In 2015, like in 2009, I am reading 12 classics I have never read before. The first book, Moby-Dick, is almost out of the way. I am on page 430 of 624.
There are quite a few things I did not know about Moby-Dick, but two of them stand out. One, the length. I was thinking of 400 pages max. When I had seen the book on shelves it never looked quite this long. There are lots of words on each page. It takes a while to just read two full pages, especially when there are two paragraphs on each of those pages. The text is consistently all the way to the margins. I know, I sound like a middle-schooler after being presented with his first giant book with no pictures at all and small print.
And two, I was unaware of all the diversions Melville takes throughout the book. These chapters vary widely on topics, but all are pertaining to the whale. There were several chapters on the classification of whales. There were a few more on the accuracy and inaccuracy of depictions of whales in drawings, paintings, and sculpture. There was an ode to the whale tail. As annoying and out of place as these chapters might seem at first, they become enjoyable when Melville continues with the Pequod’s story and you, as the reader, have the whaling knowledge necessary to easily follow the what, why, and how of the whaling profession.
I hold Moby-Dick responsible for my lack of blogging lately. I am now quite invested and interested in the remaining pages of this book. With every bit of free time I feel the need to knock out a few pages because I just never know exactly when London is going to wake up. And, of course, the end of this book is in sight and I have other books stacked by the window tempting me with their perfectly square corners and pristine pages.