i've had to put down moby dick. i put off reading the copy i bought for 20 years. made a fist of it and just read 61 chapters - over half of it.
however i'm totally sickened by the slaughter of whales it describes. yes - it is within the context of an earlier age when hunting whale was incredibly dangerous for men - but even so it disgusts me. melville is entirely wrapped up in the perceived excitement, honour and majesty of the activity.
it's a thoroughly disgraceful bit of writing that deserves none of the respect (oh sacred american tome) accorded to it.