In the 19th century the whaling industry helped make Provincetown one of the richest towns in Massachusetts. This maritime history is the inspiration for an upcoming three-day marathon-style reading of Herman Melville’s 1851 novel “Moby-Dick.”
More than 120 participants will take turns reading the novel aloud over a total of 24 hours beginning April 22 from 2 to 8 p.m. at the Provincetown Public Library. The reading continues 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. April 23, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 24. New Bedford, New York City, and Mystic, Conn., each hold annual readings celebrating Melville’s masterpiece, and Provincetown library director Matt Clark hopes this celebration will become an annual event as well.
Provincetown’s marathon will capitalize on the fact that several chapters of Melville’s novel are written in the form of brief play scripts. Actor and director Stuard M. Derrick, who directed the library’s Eugene O’Neill centennial reading series, has selected actors to portray the crew of the Pequod for these dramatized readings.
In association with the “Moby-Dick” marathon, the Berta Walker Gallery in Provincetown will host an exhibition of art celebrating the pain and pleasures of making a living from the sea. The exhibit will include paintings, photographs, sculptures, and folk art as well as Aleut and African carvings. The artists include Hans Hofmann, Blanche Lazzell, and Nancy Whorf. The opening reception is from 6 to 9 p.m. April 22.
Cambridge Science Fest
A bevy of literary stars will align on April 20, almost smack dab in the middle of the 10-day Cambridge Science Festival. Two events at the annual event and one other in Boston that evening feature authors and/or storytellers.
M.T. Anderson may be best known for his historical fiction, but he writes science fiction as well. In his young-adult satirical novel “Feed” (Candlewick) people connect to the Internet via feeds implanted in their brains, and corporations dominate the stream of information. When Titus takes a trip to the moon, he meets a girl who thinks for herself. Anderson will be joined by fellow science-fiction writers Gary Braver, who writes technology-driven thrillers, and Jeffrey A. Carver, creator of the Star Rigger Universe series of novels, for a festival panel discussion from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Cambridge Public Library.
Geobiologist Hope Jahren will read from and discuss her new memoir “Lab Girl” (Knopf) from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at WorkBar Cambridge, 45 Prospect St. Jahren writes about making a career in science and offers eloquent lessons about the biology of plants and trees and the difficult survival odds they face.
At the Museum of Science’s planetarium, science journalist Ari Daniel will host “Stories Under the Stars,” which will incorporate live storytelling, music, and radio. The theme is “Light in the Dark,” personal sagas inspired by science. The 7:30 show is sold out. Tickets, $12, are available for the 9 p.m. show.
■ “My Mrs. Brown” by William Norwich (Simon and Schuster)
■ “Mon Amie Américaine” by Michèle Halberstadt, translated from the French by Bruce Benderson (Other)
■ “One Wild Bird at a Time: Portraits of Individual Lives” by Bernd Heinrich (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Pick of the week
Tova Beiser of Brown University Bookstore in Providence recommends “Behave” by Andromeda Romano-Lax (Soho): “This novel offers a rich and nuanced glimpse of Rosalie Rayner, the woman behind John B. Watson, the man who founded the psychological theory of behaviorism. The ethical issues presented here are both shocking and thought-provoking; and the intimate struggles of a woman weighing her value, utility, and satisfaction both within and outside the home certainly resonate today.”
Jan Gardner can be reached at JanLGardner@yahoo.com.