Monday, October 15, 2007

my dull weekend (but a great book)...

This weekend was one of trying and failing to work. Instead, I read a good book and had a rather dull visit to the Jewish History Museum in Waterlooplein.

It has a detailed and fancy website, and the exhibition is very informative regarding the Jewish history of Amsterdam. (It probably wasn't the museum that is dull, but myself.) It actually was not over-the-top tragic and I highly appreciated the approach.
Moreover it helps you figure a lot of street names in Amsterdam ;)

The only exciting part of my weekend was reading Les Particules Élémentaires (The Elementary Particles, or in "British" Atomised) by Michel Houellebecq. Almost 7 years ago when my by-then boyfriend suggested me to read a favourite book called Atomised, I put it on my top reading list, I even started a few pages and then absolutely forgot. Only now, (thanks to Wiki) I figure that it was the same book as Elementary Particles, and it was a fascinating book. Other than the side effects: nausea, inability to motivate oneself to do anything at all, depression, etc. As the New York Times described it, "a deeply repugnant read."

Follow the links for the plot and co, but shortly put it is about "love", sex, reproduction, molecular biology, existence, humanism contextualised to the last few decades of the western world...

Two fave quotes:
“I know, Bruno continued (..) Huxley’s world is usually described as a totalitarian nightmare, an attempt to pass the book as a vicious accusation. That’s most hypocritical. On all points, genetic control, sexual freedom, the struggle against old age, its culture of leisure – Brave New World is a paradise to us, in essence it is exactly the world we are trying to achieve, until now without success.”
“The belief in the free and rational determination of human actions, in particular, the belief in the free and rational determination of individual political choices, probably resulted from a confusion between the concepts of freedom and unpredictability. The turbulence of a river flowing around the supporting pillars of a bridge is structurally unpredictable, but no one would think to describe it as being free.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The last quote (about freedom and unpredictability) is excellent; very much connected (for me) with the idea of the Netherlands as a "free country".
First time see you blog, thanks, very interesting (true :) ), will try to check it more often; mine is in Russian unfortunately (?).