I think this book is better than 3-stars, but wow is it impossible to listen to as an audiobook. The reader's southern drawl is nice, and fitting, butI think this book is better than 3-stars, but wow is it impossible to listen to as an audiobook. The reader's southern drawl is nice, and fitting, but the weird way that he pauses in the middle of clauses is very disruptive. (Doesn't help that Metcalf has parenthetical statements inside of parenthetical statements and footnotes on footnotes.) I feel like the rhythms are all off and that a different reader would've done a much better job highlighting the humor.
That said, it is a fun takedown of country life and the idea that nature (or, Nature) is somehow superior to city life and good for the soul and all that enlightenment sort of stuff. It reminds me a lot of Epitaph for a Small Winner by Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis in terms of the loopiness of the narration, the self-conscious remembrances, and the overwhelming sense of play.
I do recommend this, but do yourself a favor and buy the actual book. ...more
Four stars because I give everything four stars. It's like I'm reading in some entropic end state where everything is "pretty good" . . .
"Over recentFour stars because I give everything four stars. It's like I'm reading in some entropic end state where everything is "pretty good" . . .
"Over recent years I had increasingly lost faith in literature. I read and thought, this is something someone has made up. Perhaps it was because we were totally inundated with fiction and stories. It had got out of hand. Wherever you turned you saw fiction. All these millions of paperbacks, hardbacks, DVDs, and TV series, they were all about made-up people in a made-up, though realistic, world. And new in the press, TV news, and radio news had exactly the same format, documentaries had the same format, they were also stories, and it made no difference whether what they told had actually happened or not. It was a crisis, I felt it in every fiber of my body, something saturating was spreading through my consciousness like lard, not the least because the nucleus of all this fiction, whether true or not, was verisimilitude and the distance it held to reality was constant. In other words, it was the same. This sameness, which was our world, was being mass-produced. The uniqueness, which they all talked about, was thereby invalidated, it didn't exist, it was a lie. Living like this, with the certainty that everything could equally well have been different, drove you to despair."
(I still think "A Time for Everything" is better.)...more
Can't believe it only took me a decade to read/listen to this . . . Makes a nice companion to "Baseball Between the Numbers."
My favorite part (aside fCan't believe it only took me a decade to read/listen to this . . . Makes a nice companion to "Baseball Between the Numbers."
My favorite part (aside from the whole chapter on Bill James) is in the chapter about Scott Hatteberg, which pokes some good fun at the stupid Red Sox in their pre-Theo Epstein days:
"The Red Sox encouraged their players' mystical streaks. They brought into the clubhouse a parade of shrinks and motivational speakers to teach the players to harness their aggression. Be men! There was one in particular Hatteberg remembers who told the team that every man had a gland in his chest, called the thymus gland. 'You were supposed to band your chest before you hit,' recalls Hatteberg, 'to release all this untapped energy and aggression.'"
DISCLAIMER: I am not the publisher of this book. (Since GoodReads has decided to scold me for reviewing Open Letter and Dalkey titles I published, I'mDISCLAIMER: I am not the publisher of this book. (Since GoodReads has decided to scold me for reviewing Open Letter and Dalkey titles I published, I'm going to start every review with this bullshit.)
What's fascinating about this book to me isn't the specifics of the claims that Dion makes about the way the government is surveilling and harassing him (midgets using cloaking technology, sound wave attacks, annoying street performance attacks, etc.), but the way in which paranoid literature gets you to believe it in. The repetitions, the "proof" found by talking to technology experts, the way it gets you to buy into the first core idea: would the U.S. military test it's new bad-ass technology on "expendable" citizens? It's amazing how the rhetorical devices and structure works in this book, climaxing with the conversation with the Project Chameleo expert in which Dion and Robert reaffirm what they want to believe is true, then take that as proof that it's all true. Fucking fascinating.
There are bits of this that are really tedious, but on the whole, I think it's an amazing book to read for structural and argumentative reasons.
Also, once again, I didn't publish this book, so I have no skin in the game, but you should buy it anyway, since O/R is pretty cool. ...more