Bartleby and Benito Cereno - Stanley Appelbaum, Herman Melville This book, with its two stories, Bartleby and Benito Cereno, is not what I expected. What a dense read! For a book just barely making it over the 100-page mark, it took me forever to will myself through it! Look at the difference between the start date and the finish for this one! Every time I picked it up I felt like I was being forced to swallow lead, or to walk a mile in a pool of TAR. I felt like I was getting nowhere, anywhere, and fast. And, to my frustrated and wry surprise, I got exactly that.

Herman Melville... I don't know what was his issue, but the man took things that could be explosive, and instead turned them into dust. If I were to choose a handful of words to describe this book, it'd be: "Dense. Gathering dust. Slowly sinking. Numbness." There was barely even the sensation of my frustrations until I reached the end of the book! It's so LOUDLY EMPTY. It's like having a block shoved through the side of your skull, one millimeter at a time, and every moment it sinks further and deeper in, you stop reacting... you lose your emotions... you stop thinking... you're just reading... you're just reading... you're just reading... you're just reading... you're ju--

You see where I'm going here?

The concepts were intriguing, I guess... *Seems a little reluctant to even give the book that* But GOD. With the way this man writes, I want to SHOOT myself to just get it over with! It's WORSE than watching paint dry! Or a snail cross the entire desert! Or having a staring contest for WEEKS ON END with a WALL. A perfectly BLANK... WHITE... WALL!!! *Flails a bit as her irritation abruptly gets the better of her* It's POINTLESS to read these books! POINTLESS! MELVILLE, HOW DARE YOU WRITE SUCH ABSTRACT INSANITY!! *Points a finger accusingly at him, breathing hard and one eye twitching uncontrollably for a moment*

Okay. That aside, this review is highly unprofessional. I cannot stand the man's writing. It's the type of book where you read it, and your brain just shuts down. Completely. There are no thoughts, no care or concern for the story or its characters: you're just dead afterwards. My friend Rain Misoa said she read Moby Dick, and after struggling through TWO of Melville's short stories, I want to whirl on her incredulously and SHAKE her, DEMANDING how she sat through that MONSTER BOOK without ending up throwing herself off of a building!! Maybe only people who enjoy the morbid "Questions about the universe" penned in the underlying tones of these stories will care, but even a philosophy dork like me can't take stuff like this. -3-;; I just refuse to.

If you want to give it a shot because it's a classic example of Melville's works, then go right ahead and be my guest, but there's no way I'm recommending this to anyone. =_e hurts the brain too much.