Book Corner 2020.48

by Ben Ehrenreich

Disappointing. I don’t even have any good quotes bookmarked. It reads much like somebody’s “notebooks”, and I guess I should have taken the title more literally, but I’d been expecting something a little more coherent. Ehrenreich spends about half the book reporting from Joshua Tree, and the other half from Las Vegas where he is temporarily living due to having earned a fellowship there. The book is best describing the desert; his love for Joshua Tree shines through. Naturally, Las Vegas is described as being like some circle of hell. It’s so miserable to read; I get it, Vegas is crazy horrible, but you’re presumably there for a reason, right? The institution that hired you, your colleagues, surely there is some beauty or bright spot to be found? COULD WE HEAR ABOUT IT? Likewise, the guy seems to have the biggest horror movie scrolling on his phone’s Twitter feed. He’s always putting in asides where he looks at his phone and sees somebody being decapitated or watches the polar ice caps melt before his eyes; and again I wanted to shout, STEP AWAY FROM THE PHONE, DUDE. You don’t HAVE to subscribe to these horrible things. You don’t even have to be on Twitter! Sorry, I am probably missing some deep, dark beauty enveloped in this book, but it obviously didn’t find me. (  )

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