M. P.'s Reviews > Sometime in the 21st Century: a book for strangers

Sometime in the 21st Century by James   Banks
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[EDIT: Forgot to mention that I won this book through Goodreads First Reads.]

It probably doesn't come as a surprise this book was a mixed bag for me, personally. Sometime in the 21st Century reads like a collection of diary entries (or letters?), often surreal, absurd, lingering somewhere between reality and fantasy, sometimes surprisingly acute, sometimes hypocritical and pontificating. Some parts showed great imagination and thought, some showed a very superficial understanding of the subject at hand.

As such, it's probably one of the best shows I've ever read of how complex, contradicting, chew-the-cud-ish, self-delusional we as people are. A real dive to a human soul, to the parts we would probably never get to see but in parts and portions in ordinary circumstances. Yet, because there is nothing else but this, no real climax to the story, no real timeline to the events that are described, it also struck me as a very underwhelming experience overall.

Despite being interesting from a purely psychological (sometimes also philosophical) perspective, it wasn't gripping. It was hard to return to this book whenever I'd close the covers and put it down. Had I not left on a trip with this book with me, I don't think I'd have managed to finish this for another entire month. Though that just might be how this book is best read - in small bites every now and then, as a sort of food for thought, or just as a small surreal dive to a life as a spider or an apostle. When I read it like that, it was much easier in general to have a grasp of what I was reading. Reading continuously for hours on an airplane, on the other hand, the moment I moved to the next paragraph, the last was forgotten, and nothing really stuck, because every paragraph was but a minute in the grand scheme of time and space.

I feel no shame in admitting that I found the ending portions of the book the best of all. Chapter 2, and Interlude. Those were the ones that stuck with me, perhaps, due to the lenghts of each item in this portion.

I'm also rather taken aback by how the premise of this entire book is basically to reach out to a single person. That, in itself, is beautiful. Just thinking what an impact S. must have left in the life of James Banks, for him to write an entire book for that purpose. Well, assuming that is a true story, and I'd love to believe it is.

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Reading Progress

November 4, 2015 – Shelved
November 4, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
November 18, 2015 – Started Reading
November 18, 2015 –
page 61
November 19, 2015 –
page 94
November 27, 2015 –
page 120
December 15, 2015 –
page 150
December 21, 2015 – Finished Reading

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