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The Browser's Ecstasy: A Meditation on Reading

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Louis Menand, writing in The New Yorker, called Geoffrey O'Brien's The Phantom Empire "a prose poem about the pleasures and distractions of movie-watching", "an ambitiously literary attempt to write about the (mystery of the) medium as though it were a dream the author had just awakened from". Now, in Tbe Browser's Ecstasy, O'Brien has written a prose poem about reading, a Louis Menand, writing in The New Yorker, called Geoffrey O'Brien's The Phantom Empire "a prose poem about the pleasures and distractions of movie-watching", "an ambitiously literary attempt to write about the (mystery of the) medium as though it were a dream the author had just awakened from". Now, in Tbe Browser's Ecstasy, O'Brien has written a prose poem about reading, a playful, epigrammatic nocturne upon the dream-state one falls into when "lost in a book", upon the uncanny, trancelike pleasure of making silent marks on paper utter sounds inside one's head.We call The Browser's Ecstasy a "Meditation on Reading", but like any truly original book -- and especially the short book that goes both far and deep -- it resists easy summary and classification. As Luc Sante once wrote, "The density of O'Brien's work makes word count irrelevant as an index of substance; he is seemingly capable of compressing entire encyclopedias into his parenthetical asides. I defy you to name any precedent for what he does. He's a school unto himself".


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Louis Menand, writing in The New Yorker, called Geoffrey O'Brien's The Phantom Empire "a prose poem about the pleasures and distractions of movie-watching", "an ambitiously literary attempt to write about the (mystery of the) medium as though it were a dream the author had just awakened from". Now, in Tbe Browser's Ecstasy, O'Brien has written a prose poem about reading, a Louis Menand, writing in The New Yorker, called Geoffrey O'Brien's The Phantom Empire "a prose poem about the pleasures and distractions of movie-watching", "an ambitiously literary attempt to write about the (mystery of the) medium as though it were a dream the author had just awakened from". Now, in Tbe Browser's Ecstasy, O'Brien has written a prose poem about reading, a playful, epigrammatic nocturne upon the dream-state one falls into when "lost in a book", upon the uncanny, trancelike pleasure of making silent marks on paper utter sounds inside one's head.We call The Browser's Ecstasy a "Meditation on Reading", but like any truly original book -- and especially the short book that goes both far and deep -- it resists easy summary and classification. As Luc Sante once wrote, "The density of O'Brien's work makes word count irrelevant as an index of substance; he is seemingly capable of compressing entire encyclopedias into his parenthetical asides. I defy you to name any precedent for what he does. He's a school unto himself".

30 review for The Browser's Ecstasy: A Meditation on Reading

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    A worthy addition to the growing books-on-books section of my library. Rhapsodic and insightful in equal measure, though some narrative and conceptual threads fall a little short. Perfect for browsing- to pick up and read a couple paragraphs from anywhere inside.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    This started very slow and very unusual. I almost gave it up but skimmed ahead. Really only those who enjoy reading about reading will enjoy this book

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Waggoner

    I garnered several insights into my reading meditation and thinking. This book opened my eyes in a very delightful way.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alexis

    Lovely little book of prose poetry re: reading.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kiri

    A book that will always be on my shelf. A treasure for those of us who love books.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michael Powell

  7. 4 out of 5

    mark mendoza

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mark Sandbothe

  9. 4 out of 5

    Noel

  10. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Sieben

  11. 4 out of 5

    Beth Shields-Szostak

    1st Printing

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mary Beth

  13. 5 out of 5

    Katie Day

  14. 5 out of 5

    ZoƩ Duhaime

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kim

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alexa Cascade

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tom Pare'

  18. 4 out of 5

    Janette

  19. 5 out of 5

    Glenn

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cornelia

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lucid

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ljstubbs

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jon

  24. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  25. 5 out of 5

    John

  26. 5 out of 5

    Leigh Hinton-Ridling

  27. 5 out of 5

    Roy Kenagy

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joan

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mike

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

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