Allison, another of our Moby-Dick readers, has finished the novel, and this is what she has to say about the ordeal:
I'm so glad to have finally finished Moby Dick. I really had to keep forcing myself to go back to it from time to time in spite of really wanting to put it down forever. I think it was all the long digressions that turned me off. I would just start feeling involved in the story, and then we would have to spend a couple of chapters on, for example, "The Sperm Whale's Head-- Contrasted View" and "The Right Whale's Head-- Contrasted View," and I would despair again of ever making it through. In spite of all that, though, I think Ahab is an amazing character, and I was always drawn in by scenes involving him and his hunt. I loved his incredible and mysterious charisma and watching Starbuck and Stubbs struggle with how to deal with him and whether to submit to him. In fact, I might try to go back and read all of the scenes with Ahab again, either now or at some point in the future, though I think I might just have to always skip chapters like "Of the Monstrous Pictures of Whales."
I, of course, am still slogging my way through the novel, with many distractions from Lampedusa and Plath. And like you, I'm sad this morning about the bloodbath in Arizona. I hate the way everyone has hysterically, and publicly, started blaming everyone else for it. I hate picturing that bewildered, messed-up boy in his jail cell. I hate imagining the families of all the victims. I hate the knowledge that I myself have to walk into a grocery-store parking lot today.
As a small distraction, I offer you this video link to the extraordinarily low-budget remake of Godzilla that Paul and Tom directed last weekend.