Sunday, August 8, 2010

'Absence of mind' by Marilynne Robinson

So back in June I was enjoying a weekend in Blackheath when I read this article on Marilynne Robinson’s new publication, ’Absence of mind’. I was blown away by the extract and was motivated enough to get a few people in my world to agree to read the whole book with me.

We’re starting on August 15 and I’m guessing we’ll take around 3-4 weeks to finish it. The plan is we’ll all meet up to talk about what we thought at the end. Just like a real book club! Except I refuse to use that term because of the nanna-ish images it conjures up.

Basically, the book is a printed version of the lecture series Robinson did at Yale last year as part of the Terry lectures. Before this, I hadn’t even heard of the Terry lectures, which are interesting in themselves. I’m looking forward to getting down to discuss the ideas in the book with people whos intelligent opinions I value very much. So far I've convinced a physicist, a law student and a nurse to read with me.

Even though I’m not yet the greatest debater, I do think a few people reading the book with me will have some interesting responses to the arguments Robinson puts forward. It’s also a side project of mine to push myself to start engaging in debates more, so that I can start to rely on my ability to argue a point coherently. Hopefully I’ll survive the discussion and post a review in September.

P.S. there are some more reviews of the book here, here, here, and here.