I’m actively angry at this book.
“Probing my own experience, I discovered I generally find happiness in book reading when it’s desultory, unregulated, and somehow truant. I confess to taking gross liberties with traditional books, savoring the rule breaking, skipping forewords, concordances, and boring chapters, while lavishing prurient attention on jacket copy, dedications, and acknowledgements.”
So what you’re saying is you judge books by their covers and don’t pay attention while reading? That’s evident from the prose. Apparently Heffernan doesn’t pay attention while writing either.
This was supposed to be a book about the internet as art as per its subtitle. I don’t know what it’s actually about, other than Virginia Heffernan’s opinions and vocabulary. This reads like Jimmy James’ book from Newsradio, translated into Japanese and then translated back into English, turning “Jimmy James: Corporate Lion Tamer” into “Jimmy James: Macho Business Donkey.” Except this reads like a college student who wants to work in references to her favorite TV show or new tech device into every term paper, then run through a thesaurus a few times.
Why are we talking about The Sopranos, The Hurt Locker, and Norah Jones in a book that purports to be about the internet as art? And reread that quote up top, it’s one of the more readable portions, and that’s a travesty. For your reading pleasure: “and with that I discovered the apotheosis of data, the instant when pixels and bytes quicken into divinity,” and ” with little guilt I drank in the nondisturbance, which drowned out the black helicopters that swarmed around New York Harbor after 9/11, as well as the filibustering of hawkish pundits gunning for attacks on Tora Bora or Baghdad.” Again. In a book ostensibly about the internet as art.
This is written so obliquely and opaquely that I can’t even say I learned about Heffernan’s experience of technology, even though that’s the closest thing to a topic this book could be about.
I don’t know how this was rated 4 stars on amazon, I think Heffernan must have asked everyone she has ever met for a five star rating. Zero stars from me, and I can’t wait to sell this back to the bookstore in the hopes it languishes on the shelf and inflicts itself on no other innocent reader.