Work in progress book review – Saramago – The Notebook

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This is the collected blog entries of deceased Nobel prize winning Portuguese author Jose Saramago. I bought the book after Ursula Le Guin (also deceased) raved about it.  It’s interesting to see this is what someone I aspire to aspired to.

I am just picking my way through it. It’s all very noble and worthy but quite dull. Saramago is opinionated. In some or most areas I don’t have the historical knowledge to disagree with him. I haven’t read all the way into it and possibly there are some gems but mostly it’s as dry as the hills of Lanzarote where he lived.

I think to some degree once writers become a publishing monolith any excess material, diaries, blogs, memoirs can be churned out and people pick over the bones. I agree that poets sometimes bring fresh air to a stale debate like the Israeli-Palestinian affair but probably their emotionality gets lost in tomes of diplomatic data. We live in quite a data society not a feeling society.

I will keep going. This book is worth it. Sometimes you get the flash of azure, the mercurial moving of a genius mind. A lot of it is about political events and film screenings he goes to.

Most people around me don’t discuss books and I fear in this age of Candy Crush fewer and fewer are reading. Like we have forgotten how to read. I do sense my own attention span narrowing in the pull of Facebook and in the chalk mountains of this book it’s hard to maintain interest. Maybe we will become like the Eloi where the books just turn to dust.

Who knows.

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