From the right: To Save Everything Click Here, Secret Rendezvous Holy Tango of Literature, Promises to Keep, Cloud Atlas
I have in fact been reading, although I’ve been failing to blog about it. These were 5 books with high highs, low lows, and some mixed feelings.
Holy Tango of Literature, where the author takes famous works of literature, makes anagrams of the author’s name, and then rewrites the work in the same style to match the anagram. For example, William Carlos Williams’s “This is Just to Say” becomes “I will alarm Islamic Owls.”
I will be alarming
the Islamic owls
that are in
you warned me
are very jittery
and susceptible to loud noises
they see so well in the dark
and so dedicated to Allah
Also a high was Promises to Keep. Granted, I’m biased, but I enjoyed this book a lot, and it’s still a useful and provoctive read, even more than 5 years after it was originally published.
I hated Secret Rendezvous, and probably wouldn’t have finished it if it wasn’t for this project. I’m not sure if it was the translation, or I just lack the appreciation for fine literature, or what, but I found it pointlessly pornographic, with bad pacing, confusing references and a lack of sympathetic characters.
Cloud Atlas was an interesting problem - I loved parts of the book (it’s a series of stories, for those who haven’t read it) and hated other parts. It reminded me of reading Game of Thrones, where there were some chapters that I just wanted to skip through to get to the characters I actually liked.
The roller coaster ride:
To Save Everything, Click Here was a book that I very much enjoyed, although there were parts of it that felt like exercises in petty infighting - a lot of academic back and forth that never paid off. Evgeny certainly can write, and the acerbic wit on display in his book reviews pays off with jibes at every cyberscholar he can find. However, the book sometimes doesn’t provide a deeper level of analysis, and he often relies on extensive quoting of academic sources rather than writing things in his own voice, which took away from some of the important themes. I might write a longer book review of this, if I get around to it.