English Department organizes overnight ‘Moby-Dick’ readathon

Lauren Sonnenberg

The English Department will host a nearly 24-hour “read-a-thon” of “Moby-Dick” on April 26-27 in Mudd Library. Students, faculty and parents are invited to attend the school’s first ever marathon-read.

Students participating in the event will not be allowed to leave between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. in order to ensure safety and security of students. Adults and faculty, however, will be allowed to leave as they please.

The reading will be recorded to create an audio book.

Students in Charles Berezin and Malina Mamigonian’s English III Honors classes each volunteered to read one of the 135 chapters in the book. Both teachers held sign-ups using a Google docs, asking students to volunteer to read and bring dinner and dessert.

Mamigonian said she has wanted to host an event like this since she arrived at Harvard-Westlake seven years ago, but the inclusion of “Moby-Dick” in both her and Berezin’s curriculum helped Mamigonian get the permission of Head of Upper School Audrius Barzdukas a few months ago.

“At first I was a little worried about reading the same book for so many hours, but I think it will be a good way for us to understand it a little more,” Kelly Crosson ’14 said.

Parents of students have volunteered to bring food and “midnight snacks” and Starbucks Coffee is providing coffee for those students staying through the night.

“The objective is to create a shared, active experience for the whole community, not just English classes, ” Mamigonian said. “Everyone has read or will (or should) read “Moby-Dick” at some point.”

Alex Ravan ’13 designed T-shirts with a quote from “Moby-Dick,” which will be sold on campus to raise money for the Marine Mammal Center of Los Angeles.

The marathon-read is among other “Moby-Dick” related activities this year. Mamigonian, Berezin and Head Librarian Shannon Acedo accompanied 27 students on a whale-watching trip in San Diego on March 21.

Participants boarded a replica of the 1851 “America” to simulate an experience similar to the one they read about in the book.