"Call me Ishmael."
Reading the first three -- and most famous -- words in Herman Melville's classic "Moby Dick" takes about two seconds. But reading the rest of the more than 200,000 words in the novel takes roughly 25 hours, as shown by the 160 people who read it aloud from beginning to end this weekend at various locations throughout Sag Harbor.
"Some things can be read silently and appreciated, but 'Moby Dick' has such wonderful language," said Canio Pavone, who is founder and past owner of Canio's Books, which organized the reading.
The marathon reading returned with great success to Canio's Books, an independent bookstore in Sag Harbor, after a more than decades-long hiatus, Pavone said.
"We had everyone from very young people, to not-so-young people, to the elderly," he said. "So there was really a nice mix."
This year's reading was organized by current store owners Maryann Calendrille, and Kathryn Szoka, but they were once a regular event after Pavone held the first reading in 1983.
He said this year's readers were a mix of people who had signed up beforehand and some customers who had just walked in off the street. After the last words had been read, everyone walked across the street to a customer's house for a party on the lawn.
"It was a wonderful weekend," Pavone said.