Friday, February 20, 2009

Passing the Bux

I was a little worried that my huge volume of books in my physical queue (i.e. books that I already have checked out of the library) was maybe the reason I've passed on two books I had planned to read and picked up this week. But I don't think so, I think both were wise and liberating choices.

Adam's Navel sounded like an interesting bit of pop nonfiction--a "physical and cultural anthropology of the human body." I was a little intimidated by the density of the type and the thinness of the pages--god I'm shallow--but when I started reading I realized that yes, the density of this book is a problem. It's basically a brainstormed soliloquy on the human body. Every literary quote and scientific factoid about various body parts creeps into this story. It didn't really impress me, and did I mention the density? A pass.

Born on a Blue Day was quite the opposite. Daniel Tammet's autobiography/memoir about growing up with Asperger's Syndrome and synesthesia. I really wanted it to be interesting--who doesn't want to know more about what it's like to smell numbers? And the idea of peeking inside Asperger's Syndrome, which makes people hard to be around, is very tempting. Sadly, the author writes like someone who has Asperger's Syndrome. The language and style are there, but there is very little feeling--his memoir is a litany of facts about his childhood (as far as I got; I assume it proceeds into facts about his adolesence and adulthood). And there is no feel for synesthesia--I can sympathize with this; how can you describe sight to the blind? That must be what it's like for him to try to describe this to us. But I felt a lack of empathy in his telling that made it hard to read on.

So, no regrets. And yeah, I suppose part of that feeling of liberation relates to the fact that I have more than a dozen library books out. What of it?

1 comment:

Laurie said...

I've been reading Adam's Navel for like 2 months. I can only get through it by reading little snippets at lunch. It is good, I think, but not something to try and get through all at once.