Nick Black's Reviews > The Second Sex

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
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Dec 15, 2008

bookshelves: gave-up-too-boring

I've a battered mass-market edition, about the most unappetizing way to package ~900 densely-printed pages imaginable. I gave up after maybe 20 turgid pages covered in a hard hour; even affording Mme. De Beauvoir a maintained linear ratio of actionable information to time invested, two full days of my life seemed better spent elsewhere (as reported here, DFW claimed to "receive 500,000 discrete bits of information [per day], of which maybe 25 are important. My job is to make some sense of it."). Admitted, even in those score pages, a number of interesting theses were advanced, but none in the form of a testable hypothesis or valid deduction -- the book looked to be intensely inductive and untestable, which (especially for such a clearly vivacious, profound and far-reaching intellect as Beauvoir's) would have been deeply dissatisfying.

And yeah, make no mistakes, this book is huge. Huge in that "why did they even bother with a mass-market; the cover will inevitably be torn off (inviting hurried assurances that one doesn't purchase pirated massmarkets, which of course everyone with easy access would, and hey isn't it a bit fishy and frankly gross that publishers just require front covers back? When I worked at Media Play, this resulted in several large trash cans per month of pulp-paper Harlequin Romance and other such abominations going directly into our dumpster. I'm hardly Earth's bitch and avoid environmental conversations with anyone lacking at least 6 hours of EAS (Earth and Atmospheric Science) or its equivalent (classes lacking a calculus base need not apply for transfer credits), but it doesn't take an inorganic chemist to find such waste personally offensive and you needn't solve Navier-Stokes to wince at the pipeline of lossy energy conversions, an efficient system for conversion of useful raw commodities to cubic gigameterage of words written by computers for robots and inevitable entropy death), pages will fall out, and the spine will be so mutilated that only color, like dental records, can identify the remains" way.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Stephen (new)

Stephen LOL Earth's bitch? I adore that phrase.

message 2: by Sarah (new) - added it

Sarah David Foster Wallace was allowed to write as he did because he was a genius. He obviously understood the rules of proper usage and mechanics and chose to bend them in service to his art. David Foster Wallace could pull off writing like a seventeen year old on adderall. You can't. For mercy's sake read a style manual.

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