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The Moby-Dick marathon reading survival guide

Written by
Tiffany Gibert

Three days, 24 hours of free readings. That’s a lot of whale. The Moby-Dick Marathon NYC begins on Fri, Nov 14, and runs through Sun, Nov 16, at the Ace Hotel, the South Street Seaport Museum and Housing Works Bookstore Cafe. Here are a few tips so you can make the most of the biennial reading. 

  • Plan ahead: Each reader has only about 10 minutes to step into the roles of Ishmael, Ahab and Queequeg, so be sure to check the lineup on, and take notes! A few names not to miss (note, the times are a bit variable):

- Writer and journalist Touré, Sun around 11am
- Girls star Alex Karpovsky, Fri around 8pm
- Poet Eileen Myles, Fri around 6pm
- Comedian Dave Hill, Fri around 7pm
- Plus a bunch of authors who recently wrote some of the best new fiction in NYC for us: Sasha Fletcher (Fri, 9pm), Alexander Chee (Sun, 10am) and Marie-Helene Bertino (Fri, 10pm)

BuzzFeed's Issac Fitzgerald and journalist Touré. Photo: Joshua Simpson.

  • Don't miss the music: It’s not all harpoons and cetology! On Friday evening, author Rakesh Satyal trades in his pen for his pipes and sings the hymn “The Ribs and Terrors in the Whale.” Midday Saturday, Amy Virginia Buchanan (one of the brains behind the secret club Spring Street Social Society) transforms chapters 37 to 40 into a dramatic performance; at 2012’s marathon, that included dudes in bathing suits. Just sayin’.

  • Take breaks: Don’t be as obsessive as Ahab: It’s okay to step away from the festivities for a bit. Luckily, all three reading venues offer some great nearby food-and-drink options. On Friday 14, the Breslin Bar & Dining Room will provide tasty seasonal beverages and snacks for purchase; ditto on Sunday 16 at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe (get the pumpkin nut bread—trust us). On Saturday 15, while the marathon speeds on at the South Street Seaport Museum, take a hiatus from the hunt at the neighborhood music, food and art festival Out to See.

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