Long ago, in some long-forgotten university course, I was assigned Moby Dick, and somehow passed the class without reading it, yet somehow misremembered, as memories of that class grew dimmer and dimmer, having somehow gleaned its contents. Many times such pleasant self-deceits go with us to our graves, without a hint of their falseness.
Recently, I published my book Anahuac on Audible. Audio books were a mystery to me before that experience, and so I felt like I should join Audible. After I downloaded Anahuac into my audio library, I had an opportunity to purchase another book. Audible suggested Moby Dick. Actually, it was on sale and I got two books for my one monthly credit. The first thing I discovered on my quest for the great whale was that I’d never actually read the book. Quickly, I understood that if I’d actually opened the book as an undergraduate, or at any time, I would have never finished it.
But Audible saved the day.
The audio book was 24 hours long. Some of it is so dense with technical information about whales and such that I would have stopped reading had it been a physical book. But I labored on, listening in my car, while I did paper work, or sometimes even with the television on and muted. (I am an inveterate multi-tasker.) At its conclusion, I’m only left wondering what my answer should be to the question: “Have you ever read Moby Dick?” I’ve heard it, and given that I’ve retained the plot and developed a newfound appreciation for the prose and even poetry-within-prose Melville is able to craft, I’d go as far to say that I have indeed read it.
Many of my friends and I are of a certain age that we well remember radio drama. Most audio books are not exactly like radio, but do come with the some of the advantages. An audio book can make a long car or airplane ride go faster. You can wash dishes and listen. The list is endless.
Moby Dick is obviously not a quick listen. Many audio books, as it turns out, demand less time than Melville asks of you. Anahuac, for instance, clocks in at a fraction of what Moby Dick demands, in just over nine hours. My story doesn’t have whales or Captain Ahab or a motley crew on a boat, but it does take you back to 1972, has a preacher in a sharkskin suit, an ambitious young lawyer, three women who fight valiantly (each in their own distinct way) to control their dreams, and a motley crew who camps in a public park awaiting the verdict in a murder case. If you’ve ever wanted to try an audio book, you might give Anahuac a try.