20 mars 2006

Book club for dummies

I'm reading Sophie's World.
I'm not enjoying it.
And I don't like not enjoying books.
Especially when a few people have been bending my ear about it, going on and on about how great it is.
It's... boring.
Thing is, I like philosophy. I like the idea of talking for hours on end around concepts that I haven't the faintest clue about, going back and forth, raising questions that I'll never find the answer to. You know... philosophy.
But this book, I don't know. It's... too simple somehow. Too "I have the answers, and they're pretttty good answers too, so don't disagree." So while it's about philosophy, it seems to be defeating the point somehow. Or maybe it's being extremely cunning by making the reader question - everything.
Plus, that Sophie person is not very believable.
Now, granted, so far I've only read
roughly up to the point when Socrates guzzles his hemlock cocktail, but still. I'm not enjoying it. So I might have to put it aside for a while. Except if I do that now, I have this feeling I'll never pick it up again, and it'll be on my shelf, accusing in a resigned sort of way, pitiful, abandoned only to collect dust, of which I have way too much already, until it dies in a freak, albeit carefully planned, flooding accident when I try to come into some home insurance money.

Hold on. I knew there was a reason I was blogging, and I may have just found it. As I went to Amazon for a link for you, dear reader, I had a look at their review, and the mild "spoilers" there have given me just enough incentive to go on - all the while kind of agreeing with my assessment of it - i.e. Publishers Weekly properly expressed what I really meant to say. I guess it just got granted clemency then.

In any case, if you're into that sort of novel slash educational book, there's an excellent novel called Le Théorème du Perroquet (
don't fret, it was translated. I used the French title because I felt like it) that does the same thing with the history of mathematics as a "backdrop". I don't remember much of said history, but I know that, after many years of peace, I did try to solve second-degree equations while I was reading it. Needless to say, I couldn't.
Good book, though.

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