Bartleby, the Scrivener
by Herman Melville
I think I read Herman Melville's Bartleby, the Scrivener in high school. I don't remember it very well and didn't appreciate it very much at the time. Because while Bartleby is a short story (maybe 20 pages in dead tree form) it is very rich: an absurdist comedy, a cautionary tale for managers, a kind of living ghost tale, a mystery, and a sad tale of depression. It's really unlike anything I've ever read, and Melville's prose is funny and creative without being unwieldy. Bartleby may have been wasted on teenage me, but fortunately I got the chance to re-read the story now.