Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Best of 2010

The Instructions
by David Levin (pub. by McSweeney’s)

Reading this book closely--no "scanning"--will make you smarter. I wish I'd had it for students when I taught philosophy. Really.

I started actively regretting the fact that it would end before I had read 30 pages, and there were at that point another 1000 pages to go.

To say it is a Jewish novel would be like saying Faulkner's are Southern books--true, but still...
Yet, a Yiddish/Hebrew glossary has been a help.

I am only in the middle, at around page 500, and will not say yet that it is the great book I expect it to seem still at the end. But, even if it ended now, I would feel as rewarded as I just did at the end of "Super Sad True Love Story".

It is complex but every bit of it is understandable by paying attention. Though not for people who don't like thinking through every possibility, and certainly not expressed in the language of any 10 year old we have ever met, the thoughts are those of a 10 year old, as close as I can remember, and the "big boy" expression is what is necessary to keep my sense of humor engaged.

If David Foster Wallace had a clear and single plot--if James Joyce had cared to be perfectly understood--but what we do have is this rewarding book. I believe it will be a classic if it does not fall apart in the second half.

A Poem for Nicholas Carr

We think this poem by Thomas R. Moore captures perfectly what Carr's book The Shallows is all about:

At the Berkeley Free Speech Cafe

The students are seated,
one to a table,
ears wired,
laptops humming,
cell phones buzzing,
fingers texting,
iPods thumping,
toes drumming,
email flashing,
latt├ęs cooling,
textbooks open,
reading for an exam
in Issues in Contemporary Culture 102.

Best of 2010

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains
by Nicholas Carr

Carr is decent, intelligent, conscientious and inquisitive, just the kind of person you would want to spend some time with. It's a good thing because the book takes some reading and, I think, requires a full reading. I have the strong feeling that some of the reviewers have only scanned the book because they did not nearly use the best stuff.

The temptation to scan everything, especially non-fiction, is overwhelming given the flood of information besetting us within the time we have for it. This book should be the exception and reading it fully helps make his argument that we miss a lot by failing to read deeply.
Reading deeply means thinking deeply, but our shift over to digital multitasking makes us the prey of uncontrolled sequences and bits of information.

We don't really fear the sci-fi specter of our computers taking over, like Hal in "2001". But we should fear becoming more like our computers, losing empathy and meaning and being subject to whatever garbage feeds itself into our little minds.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Those attending Portland, Oregon's Wordstock festival October 8-11 should be sure to visit our booth. We'll have a few new items on display and, as always, free samples for anyone who stops by.

More info is available here:

See you there,
-Book Darts

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Welcome to our latest effort, The Book Darts Blog!