Tuesday, February 24, 2009


When is a carrot not a carrot?

While this is not the driving question of Neal Stephenson's new book, Anathem, the answer to the question provides a decent summary of the story. In short, a carrot is not a carrot when it is grown on the planet Arbre, which is similar to Earth in many ways, but distinctly different in others.

In this book, you will learn more about Arbre, including the historical timeline of events and rich cultural traditions of their academic (or "mathic") world.
You will get to know Fraa Erasmus, a young man who has lived for the last 9 years in the Concent of Saunt Edhar, studying and pursuing a life of research and contemplation.
Just when you start to enjoy the idea of life without technology and material goods, Erasmus will be evoked -- sent out from the Concent into the Extramuros world. Erasmus and his friends will go on an adventure beyond their wildest dreams ...an adventure to save their world.

Why I loved listening to the audiobook:
The audiobook features great narrators, several different voices, all working to create this story in my mind as I listened. Because Neal Stephenson makes up words like he's J.R.R. Tolkein trying to cheat at Scrabble, having a narrator pronouncing everything for me was a real blessing.

Dan and I listened to the 28 disc, 34 hour sound recording of Neal Stephenson's book Anathem, mostly together, or at least in the same 6 week period.


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