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Date: 18/04/2014
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Know a book by its title

"'Finnegan's Wake' - more unreadable than the Koran? Discuss." -- from a reader

Finnegans Wake (no apostrophe) is much more interesting than the Qur'an. It's a good book to take to the gym. Dive in to Anna Livia Plurabelle, swim a few laps, and then emerge dripping but well-satisfied.

Your question --what book is even more boring than the Qur'an -- is a good one. I don't have a specific book in mind (save perhaps the collected works of our last 4-5 presidents, secretaries of state, defense, and so on) but a good guide is to find books that contain, in their titles, some dead-giveaway words and phrases.

Here are fifteen:

1. Organizational Development

2. International Community

3. Palestinian (id est, "Palestinian")

4. Diversity (except if the author is E. O. Wilson, or any other biologist writing on bio-diversity)

5. Youth (save in "Childhood, Boyhood, and Youth" by Leo Tolstoy)

6. Gender

7. Hegemony

8. Dynamics (as in "Dynamics of Political Opposition" but not as in engineering and physics textbooks)

9. Challenge (the "challenge" of anything)

10.Change (as in "To Change the World")

11.Society (save in R. H. Tawney's "The Acquisitive Society" and Galbraith's "The Affluent Society")

12. Constructing (and Re-Constructing) unless, again, it is a book written for engineers or boys with Lego sets

13. Identity (except, possibly, in Angus Wilson's "Cards of Identity")

14. Management (unless used outside the world of business-school-speak-and-write-and-think, as in "The Management of Dreams")

15. YOUR ENTRY HERE

Postscript: Addendum or prolegomenon to any future or past or present metaphysics:

"Agenbite of inwit" is one of the recurring phrases in Ulysses, not in Finnegans Wake.


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