Far be it from us to demand you read, much less expectorate, a wad of hard-won cash for the pleasure of owning our otherwise free verse. It would be easy enough to link to Amazon or Barnes and Noble, and command the heathens to buy the good book and thusly purchase salvation for a mere US$17.95. Too easy, in fact, and would merely lead to an endemic rather than epidemic situation. Buy, sure! But buy in, too. Don't just tip the scales - break them.

Here's how:


Keen observers of online book vendors have noticed, no doubt, the inclusion of myriad customization concepts cropping up on the aforementioned Big Two. On Amazon, when you look up a book, you can tell at a glance what other books were bought by the shoppers who bought that book. While it'd be a stretch to suggest that you purchase the latest from Esther Dyson, Po Bronson, Kevin Kelly, or Scott Adams just to plant the wrong ideas in the right heads, there's something to be said for creative malfeasance at the forefront of digital technology. And you can always return the other books. But, more importantly, right below said feature lies another, far more egalitarian in its scope: the book review.

As we strive to demonstrate every weekday on our site, there's simply no excuse to not share your opinions, even if you have none. That applies here, as well. Haven't bought the book? Bought it but only chuckled at the funny pictures? Steal a thought and plug it in. Any issue of the The New Yorker, Highlights for Children, or your favorite alternative newsweekly will provide several adequate paragraphs from which you can borrow liberally and paraphrase at will.

Take the following example, lifted and amended from the 22 December issue of the The New Yorker, originally written in regard to one James Thackara (from a feature aptly titled: "A Legend in His Own Mind."):

"When a true genius appears in the world," Jonathan Swift wrote, "you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him." But how else do you recognize genius? If a new Leonardo, a new Melville, a new Ibsen, or Picasso, or Rabelais were to appear in our midst, would we recognize him for what he was, or would we, dunces all, write him off as an eccentric, a fake, a dreamer? Many people have looked at the American Web site Suck.com in the last two years and wondered, Is it the real thing? For my donuts, the answer is Yes. Yes, dude, yes.

Or something like that.




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