"Hell is paved with good intentions." - Cicero

Friday, February 24, 2006

My New Favorite Book

"Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out."
- James Bryant Conant

I'm only about a sixth of a way through Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, and I consider it one of the best books I've read in years. It completely trumps anything written by Chuck Palahniuk.

The book is written from the point of view of a tortoise from the 18th century, living in the garden of an English curate, Gilbert White. The tortoise is named Timothy, obviously. What's very interesting is Timothy's view on humanity, questioning their fundamental instincts.

At one point, he asks about what would happen if he spoke to Mrs. White while she is petting his shell (focusing mainly on her interrupting his daily meditations in the foliage. The point of this fantastic interaction is that it's not impossible; Timothy merely chooses not to speak to people. The question this book poses to mankind is the thing that is always overlooked (especially in metaphysics): "Why not?"

Why not, indeed! Why can't tortoises share their wisdom with us? Everything is possible! Since humans thrive on conflict, we decidedly make things impossible. Timothy cynically shares his philosophy with us in this brilliant novel. I highly recommend it to anyone who can find it in themselves to stop rushing about and adopt the composure of the animal that time forgot.

Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile
by Verlyn Klinkenborg is availible in major booksellers around the country. The price is $16.95 USD and it's money well-spent.


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