My labor may not be in vain. There is now a book about why I should slug along in half-hearted compulsion to read Moby Dick. The book is aptly titled Why Read Moby-Dick? You can read a story and find an interview on NPR today.
The reasons not to read Melville are numerous. Do I need a book explaining why I should continue on in my quest, which may take me several years? Perhaps. I'm still in the game. No applause necessary. I figure it's part of my writerly duty.