Monday, February 25, 2008

Old Book, New Book #4: GEB


So while I was waiting for Gödel, Escher, Bach to show up at the library (can I just say that I love using the online Hold Request system like a free literary Netflix account? Now if only they would send the books to my mailbox.), I picked up another Nick Hornby book, "About a Boy", in part inspired by enjoying the film, but also it was the only one on the shelf at the library I was at.

It ended up being a pretty quick read and different enough from the movie to keep me from knowing how everything was going to play out. I mean the plot was basically the same, but the years that it took place and some of the minor details were different.

Then I got a notice that my holds had arrived at the local library (I also requested Fodor's NYC 2008 to help plan my upcoming trip). I swung by to pick them up and only then did I come to realize what I was in for. This Gödel, Escher, Bach book was hefty. Like a paperback textbook. It clocks in at around 670 pages, and thats not counting the 20 page preface whether the author tries to explain what the book is about, because over the last 20 years he's heard too many people get it wrong.

So, I'm not saying I'm not going to read it, or even that I'm not excited to dig in (I'm currently about midway through the preface). Just that this book exudes the feeling that its not an ordinary book and that reading it is going to be an undertaking, not just a lark. But I kind of like that challenge. Wish me luck.


Kimberli Tripp said...

So What is GEB about?

j said...

Well thats hard for me to say given that I haven't read it yet. :) But from what I'm gathering from the 20 page preface, it has to do with self-awareness and with systems of meaningless symbols taking on meaning, and something called "strange loops". I'll let you know more when I've had a chance to dig into the text.

Kimberli Tripp said...

How did you come across this book?

j said...

One of my favorite Computer Science professors had a website where he would write about books that he had read and it was one of his favorites, so I've always kind of thought about reading it, even though I didn't know much about what it was about. I certainly didn't expect that it was going to be such a big book.

Sakievich said...

I'm so happy for you.