A Visit From the Goon Squad: A Non-Review and Some Random Links

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.

1.  “David Foster Wallace:  Portrait of an Infinitely Limited Mind” by Ramon Glazov in The Exiled

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.

2.  “The Sad, Beautiful Fact That We’re Going to Miss Almost Everything” by Linda Holmes at NPR

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.

3.  “Five Reasons Why E-Books Aren’t There Yet” by John C. Abell at Wired.  

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.



  1. I thoroughly enjoyed The God Delusion, it made laugh, it made just think, whisper & even sometimes shout yeah. like yourself I’m a convert to the church of DFW & have jest on my TBR to be read soon as I get a copy & as you said have seen how popular goon squad is amongst fellow Bloggers. finally a hearty welcome to the twittersphere,

  2. It’s certainly a book that begs strong feelings. I’m really trying to figure out how I’m going to get into Infinite Jest. It’s such an intimidating book. But, it’s one that I’m inevitably going to read one of these days!

      1. Yes, my twitter handle is Socrmom78.

        I really enjoyed the above link about ereaders. I have found pluses and minuses now that I have one too. I bought the Willie Mays book I just reviewed for my site for my nookColor, and when I went to look at the photos, almost all of the pictures were ‘removed by author’. How sucky is that. Plus I had to pay the hardcover price for a book I could have gotten in softcover at Costco for about 5$ cheaper. Batt life not the best either. But I will deal, because having one thing to carry around instead of six books is a beautiful thing. 😉

  3. I have The God Delusion on my TBR, been wanting to read it. Looking forward to your thoughts. And welcome to Twitter. I don’t use it nearly as much as I probably should.

  4. @Jennifer Perry – yup, my handle is @petekarnas.
    @Kinna – I’ve posted my piece about the God Delusion recently. I was disappointed by it actually, but I hope you find it more interesting. If you do read it, I’ll be looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Thanks for coming by!

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