Thursday, October 07, 2010

Books Read in 2010: "Anathem" by Neal Stephenson


This is another one of those books that, because of its size and scope, took a long time to get through. I started it before we left on our trip to Illinois at the beginning of August, so at least two months to work through nearly a thousand pages.

And it was good, but not the transcendent experience that some reviews led me to believe I would have. I wasn't sure how seriously to take the science, and whether it was based on real theoretical stuff that some readers were whooping over because "Yes, yes, yes! Someone gets it!", or if it was just "Star Trek"-like technobabble that didn't mean anything outside of the story that Stephenson wanted to tell.

May I also add that this is an example of how great ebooks can be. I bought both a paper copy of the book and the Kindle version from Amazon. As I mentioned above, the book is almost a thousand pages long, and even though I have the mass market paperback, it's a bit of a thing to schlep around. Between my Kindle and my iPhone, however, I could slip it into my bag or my pocket and dip into it easily whenever I happened to have a few minutes free. The paper copy, however, proved extremely useful when I wanted to look something up in the glossary that Stephenson put in the back of the book, or one of the appendices that explained the technobabble, since navigating on a Kindle is still a kludgy experience compared to the time-tested stick-a-finger-where-you-left-off-and-flip-to-the-back technique.

PLUS!, the ebook was priced at the same price as the mass market book. THIS MAKES SENSE! An ebook, especially a text-only, no value added edition, should cost at most as much as the least expensive print version.