For the first time in months, I’ve changed the “currently reading” information on the side of this page. I finished A Secular Age by Charles Taylor last night around 11:00. I’d made that commitment earlier in the day and then, with 30 pages left, made my way for an evening mostly away from home. So it finally happened, though not at the highest level of excitement on my part.
Taylor says a lot in the 700+ pages of the book, so I imagine that I’m “done” with the book in one sense but not in others. A lot of what he wrote over a decade ago is still applicable for us today. I’m tempting to go back and reread Jamie Smith’s book “explaining” ASA (it came out in 2014 and I read it quickly as it was much, much shorter and less expensive than Taylor’s tome). It’s an interesting historical survey of the last 500 years (how does anyone hold all of that in one’ head for so long?) that makes many connections that I still see resonating today. So maybe I’ll give it a couple of days before looking back over my annotations in the book.
Today I got my copy of the new Dave Eggers novel in the mail. The Every is a sequel to The Circle, which I remember buying at a bookshop outside Windsor Castle during my first trip to England years ago. That novel was intended to be a page turner, a story that escalated into almost-absurdity. I’m not sure that translated well in the movie version (at least not for some viewers), but that’s okay. I’m a couple of chapters into the book and enjoying it. There’s a certain playfulness in both the text and in the features of the book itself reminiscent of early Eggers. I mean, the book is called The Every, but it also has three other (sub?)-titles: The Every or At Last a Sense of Order or The Final Days of Free Will or Limitless Choice is Killing the World. And the dustcover flap copy? Heh. Beyond that, there’s an interesting self-awareness in the storytelling and characterization that resonates on a basic level and that, so far, keeps you interested.
You can find a copy of one of the early chapters of the book here at Wired. I haven’t actually gotten to that chapter in the book. I imagine it might happen soon, but with Eggers you just never know.
I imagine it will take me a while to finish The Every. But I imagine it will be a quick 577 pages, especially when compared to A Secular Age.