Reading Moby-dick right now. Wasn't prepared for how funny it is? In ninth grade, I was dragged by the nose to read Bartleby the Scrivener; you'll appreciate the irony if you've ever read Bartleby the Scrivener. We were asked to do a book report on it; I missed an opportunity at an easy A+ by just standing up when called upon to deliver mine and saying "I'd prefer not to." Extra credit for refusing to leave my seat at the end of class, at the end of school, etc etc.
Anyhow, out of all the quote-unquote classics we were force-fed back then, Bartleby for whatever reason sticks with me. It haunts me. At work, sometimes I try to quote it and I get blank stares and I realize once again not everybody speaks silver spoon, and a lot gets lost in translation.
So anyhow. Moby-Dick is one of those books I've always been scared to start, but scared to die without reading. And holy shit it's just about as great as everybody always said. Or almost always. Per the above link, turns out people. fucking. hated it when it came out, and Melville wasn't even recognized for the full depth and breadth of his work until he was long dead.
You know what's great about reading an article about a guy whose body of work wasn't vindicated until after his death? You can pretend that your body of work is equally valid, and it will be acknowledged thusly eventually; you don't, if you choose, have to recognize the reality of the thing, which is of course that nobody makes something that impressive, and certainly you don't, and your work has gone unrecognized because it's unremarkable. No. We, all of us, will be celebrated posthumously. Herman Melville. Emily Dickinson. Van Gogh. Keep chasing your white whale, I guess.
Also, read some Melville. Goddamn could that guy write a story.