Monday, December 26, 2005

Pitting Books Against Each Other

A passge from Cryptonomicon that made me laugh:

Enoch Root has wedged himself into the back of the fuselage, where it gets narrow, and is perusing two books at once. It strikes Shaftoe as typical--he supposes that the books say completely different things and that the chaplain is deriving great pleasure from pitting them against each other, like those guys who have a chessboard on a turntable so that they can play against themselves. He supposes that when you live in shack on a mountain with a bunch of natives who don't speak any of your half-dozen or so languages, you have to learn to have arguments with yourself.
I have not resorted to Enoch Root's reading method, but then I haven't lived in a shack on a mountain either. Still, there are quite a few piles of books around here. Maybe reading several at once Enoch Root style isn't such a bad idea, could make for some interesting mangling of stories. And then Einstein explained to Rumi that space and time are relative. He was about to go on when Clarissa came riding in on a tank armed to the teeth. "Have you seen Lovelace?" she asked. "I got a letter from him and it was all in code." Einstein and Rumi begin to argue about whether the code is poetic or mathematical. Clarissa finally decides to do something and runs them both over with the tank.