: (See also other works by Herman Melville.)
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket / Edgar Allen Poe. (1838)
Poe’s only completed novel, about a boy who stows aboard a whaling ship.

The Solitude of Thomas Cave / Georgina Harding. (2007)
Whaler Thomas Cave bets the rest of his crew that he can spend a winter alone on an island in the Arctic.

The Widow’s War / Sally Gunning. (2007)
A whaler’s wife decides to challenge both law and custom for control of her own destiny.

The Boundless Deep / Kate Brallier. (2008)
Paranormal thriller. Grad student Liza is plagued by dreams about whaling. In a single summer, Liza must answer the riddle of her dreams, reunite lovers separated by death, solve a hundred-year-old murder . . . and figure out her heart’s desire.

The Sea-God at Sunrise / G.L. Tysk. (2012)
A tale of friendship and forgiveness across two cultures at the height of America’s Golden Age of Whaling.

The Movement of Stars / Amy Brill. (2013)
A love story set in 1845 Nantucket, between a female astronomer and the unusual man who understands her dreams.

Nantucket Nights / Elin Hilderbrand. (2002) (See also other books by Elin Hilderbrand.)
The ties between women can run as deep as the ocean—but so can the secrets.

Island Girls / Nancy Thayer. (2013) (See also other books by Nancy Thayer.)
A highly emotional, wholly entertaining tale of three sisters forced to confront the past over one event-filled summer on the island.

The Prince of Nantucket / Jan Goldstein. (2007)
The heartwarming story of a man primed to go far in life, who first must find his way home.

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle / Avi. (2012)
A Newbury Honor Book. Charlotte finds herself the lone passenger on a long sea voyage with a cruel captain and a mutinous crew.

Mistress of the Sea / Jenny Barden. (2012)
Romantic adventure set in Plymouth, 1570. A young woman stows away on Francis Drake’s expedition to the New World.

Sinners and the Sea: the untold story of Noah’s wife / Rebecca Kanner. (2013)

Casting off / Nicole Dickson. (2009)
A woman trying to escape a painful past, travels to a small island off the Irish coast to research the sweaters made by the fishermen’s wives.

Written in My Own Heart’s Blood / Diana Gabaldon. (To be published Dec. 2013?)
Affectionately abbreviated as MOBY in various online Gabaldon discussion groups and forums.

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