Thursday, July 19, 2007

On Becoming Re-literate

If memory serves me correctly (which it often does not), I used to read books - or the Cliff's Notes thereof (whenever it came to books relating to schoolwork, as time has never been on my side). Anyway, as business and art have eroded whatever leisure time I theoretically should have, I have not read a book from cover to cover in years.

Of the printed word, in recent time, I have read the following: Periodicals, reference books (open an arbitrary page and read as little as possible), and coffee table books (mostly for the pictures).

Of literature, as of late, I've downloaded free audio books (Creative Commons licensed mp3s of Public Domain books) at

And so I have elected to change my fate and thus picked up a book: Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. It inspired my favorite Pearl Jam album, Yield.

While I still have about 100 pages left to read, here's what I know so far: The book is about a wise, telepathic gorilla (Ishmael) who communicates with the narrator, teaching the narrator how to change the world. It is more of a dialogue between the teacher and the student.

Ishmael's analysis of the first few chapters of Genesis, how it relates to the beginnings of culture, was definitely a riveting read. I was pleasantly surprised how close my interpretation of the story of Cain and Abel was to the gorilla's (and thus the author's) interpretation.

If you've read the book before, I'd like to know what you think. If you haven't, either pick it up (and let me know what you think) or watch the Cliff's Notes...or Ed's Notes:

...and let me know what you think.

I'll be sure to write another entry with an official book report, as it were.

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