Sunday, November 23, 2008

The latest book I read without really thinking.

Continuing on the strand of being more reflective in my reading, the first character that I thought about was Blue Van Meer from Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl, who explains to the New York Times that Blue "filters every life experience she has through books." Interesting. The chapters are organized as a list of "Required Reading," each one named after a major literary text: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Howl, Metamorphoses...In light of my last post, it was really interesting to figure out what the connection was between each chapter's title and the events that unfolded. After reading the book, I was looking at the author's website for the book. In a clever move, she had a link to "Find Out What It All Means," which causes a Cliff's Notes image to pop up. When you click on any of the topics in the Table of Contents, it flips to a page that says "In life, there are no shortcuts." Yes, we must do our own thinking with this one. This reminded me of Umberto Eco, whose book SIx Walks in the Fictional Woods said "the text is a lazy machine asking the reader to do some of its work."

The irony of this post is that I was a lazy reader during this book and was mainly driven by the plot alone to finish it. This was what made me stop and realize that I lost a little bit of myself as a reader and thus I needed to refocus a little bit. (Again, see last post.)

So. Next time will be different. Deeper. Ha. But in my old habit of writing review posts, I would recommend this to anyone who appreciates literature and finds intellectuals slightly facetious and yet slightly interesting. It's a mystery with a crazy, unexpected ending. I did stay up past midnight on school nights while finishing.

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