Readers of PWHNY know that Bryan and I have a thing for Melville’s Moby-Dick. And apparently we’re not alone.

Today is the first day of the “Moby-Dick Big Read,” sponsored by Plymouth University in the UK in conjunction with the Plymouth International Book Festival. According to the website, the project “grew out of the Peninsula Arts Whale Festival (2011) and was conceived and curated by Philip Hoare (winner of the 2009 Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction for Leviathan or, the Whale) and the acclaimed artist, Angela Cockayne, whose exhibition, Dominon, also held at Peninsula Arts in 2011, provided vital inspiration.”

Starting today, the site will feature a chapter of Melville’s novel recorded by some well-known as well as not-so-well-known readers. I’m not sure what it means that a bunch of Brits are reading what the site calls “the Great Amertican Novel,” but it sure was fun to hear “Loomings” read Tilda Swinton, with her oh-so-plummmy English accent. Enjoy it below. We’ll embed each day’s chapter here on PWHNY, and you can also subscribe to the series as a podcast on iTunes.

Visit the site itself to see the piece of artwork chosen to accompany the day’s chapter.

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