I just finished Moby-Dick, and I'm glad. It's not that I didn't enjoy it; I did. It's just that it's taken sooo long. If the narrative were to be separated out from the essays, treatises and encyclopedic entries on the myriad subjects that make up whaling in the 1800s, this book would be 100 pages long, tops!
Ishmael is a lot like me I think. He's not really a whaler--or even a sailor, really--but took the job because he needed the work, had the time, and maybe most importantly, was interested in this Nantucket whaling business. The ins and outs of it enthrall him. The very detail of it, critical, he believes, to a full comprehension of the story of Ahab, and his struggle with the whale. And I think it's the whale's representation of all the difficult things in life, in very nature, that Ahab 'spits his last breath' at.
The story, woven in among the whaling lessons, like old ropes wound up with seaweed on the beach, is a powerful one. Once you dig it out. And one that I recommend reading, but only if you've got more time to read than I have.
The time that I have to read is typically about 20 minutes or so at breakfast. But that changes depending on the book I read. A fast paced book will have me stealing time at night after dinner and before I go to bed. Moby-Dick was not one of those books.
So what's next for me? The three books I have on deck (see the list at the right) will have to wait. I'm going to read a fun, and hopefully fast, book called The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry.