A glimpse into Melville's daily routine

"A book in a man's brain is better off than a book bound in calf — at any rate it is safer from criticism," Herman Melville wrote to a friend in a letter contained in a 1954 book excerpted by Maria Popova. The letter, written less than a year before publication of Moby-Dick, shows Melville immersed in the nautical world even at home on his Berkshires farm: "I look out of my window in the morning when I rise as I would out of a port-hole of a ship in the Atlantic."