In Which We Learn There’s Still A Chance For Gravity’s Rainbow

September 14th, 2005 · 7 Comments
by Booksquare

It is rare that the husband is able to lord his reading prowess over us, but it happened once (and he, being the type who recalls the 1972 World Series as if it were yesterday, relishes the memory a little too often). We’re sorry, but we have attempted Gravity’s Rainbow from the front, back, middle, and sides — it is the only Thomas Pynchon title we have tossed aside in defeat.

Maybe it was the bananas, maybe it was the rockets, maybe we just didn’t get it.

But there’s hope. Minor hope, sure, but anything to make those little games of oneupmanship less unpleasant is fine with us. The British, always innovative, have realized that certain classics are inaccessible. Some are too long. Some are too dense. Some are just plain boring.

For the latter, nothing can be done. For the others, new translations, helpful chopping of long, hard-to-stuff-into-a-briefcase-or-purse books into smaller tomes, and taking out the hard stuff is the answer. Note: if readers don’t get the major concepts in A Brief History of Time, taking out the math isn’t going to help much. We are not all astrophysicists. Sometimes you must accept that you are not as in touch with the workings of the universe as Stephen Hawking and that’s okay. That’s what the movie is for.

File Under: Books/Mags/Blogs

7 responses so far ↓

  • Brenda Coulter // Sep 14, 2005 at 11:58 am

    For cryin’ out loud, the book was only a measly 182 pages to begin with. But when I blogged about this on Monday, nobody chimed in to echo my disgust.

    Blast it all, I want somebody to care!

  • Booksquare // Sep 14, 2005 at 12:17 pm

    Measly 182 with math. And I do care, just not enough to have run out to the garage (it was cold!) and count pages. Also, that would have required heavy lifting and heaving and such. I am chiming in my own, slow, pathetic, no time to read anything but the RSS feeds sort of way.

    It’s physics — sure, it’s ostensibly physics for the masses, but it’s not something that everyone can understand. I understand it, but I don’t understand baking. Different brains for different folks.

    I am reminded of Einstein’s introduction to either his book on general or special relativity (I believe general as I found that one harder) where he stated that he was going to describe the theory in terms that anyone could understand. Yeah, anyone who understands the time-space continuum and related stuff (that’s a technical term).

  • Jill Monroe // Sep 15, 2005 at 7:36 am

    I’m looking forward to the updating of theories – there’s been some changes in the String Theory.

    Brenda – I’ll head over to your blog right now!

  • Booksquare // Sep 15, 2005 at 8:52 pm

    Jill, the thought that you wrote the words “String Theory” scares me. Also, I need help….please send lifeboat!

  • Jill Monroe // Sep 16, 2005 at 4:46 am

    Well, what would the words “Super String Thoery” do to you? The String Theory was the only NOVA episode I ever tried to order. The other being on art forgeries.

  • jim // Sep 19, 2005 at 8:32 am

    This all kinda reminds me of the way they come out every few years with Bibles that are translated for the “hip” “younger” generation.

    And with the first season fof Slings and Arrows (a show that Booksquare really needs to get on board with) fresh in my mind, I’m still waiting for the update of Hamlet’s third soliloquy that goes:

    “To be, or not to be, whatever.”

  • Ken // Sep 19, 2005 at 1:32 pm

    Actually, my neighbor Leonard is the co-author of the new Hawking book. I’ll have to find out what bits changed and then I can read just those. That should save me another twenty-five minutes.

    And you’re not alone on the Gravity’s Rainbow thing. It took me many tries to get through the first 150 pages, but after that I couldn’t read it fast enough. So when I went back a couple of years ago to re-read it, I expected to power right through, only to get stuck in the same place again. Perhaps one of the reasons that the book has the talismanic power that it does is that it requires a realignment of your thought process to really get into it, and that realignment is perversely impermanent.