Tag Archives: reading

Finished Civilization: The West and the Rest

Quality read. I’d finished this a while ago and hadn’t gotten around to posting about it yet.

Glad I read it in Korea. The six killer apps are indeed insightful for explaining why the West succeeded over the Rest.

One point stuck out: Japan copied everything Western in the 1800s and Korea’s doing much the same thing now. Koreans work like Americans and buy like 3 Americas. They work hard, they drink hard, they build, they build, and build some more.

Read and finished Fight Club last week

Excellent read. Coming as it did after The Fountainhead and The Help, Fight Club provided a welcome change of pace. Chuck Palahniuk’s debut novel has the quintessential unreliable narrator and its laconic phrasing packs a punch into virtually every sentence.

Much has been said about Tyler Durden and how he exhorted men to become more than their jobs and their bank accounts, but something else worth considering is that the novel came out around the time when The Joy Luck Cub and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, a fact that Palahniuk notes in his Afterword. He mentions them because he saw Fight Club as a male counterpoint to those two novels about women being together. Indeed, having reread The Joy Luck Club earlier this year, I can see his point. Both were about sharing yourself and learning from your past, but Fight Club happens to hit harder.* This young man relates more to the story of Tyler Durden and its themes of self-destruction and self-improvement.

* This is not meant to take away from The Joy Luck Club‘s good qualities. Amy Tan’s novel has a more sophisticated structure than Palahniuk’s. Tan’s multiple narratives and voices blend together to vividly illustrate how geography, culture, and language shape mothers and daughters. Fight Club, on the other hand, could take place in any US thanks to its Everyman narrator and anonymous buildings.