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2009-11-05 07:19 pm (UTC)
I appreciate your cultural bravery in coming out and saying that you didn't like it. But I do want to say that I found the first 200-250 pages a very rough go, and once I passed them the book got somewhat more compelling. I'm trying to decide now whether it was just the hazing response -- I have suffered through the bad beginning, so it must have been worthwhile -- or if my recommending it to you is the other hazing response -- I suffered through it, so it must have been worthwhile, so you should suffer too! -- but I think it is actually true that the book finally starts to *do* something with all the crap it has set up, so it might be worth picking up again later. I did have to stop at about the same spot you're at for a while, though.
What I felt after I read the whole thing was that it was conceptual art more than a book; it is possible that the art doesn't exist on a Kindle, that you need to be physically lugging the phonebook-like object, with your two bookmarks (one for the footnotes) to get the whole thing. Seriously; I think it is an early Yoko Ono-type piece, in which you have to climb the ladder to see the "Yes". It is about phoney erudition as a performance, and to some extent I concluded it had to be a big fat book as a comment on big fat bookness, and so to some extent it does include filler because the art-piece requires a big fat book. But, see, that's the comment -- maybe all of erudition is filler, etc. etc. I also suspect that the first quarter is a rough go to make some experiential comment on inaccessibility, on the way books do and do not pander in order to draw you in.
Which still doesn't mean you have to spend any more of your life reading it. I am still not sure if it was a worthwhile book in and of itself, but for me it was worth it to find out what it was, but then, grim fascination is a significant emotion for me.
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