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Book Details

Title:   Anathem
Author:   Neal Sthephenson
Times Read:   1
Last Read:   06.15.10

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Notes History
Date Read Note
06.15.10 So this book... I was really kind of looking at reading this like a chore. Although I ultimately look band with fondness at The Baroque Cycle, i also remember how it was very very long and took a while to get through. While that time span gave a really epic nature to the books and characters, it also seemed exhausting. So another 900-page book about future monks with new vocabulary didn't sound like fun to me. Hence me putting off reading it for so long. But with me moving and whatnot, I wanted a long book that i had in mass market paperback and this fit the bill. So the first 20 pages were really daunting. It's all this new language and he takes so long to describe this weird church place where the main character lives that all that happens is he's listening to two people talk for a bit then he has to walk to the church to wind the clock. So that's a pretty hard 20 pages... but then I read some reviews that said the plot doesn't really get going for the first 200 pages but its worth it so just hang in there. So i told myself to power through till page 200 and see what happens. I started getting into it at about page 75. By 200 I was with it and fully along for the ride. Somewhere around page 400 I realized that i was loving this book. There are several very long and complicated conversations where smart people talk about the nature of the universe. Stephenson does an admirable job of describing these advanced topics in language that i can understand (a lot like Crichton in that way) but it still makes me feel dumb when it goes on for longer than my brain can keep up. It's weird though because there will be these 30-page conversations where people are literally just sitting there having dinner and talking, then there are passages where things happen very very quickly and you almost have to read it twice just to comprehend how much is going on. So it's a super-quantum physics philosophical meditation book, it's an epic road travel book, it's a sci-fi book in space, it's all these things in one. I really appreciated the length so Stephenson never feels rushed or hurried to get to the next thing. If he wants to devote pages 700-800 to talking instead of action, he does. I trust that he will eventually get to where he's going (which he does). I'm pretty sad that I'm finished with this. I had an urge right when i completed it to just turn back to page 1 and start reading it again. That really never happens to me. Great book. Not only way better than I thought it would be but so much so that it's re-energized my excitement for Stephenson! Loved loved loved it



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