Okay, I know this is an extremely boring choice and I realise that Melville uncharacteristically classes-up the list – hey, I ain’t a total slob – but… Jesus, do I hate Moby-Dick.
Yeah, yeah, great first line. And sure, Gregory Peck was pretty cool in the movie – Atticus Finch with a harpoon! But then there’s all that endless, endless, endless whale shit. Fuck me! I never finished it – so maybe I am a total slob – and I just don’t give a scrimshaw.
First published in Putnam’s Magazine, Nov/Dec 1853 and now widely available