Tuesday, March 20, 2012

TO-READ I Reality Hunger

Have a look around. Don't walk around the store, just turn your head and check it out (And if you're reading this at home, then maybe have a look, or maybe have a snack). What you see are mostly reiterations of events or even thoughts that have already taken place. "And your point...?" you're probably saying to yourself. "Whether or not the subject is already dead, every photograph (or book) is this catastrophe," as Roland Barthes once said, and well. But underneath their covers, aren't most books trying hard not to convey, but to make sense out of experience? "Of course!" you think, "I'm standing between sections labeled God and Fiction! To what shall I draw my attention next? The art of cold grilled cheese?" You might, if I were to write the sort of book review that David Shields is calling for: The sort that knows exactly how much better it could be. That is, the sort that wants to be about the history of smoke or how Great Britain got its name, but writes instead about that want, composite with what else disrupts or occurs to it at the time. At a glance then, this book serves just like a manual for writers, but who isn't a writer in the age of social media? Again, no need to ask. The gentlemen behind you's busy looking for a calendar. Instead, consider Reality Hunger a book about one question and 606 attempts at an answer, like Sarah Bakewell's book about Montaigne, without the horses or citations. I'll leave you now to ponder #557. Unless you're still at home. In which case, I was never here.

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