Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Day 24 - A book that you wish more people would've read

Another weird question in that I have no real way of knowing what books are specifically neglected, and also the phrasing carries a vague implication of "because they would have been better for it" - which, I'm sure I could think of one like that, but I'd rather just go with something that I like that I want more people to know about. And I just haven't met a whole lot of people who've even heard of this book, though I know they're out there. So:

The Raw Shark Texts, by Steven Hall

This book is so baller. One of the best things about it in my opinion are the little snippets of reviews that plaster the inside cover, on this pictured edition anyway. Read them! Read them all! They are great. If I had my copy on me I would quote them for you. Curse my being away from home, again.

But here is why they are all great: almost all of them feel compelled to compare this work to three other things. Some of them choose authors like Borges (YEAHHH), Melville, Kafka, Pynchon, Murakami... is that Douglas Adams I see there on that little picture??? It IS. Weird! I don't remember that being on and furthermore I can't even figure out what that guy is talking about? But okay. Others go after specifics works, like I think maybe Alice in Wonderland makes the list, but mostly it's not so much books as it is MOVIES. Which might be weird and dubious to other people, but to me is kind of a good sign and also what makes these little blurbs very interesting. I recall movies such as The Matrix (yes) and Memento (so much yes that I was actually extremely suspicious during the first few chapters that this whole book was just ripping off Memento but boy was I wrong)... but here's the fun part! THEY ALL MENTION JAWS.

An inordinately high number of these review excerpts talk about Jaws. Why??? Doesn't that seem kind of strange? Sure this is a book that appears to be about a shark, but is Jaws the only thing we can think of that has a shark in it?! But as it turns out, that's kind of the whole point?

You may notice that I have now spent three paragraphs talking about the review excerpts on this book and not the book itself. I promise you there is a good reason, which is this: you shouldn't really know anything about this book before going in. I bought it at the insistence of a friend, who refused to tell me anything about it, only that I would like it. Bewildered and somewhat frustrated, I studied the blurb on the back (unhelpful) and the review excerpts inside, at which point I became OVERCOME WITH CURIOSITY. Look at all those fancy authors! And so many mentions of Jaws? WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH THAT YOU GUYS

Well the answer to that mystery, which might only have been interesting to me, is buried deep within the pages of this totally fascinating wonderful book. After I finished it, I wrote the author a message on Facebook, and he actually responded and we had a little bit of a conversation. Friendly guy! I remember telling him that this was something I wish I'd written. It's very much an elegantly synthesized clusterfuck of all the neat stuff whirling around in my brain waiting to be made into a story so brilliant. Goddammit, I reserve all my best jealousy for people who are capable of doing that very thing.

Also, this book made me REALLY AFRAID of the clanking of my radiator for a little while.

Also, my girlfriend read it right after me over like a three day period or maybe less, and during that time she started announcing her theories to me as she was reading, which sounds annoying but totally wasn't because she was right constantly. That actually also sounds annoying, but it still wasn't. This book is way out there on the field of imagination, and I don't know how she is so smart and so aligned with Mr. Hall's wild ideas that she was just on the ball again and again? I wrote him again while she was reading and told him where she was in the story and gave him a list of all the things she had been saying to me. And he wrote back saying something like "Whaaaaaaat! She is awesome!" and I was like "Dude, I know."

It wasn't exactly like that, but man, that conversation is buried deep within Facebook's grim underbelly, so that is CLOSE ENOUGH.


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