SBCC Reads 2012: Moby-Duck

About this guide:

In collaboration with UCSB Reads 2012, Santa Barbara City College’s Luria Library will be hosting a number of events and activities to explore the issues raised as we read Moby Duck together. This guide provides information about the book, local events, and ways you can get involved. We hope you’ll join the conversation!

Purposes of SBCC Reads 2012 are to:

  • Explore interdisciplinary issues sparked by the selected book through conversations, readings, displays, and other activities. Free copies of the book will distributed to interested students; faculty members are encouraged to use the book in class curricula.
  • Generate informed discussion of key issues by promoting the reading and discussion of books on the broad theme of human impact on environment, consumption, and waste, particularly in the ocean.
  • Focus on academic disciplines at SBCC which provide us with a broader understanding of the issues raised in the book.
  • Create further campus appreciation of the library and the role it plays in education and research.
  • Encourage the exchange of ideas with members of U.C. Santa Barbara, Westmont College, Antioch University, and Santa Barbara community members.

Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them by Donovan Hohn:

    A revelatory tale of science, adventure, and modern myth. When the writer Donovan Hohn heard of the mysterious loss of thousands of bath toys at sea, he figured he would interview a few oceanographers, talk to a few beachcombers, and read up on Arctic science and geography. But questions can be like ocean currents: wade in too far, and they carry you away. Hohn’s accidental odyssey pulls him into the secretive world of shipping conglomerates, the daring work of Arctic researchers, the lunatic risks of maverick sailors, and the shadowy world of Chinese toy factories. Moby-Duck is a journey into the heart of the sea and an adventure through science, myth, the global economy, and some of the worst weather imaginable. With each new discovery, Hohn learns of another loose thread, and with each successive chase, he comes closer to understanding where his castaway quarry comes from and where it goes. In the grand tradition of Tony Horwitz and David Quammen, Moby-Duck is a compulsively readable narrative of whimsy and curiosity.

Donovan Hohn is the recipient of the Whiting Writers’ Award, a 2010 NEA Creative Writing Fellowship, Hopwood Awards in essay and poetry, and a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Ocean Science Journalism Fellowship. His work has appeared in Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Outside, and The Best Creative Nonfiction, Vol. 2. A former English teacher, and a former senior editor of Harper’s, he is now the features editor of GQ. He lives in New York with his wife and sons. Moby-Duck is his first book.

Read more about the book and the author.
Read an excerpt from the book.
Read the author’s blog.

The Luria Library will distribute over 100 free copies of the book to students January 30th and we are hoping that when students finish reading the book, they will redistribute their copy to another reader! There will be a collection basket in the library for this purpose.

SBCC Reads 2012 Activities:

planning still in progress!

  • January 30: The Luria Library will distribute free copies of the book to interested students.
  • Book club, with student-led discussions, starts on Thursday, February 9th.
  • February 15th: Panel discussion in the library 3-5p.m. on plastics and other ocean debris, Santa Barbara Channel and sustainable consumption. Guest speakers will include: Geordie Armstrong, Geography Instructor, SBCC; Kathi Brennan King, Community Environmental Council and Rethink the Drink program manager Rise Above Plastics Coordinator; Dr. Andrea Neal, President of Blue Oceans Sciences
  • February 27th 5:30pm, Friday March 2nd at 2pm, and 3:15pm : SBCC Student Sustainability Coalition-sponsored Screening of the movie BAG IT! which shows how “plastic bags evolved into a wholesale investigation into plastics and their effect on our waterways, oceans, and even our bodies.” BAG IT! trailer

    Bag It Intro from Suzan Beraza on Vimeo.

  • March 5th: The author, Donovan Hohn, will speak at UCSB. The lecture will be held in Campbell Hall.
  • TENTATIVE March 14 3pm : “Teach In”: demonstrations by SBCC students on the science behind the issues in the book and display by Blue Ocean and Ocean Communication Through Art (OCTA), a project to help communicate what we see in our world’s oceans with a visual medium.
  • March 11 9am Leadbetter Beach: Service learning opportunity — Local beach clean up the SBCC MDT students [underwater!] and with Beach Angels.

Service Learning and Community Service: Clean our Beach

  • Beach clean up in tandem with Beach Angels and underwater clean-up by MDT students on the wharf March 11.

Community Events:

  • The author, Donovan Hohn, will speak at UCSB on Monday, March 5th. The lecture will be held in Campbell Hall.
  • Check the UCSB Reads 2012 Events Page for a complete schedule of events for the UCSB Reads program.
  • Check for activities and community conversations sponsored by the Santa Barbara Public Library on their events page.

Reading List

Check out these books in the Luria Library collection: