Greg's Reviews > The Instructions

The Instructions by Adam Levin
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Nov 05, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction, big-cut-jewish-books, mcsweeneys
Recommended to Greg by: Oriana
Read from September 30 to October 09, 2010

Updated 11/5. I still have no review. But Adam Levin signed my copy last night and I love what he wrote, so I'm sharing.



I recommend reading this book. I haven't had an almost* back to back awesomeness reading experience like JR and this since 1999 when I read Gravity's Rainbow and Infinite Jest in the same month.

*I'm saying almost because I'm aware that I read four books, and nine days passed between finishing JR and starting this book.
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Reading Progress

09/30 page 28
3.0% "Not the easiest book to read on the subway" 44 comments
10/02 page 204
20.0% 2 comments
10/04 page 428
42.0% 8 comments
10/05 page 534
52.0% "Halfway done!! Another long book..... http://www.boston.com/news/local/mass..." 14 comments
10/08 page 784
76.0% 12 comments
02/21 marked as: read
show 3 hidden updates…

Comments (showing 1-37 of 37) (37 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

this book is supposed to be arriving in my office on saturday, but my vacation begins after tomorrow! it's a race against the clock as the package struggles to make its way to me before i have to take my puppy leave. stay tuned.


message 2: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Wow, that's quite a story (the link you posted). So it's published under a pseudonym?

Look forward to your review.


Greg I think he published it on the Internet. It's not the book I'm reading, but it's curious in a morbid way.


message 4: by Jessica (new)

Jessica ah, so I was confused by your posting the link here, thought it was this book.


Joshua Nomen-Mutatio Again, this sounds awesome.


Joshua Nomen-Mutatio Hey Greg, I'm reading my second book by Matthew Sharpe right now. Not sure if you've read anything of his or heard about him, but I'm pretty sure you'd enjoy his work quite a bit. He gets comparisons to Saunders, Barth, Wallace, Ben Marcus, et al. I read You Were Wrong and just started The Sleeping Father. Was thinking that you'd like it while I was reading some earlier today.


Greg I was looking at You Were Wrong at work after I think I saw you were reading it and Krock (I think it was) compared him favorably to DFW. I think I'll give him a shot sometime soon. This was re-issued yesterday and I never heard of it before then but I'm pretty excited to try reading it, and references and reviews of End Zone by DeLillo keep coming my way lately, too and I'm starting to think it might be some kind of sign that I should read it soon.


karen yayyy


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Would vote again if I could.

we damage we!


message 10: by Jasmine (new) - added it

Jasmine did he write a spoiler in your book?


message 11: by Greg (new) - rated it 5 stars

Greg It's not a spoiler.

¡we damage we!


message 12: by j (new) - added it

j mine has two rightside up exclamation marks. maybe he screwed up.

when he was signing mine i asked him if he has a series of quotes he writes. i think there are just the two.


message 13: by Greg (new) - rated it 5 stars

Greg They are graffiti from the book. There are a couple of other things tagged on walls, but they are usually only done once or twice.


message 14: by Jasmine (new) - added it

Jasmine whos slokum?


message 15: by Greg (new) - rated it 5 stars

Greg He who dies on Friday.


message 16: by j (new) - added it

j i might know a bookstore that will ship you a signed copy. it worked for karen anyway.


karen it did!! it worked!!


Benjamin Very jealous... I'm only on page 103 so no spoilers please!


message 19: by Bram (last edited Nov 06, 2010 09:06AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bram Nice! I'm really liking this so far...so much fun to read.

Which color is yours, Greg? I have the blue copy, which is sort of a bummer. Ordering online was the only way to get it out here in the Negev, so I didn't get to choose.

Oh, and did you see Joshua Cohen's review of this in the NYT? Pretty harsh.


message 20: by Joshua Nomen-Mutatio (last edited Nov 06, 2010 10:34AM) (new) - added it

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio That's pretty cool, Greg, but I heard that a certain hipster bully bee hater had drinks in Brooklyn (hipster!) with Mr. Levin the other night. Soooooo, yeah, you've been out-cooled I think. Either way, I'm still the only person on the planet (that I know of) with the reversed blue and red cover, so I'm a better person than all of you.


message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

We saw that cover at the bookstore, MFSO, when Levin signed our books. Apparently it's from a later printing. Along with the cover that is a different shade of blue.

But yeah. No drinks.


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Bram wrote: "Oh, and did you see Joshua Cohen's review of this in the NYT? Pretty harsh."

greg's review of joshua cohen's book wasn't so great, either.


Joshua Nomen-Mutatio Ariel wrote: "We saw that cover at the bookstore, MFSO, when Levin signed our books. Apparently it's from a later printing."

Yeah, well, I had it before it was cool...

I read somewhere while trying to figure it out that there will eventually be five different covers. Mine must be one of the additional two.


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

i was actually just making that comment to point out that i am cool, too, and was there with greg at the signing.


message 25: by Joshua Nomen-Mutatio (last edited Nov 06, 2010 10:57AM) (new) - added it

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio Cool! I just read Cohen's review. Lame. He plugs his own book right at the beginning. He doesn't seem to get what's so funny about this book and complains that Levin didn't take the opportunity to use heavy handed symbolism about modern politics. A glance at Cohen's list of publications gives me the impression that this guy is waaaaay too wrapped up in the Jewish element of his identity and overly serious about it.


message 26: by Jasmine (new) - added it

Jasmine I think it would be cool if they each reviewed each other, the concepts are quite similar.


Joshua Nomen-Mutatio I think that if Levin is DFW then Cohen may just be the Eggers writing a jealousy-inspired review of a big ol' hyped up and critically praised book. I mean, look at how he begins the review. He calls his own book (which he waited an entire 18 words into the review to make reference to) "the Jewish novel you'll never begin" and then Levin's "the Jewish novel you'll never finish." In other words: his is missing some sort of superficial hype while Levin's relies on nothing but.


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

Jasmine wrote: "I think it would be cool if they each reviewed each other, the concepts are quite similar."

perhaps very superficially, but i still think, no.


message 29: by Greg (new) - rated it 5 stars

Greg Bram, I have the Red one. I didn't know I had a choice of color when I bought it the first day it showed up in our store.

Witz is over-written and very difficult to keep interest in. He might explore some concepts deeper than Levin but he mostly just rambles a lot. It is what is painful about a lot of overly clever big books, sort of like second tier John Barth.

They aren't very similar. They are both big Jewish books, with characters that might or might not be the messiah and they are both written by youngish Jewish authors, but they are vastly different. Levin's book is so readable and engaging, Cohen's is alienating and distant.


message 30: by Jasmine (new) - added it

Jasmine I think you should know when you google image search infinite jest your autograph of this book comes up.


message 31: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John Waller how about this stuff? Can it reach DFW?


message 32: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John Waller come on, man, why not write a longer comment?


message 33: by Greg (new) - rated it 5 stars

Greg Me or him?


message 34: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John Waller Of course you...


message 35: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John Waller Really wanna hear your feeling about this book, coz I couldn't get a copy in my state. Sigh.


message 36: by Greg (new) - rated it 5 stars

Greg I really loved it. I forget why I didn't write a review for it back when I did, I think I was afraid of spoiling anything since I got it the day it came out and read it fairly quickly and knew it was something GR friends would be reading. I'd recommend this one, and the whole style the characters talk is very infectious.


message 37: by j (new) - added it

j i totally forgot about this book! i saw the author at a reading and bought a copy the day it came out and it has been waiting for me since. waiting for me to read infinite jest first maybe.


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