Caroline's Reviews > Anathem

Anathem by Neal Stephenson
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's review
Jan 22, 09

it was amazing
bookshelves: read-in-2009, cyberpunk
Read in January, 2009

What an epic novel, and I'm not just referring to the extreme size of the thing (937 pages of very densely-packed prose) but the overall world Stephenson crafts in here and the fascinating plot-line that it encompasses.

I've always loved extreme world-building, and boy was I happy with this. It took me a little while to get into the swing of the world of Erasmus, but once I did I found all the terms easy to understand and the world just fascinating to read about. I felt that it was built slowly enough to not completely overwhelm me, and even though there was a handy little timeline at the beginning of the novel and a glossary at the end I never found myself confused and needing to flip to them (it was reassuring to have them there), and that's with it taking me a good three months to finish reading this.

As someone who is pretty dense when it comes to all things math and science that aren't just straight-forward common sense, I didn't find all of the philosophy of science to be overly daunting, which is something I was a bit concerned about going into this. Stephenson handles it all in a way that makes it easy to understand what is meant by his characters, and I definitely found myself laughing at some of the hilarious dialogues they get themselves into.

This also took me three months, but that was due to the fact it was huge and the idea of toting it to and from work was just too much so I wound up only reading it at home (where I always seem to have the least amount of time to read, strangely). I'm glad I took my time on this, actually, rather than rushing through--I always seem to get more out of an epic novel like this if I spend a good amount of time on it rather than bust through it in a weekend.

Fantastic novel, and I hope one day to get around to re-reading it again and seeing the events unfold after knowing what's really going on in the end. This definitely seems to be one of those novels that I'd get a lot out of by reading multiple times!

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Reading Progress

10/27/2008 page 1
10/28/2008 page 19
2.03% "This is definitely not an easy book to just jump right into, but it looks like it will be rewarding once I get past the world set-up."
10/31/2008 page 58
6.19% "Plot is picking up nicely."
11/03/2008 page 71
7.58% "Still reading, last few days have been difficult to find the time to do much of it, though."
11/06/2008 page 91
9.71% "Still reading. Work is sucking my soul and when I get to this it's usually before bedtime and I fall asleep because I'm so tired."
11/25/2008 page 118
12.59% "Being de-railed from this by library books--have a hard time juggling books I own with books I have checked out sometimes."
12/30/2008 page 138
14.73% "Due to having so many library books out and the like I put this on hold for over a month! Happy to say it picks right back up."
12/31/2008 page 190
20.28% "The plot is picking up quite nicely, and I love all of the mystery and intrigue that's cropping up."
01/03/2009 page 311
33.19% "I'm finding this is more and more trying to keep me up past my bedtime, and I'm loving all the speculative/theoretical discussion!"
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