I am going to try a little experiment in the coming days, something that, if it works, may closer match the spirit of The Unliterate Review.
I first thought of the idea for the Unliterate Review when I read an article in the New York Times, in which Steve Jobs basically said that Amazon’s Kindle was a pointless concept because people no longer read books. The idea was to write a blog about books for people who don’t read. My original intent was to write snarky semi-sarcastic posts about literary topics that my intended audience would most likely not give a damn about in the first place. But I don’t do snark all that well. Also, I find the whole snarky, mocking, everything is *fail* vein of the blogosphere somewhat tiresome. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to put myself above the fray. I’ve defended those types of blogs. I read them. I love With Leather and FireJoeMorgan. They do snark very well. But there is a legion of imitators who do not. I don’t want to be one of them.
More importantly, I love books. Those who know me would agree that I like books more than I like most people. It would be impossible for me to write about books in anything other than an earnest manner.
So onward to this experiment, which I am calling, “Your Designated Reader.” I will choose a novel that I have not read, by an author with whom I am not very familiar, and chronicle my experience reading it. Basically, I will sit down and read a portion of the book and then write a post about it before my next sitting. In each post I will give a brief synopsis of what’s going on in the novel, introduce any new characters or plot developments, etc. I will also write about my impressions thus far, any new words I discover, a certain passage that reminded me of something else, or anything I feel like talking about that day.
For this experiment, I’ve selected “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” the debut novel by Junot Diaz, which just won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Diaz is the brightest new star in the literary world. I’ve only read one of his short stories from “Drown.” I don’t really have a strong impression of his writing, so I’m looking forward to diving in. Please join me.
For those who don’t read or have no intentions of reading the novel, you can view it as a highly personal and subjective Cliffs Notes version of the book. I have no qualms about you outsourcing your literacy to me. Consider me your reader-monkey.
For those who want to read along-GREAT! I welcome your comments. It could be our little reading group; or, most likely, one man’s conversation with himself.
For those of you who’ve already read the novel and think I’m a pretentious asshole-EVEN BETTER! I welcome your comments as well. You can come off as pretentious assholes with me. It’ll be fun.
It could be a recipe for disaster, but maybe it could turn out to be, in the words of Norman Mailer, a “special and peculiar” experience.