This was supposed to be a post about Jennifer Egan’s wonderful book A Visit From the Goon Squad. I’ve been finished with it for a few days now and have been trying to come up with something original to say. Problem is – so many good things have been written about it that anything I could say would just be rehashed and derivative. If you’re interested in reading a smart review, I’ll refer you over to The New Dork Review of Books where Greg has written a fantastic piece. It was a great book. Read it. ‘Nuff said.
I’m currently working through Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion. As I cook up something to say about that (and play around with my new Twitter account – see sidebar), here are a few interesting literary links.
The title alone could be taken as fighting words, so you know that the rest of the essay’s going to be pretty messy. The main gist of this piece is that DFW’s fiction is nothing more than gussied up Puritanism – “an anti-intellectual (yet amazingly pretentious) Calvinist cautionary tale that makes the same death threats about thinking that Requiem for a Dream made about drugs.” The article refers to his work with phrases like “hobo torture porn,” “shameless rip-off of Monty Python,” “frat boy sadism,” and “hillbilly logic.” Despite the inflammatory language, it’s an interesting piece that makes me want to find a copy of Infinite Jest and get cracking.
All the books you could read in a lifetime wouldn’t even put a microscopic dent in the collection of all written literature. Do the math. It’s a sad fact that any serious reader must face at some point. Holmes does a good job, however, of explaining why this is not such a bad thing. This article is not earth-shattering, but it’ll make you feel a bit better about all the books you’re inevitably going to miss.
I’m among the converts to e-readers. I got a Sony Reader at the end of last year and I haven’t looked back. Still, there’s something missing beyond the “I love books cause they smell like books and feel like books” argument. This article makes some good points about why e-books aren’t ready to completely displace paper anytime soon.