Moby Dick by Herman Melville

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This week’s Thinking in English book of the week is Moby Dick by Herman Melville. The book is also available as a graded reader (a book designed to help English learners practice and develop reading skills.

Moby Dick is a class piece of American fiction from the middle of the 19th century. Although it wasn’t particular popular at the time it was written, Moby Dick as become a well loved and internationally famous story over the past 100 years.

Moby Dick is written from the perspective of Ishmael, a sailor on whaling ship. It is Ishmael’s narrative of the ship’s captain, Ahab, and his quest for revenge on Moby Dick. Moby Dick was a great white whale that had bit Captain Ahab’s leg off years earlier.

Ahab’s sole goal is to find and kill the white whale – even if he sacrifices his ship and his crew to do so!

Moby Dick is also available as a level 7 graded reader! This is B2 in the CEFR framework and contains sentences with up to four clauses. The grammar introduced includes future perfect simple, mixed conditionals, past perfect continuous, modals for deduction in the past, and complex passive forms!

If this is too easy for you, why not try the original native English version?


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Are you going to read the book? What books do you recommend for English learners? Let us know in the comments!

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By Tom Wilkinson

Host and founder of Thinking in English, Tom is committed to providing quality and interesting content to all English learners. Previously a research student at a top Japanese university and with a background in English teaching, political research, and Asian languages, Tom is now working fulltime on bettering Thinking in English!

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