N.T. Embe's Reviews > Bartleby and Benito Cereno

Bartleby and Benito Cereno by Herman Melville
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's review
Oct 04, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: education
Recommended to N.T. by: American Literature of the 19th Century (Class)
Recommended for: Those who enjoy tales morbidly dense and difficult to get through.
Read from October 04 to 15, 2011 — I own a copy , read count: 1

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 ...it hurts the brain too much.
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Reading Progress

10/04/2011 page 0
0.0% "More homework reading~ Gonna get the first story done for class tomorrow~"
10/04/2011 page 30
27.0% "O: ...MENTIONS MAH HOMETOWN IN THIS BOOK! ...that's pretty epic. X3 Not often you see your hometown's name in a story written in 1853. :'D"
10/04/2011 page 34
30.0% "Well, that was a depressing story. '_' ...not sure if I like Herman Melville's writing."
10/15/2011 page 104
93.0% "Page count's off. Just finished this, though it took me some time. What a strange and thickly clinging book! But on to the review~"
02/13/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Rain (new)

Rain Misoa Dude... I feel so bad for you. You had one terrible book to read after another. *Pat pat* I know your pain well. DX

N.T. Embe At least it's over now. XD

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