To the Three Penguin editions, the downloaded kindle version, and the stolen library copy of Moby Dick currently in my unfit possession,
I am writing to convey my most profound apologies for having spent years in the active pursuit of avoiding you. I have forsaken you all in the cruelest way possible, in favor of other books, far less impassioned about marine life than yourselves.
For all those nights I gave you false hope by opening you up to your first page and reading only the beginning few sentences before shoving you aside again, forgive me. For every plane trip where I packed you, thinking that at 35,000 feet, I would finally be able to really give you the time and thoughtfulness you deserved—only to abandon you in favor of reading the complimentary People Magazines and brochures on “Updated Aircraft Safety Features” over and over again—I can only hang my head in shame. For each time I was assigned to read you in high school and undergrad, but could not even be bothered to google the Sparknotes version, I must now express to you my shame.
Please know that I do empathize with you. I can almost feel your desperate frustration whenever I pick up Anna Karenina for what has to the seventh time. Your rage when you realize I have opted to read Les Miserables in French, despite no longer being fluent. Heaven forbid I even glance at Infinite Jest or The Virgin Suicides.
I can hear you thinking to yourselves: “But Tolstoy avoids conciseness like the plague. And you don’t even understand what Victor Hugo is saying.” Or even, “if you’re going to read a book recommended by obnoxious male English majors, why wouldn’t you just grab one of us?”
The most damning critique, however, is the one which goes unsaid because you, my dear and neglected tomes, have no mouths with which to scream it: “You will not learn even one fact about whales from any of those selections. Not one fact.”
I say this to acknowledge that I have put you through a terrible ordeal in my rejection of your prolific offerings. I am sorry that I have shoved, at varying times, all eight books from the Confessions of a Shopaholic franchise on top of you because your cover was so boring it was making me sad. Honestly, every time I would glance at that familiar frontispiece (the one with a lethargic looking whale trailing behind some lost and aimless bark) all I could think about was how much more effective the JAWS movie poster was. Maybe your publishers could talk to Steven Spielberg about marketing or something? Just some constructive criticism!
All of this is to say that I am very apologetic, but do not ever intend to actually read you in your entirety. Every time another one of you joins these ranks, a result of the misguided gifts of my more educated and sea-obsessed friends and family, I can feel you all resign yourselves to many more years of a most unjust desertion.
A Whale Intentioned Bibliophile