Wednesday, September 11, 2002

What I'm reading: Tales, Poems, and Other Writings by Herman Melville. I'm preparing for a book club discussion on "Bartleby," which in my case usually mean over-prepare. I prefer absorbing a lot about the subject before having to either talk about it or try to discuss it with others. I find certain of the stories tough sledding, and at least a couple from the last two days -- "The Two Temples" and "The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids" -- aren't even really stories; more like poetic meditations on contraries.

I've been idly reading the book, off and on, through the summer: so far the only ones that have really stayed with me are the great ones: "Bartleby," "Benito Cereno," and "Billy Budd."

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