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Saturday, September 13, 2008

LibraryThing Early Review

Doctor Olaf Van Schuler's Brain
by Kristen Menger-Anderson

Finally! An Early Reviewer book that conforms to my credo: I'd rather be offended than bored.

This debut book is quirky, providing a kind of personal history of New York, seen through episodes in the lives of one family, starting from the time when New York was a Dutch colony. It reminds me of Muybridge's moving pictures - light flashing through slits - anything but continual, yet elegantly fascinating. The points of view shift, the focus is on the smallest details of everyday life: smells, moments of experience. Interesting enough as that is, when you add in the obsession of the main family characters with the brain, and the changing paradigms that prevail over history, the book moves into the truly engrossing. I have read a couple of pages straight away of each ER book I have received, and this was the first that I had to continue reading immediately. In other words a great score for me and a great read.

Actually, it was not offensive, really, it was just not at all boring.

The marigold asks nervously:

I had a feeling that these books would be a fabulous source of new reading. So far, apart from Doctor Olaf Van Schuler's Brain, I seem to find that they fall into the acceptable but boring category, rather than the offensive but interesting category, which I prefer. The books vary from perfectly all right to pathetically awful. Not good enough! Where are the truly interesting books? Where?

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