Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Book of the Book

Idries Shah's The Book of the Book is a fairly well known, well, book.

From this wiki page:

Author Idries Shah, distrusting critics' reviews of his books, wrote The Book of the Book (1969, ISBN 0-900860-12-X), which consists of sixteen written pages of reviews of itself. The rest of the book is intentionally filled with about 140 blank pages to give the appearance of a normal book. Initial reactions were generally negative, but over time critics have come to praise it.

I've flipped through this book online, and may even order it just to A, have a copy and B, see what it's all about but aside from that this has reminded me of another, similar book:

It is an anthology of imaginary reviews of nonexistent books. some of the reviews remind the reader of drafts of his science-fiction novels, some read like philosophical pieces across scientific topics, from cosmology to the pervasiveness of computers, finally others satirise and parody everything from the nouveau roman to pornography, Ulysses, authorless writing, and Dostoevsky.

This is A Perfect Vacuum by Stanislaw Lem, circa 1971.

There is also mention of a book entitled Investigations of the Writings of Herbert Quaine by Jorge Luis Borges but I can't find mention of it at his wiki page and very little else other than this page.

Either way this has started me thinking, not so much about the "antinovel" but really what's possible with experimental novels. Nothing experimental and/or different just for the sake of being different, mind you, but more along the lines of Experimental and False Histories.

I have some notes on it and I think it would run the gamut from alarmingly simple to nearly impossibly difficult to write. I may give it a go though. I have a title for it, translated into Latin to sound even more mysterious, but I'll hang onto that for now. It's not terribly original meaning that there are some books around like this, but not many and there hasn't been one with a cohesiveness to it as far as I've seen similar to my idea.

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