Book Review: S. (Ship of Theseus) by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

Ship of Theseus

Ship of Theseus by J.J. Abrams

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

S. or Ship of Theseus is an intensely satisfying reading experience for those who enjoy metafiction and experimental literature. It is a time-consuming but deliciously tactile journey that lends the same surge of intrigue as unfolding a handwritten note that falls out of somewhere unexpected. You don’t know what it contains, or who wrote it, but as you read, you see the traces of the writer–an employer, a friend, a lover, a parent, whomever–writing from a specific place in time, to a specific recipient. And you feel that forbidden drive to read… because of the fact that those words that weren’t meant for you. Combine that feeling with an actual entire literary novel-within-a-novel that is, in itself, spooky, stirring, and Hemingway-esque. And, as garnish, you feel the unique pull of an academic obsession that multiplies as commonality and connection reaches two people who find that their obsession is shared.

This is not a normal book. It is an amalgamation of multi-colored annotations, footnotes, letters, postcards, newspapers, cards, and drawings that exist because of the book. It takes patience. All of it is an absolutely staggering invention. Hats off to Doug Dorst (writer) and J.J. Abrams (concept/story) on this unique tribute to the love of literature.

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Book review: Only Revolutions by Mark Z. Danielewski

Only RevolutionsOnly Revolutions by Mark Z. Danielewski
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I would actually rate Only Revolutions as “impossible to rate.” I’ve had this book on my shelf for a decade and I decided that it was finally time to take on this beast, a dual-perspectived love story written like beat poetry and spanning centuries. It is an incredible feat of experimental literature–you have never read anything like it. I enjoyed analyzing Danielewski’s craft acrobatics. This book doesn’t care what year it is or what you expect from it. It is difficult and bizarre. For me, the heart of the story lay in Sam’s final pages. Much of it I wasn’t sure what to do with. The mood of this novel is America, and it celebrates the fear, unconquerable joy, and surging energy of youth. My favorite part of this reading experience, though, was leaving the book at a Little Free Library deep in the remote Minnesota north woods. Someone is going to find this, read it, and be like “what the hell”? đŸ˜€

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