Thursday, 24 February 2011
how often do you read a book which might be the best?
Not often, that's how often, and there are some idiots who will tell you that it's subjective, anyway.
Because of this recommendation, I am most of the way through War With The Newts by Karel Capek.*
In a nutshell, it's a satire on the colonialism, race, science and the early 20th century. It's well-targeted at me, because these are what my PhD was about.** An isolated population of giant, intelligent salamanders is discovered, cut off from evolution in a salty lake. Given food and tools, their population explodes. I really enjoyed the first third; thereafter I was absolutely blown away. It's a crisp, funny, breathtaking, breathtaking book. Naming the best book you've read is a silly sort of exercise - but you can have a conversation about the subject, and WWTN is part of that conversation for me.
* 'Where have I heard that name?' you are thinking. Yes, he wrote the play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) which introduced the word 'robot' to the world.
** My PhD was not about newts.