Thursday, March 25, 2010
A datum from Neal Stephenson
A few days ago I finished reading Neal Stephenson's Anathem. It was one of the most enjoyable and satisfying books that I've ever read. As I told a friend when I was only a quarter of the way through it, reading Anathem felt like drinking a very rich, full-bodied wine (thinkAmorone or Barolo). It's an incredibly complex book that is still delightfully accessible. It's got layers upon layers of physic, philosophy, cosmology, culture and humor all tied up in a damn fine story. The book to which I'd be most likely to compare it is Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose. The above mentioned friend, George, who is something of an expert on many of the topics covered by the book -- a professional, in fact (he's a professor of philosophy) -- wrote a review of Anathem that I encourage you all to read (don't worry -- it won't ruin the story if you read the review first!). George's review does more justice to the book than I ever could, so I'll conclude by saying that if you don't read Anathem you're denying yourself one of the finest literary treats to be had, and although the 1000-ish-pagedness of the tome turned me off for almost a year, by the time I'd read 100 pages, I was wishing the book was at least 3000!