Reviews and meditations

On this bumper posting day (it being the weekend and all, and I am waiting for my laptop-repartitioning project to finish, so I can have have a go at playing “Lineage”: on it), it’s worth commenting on the “reviews” I’ve posted and will continue post in the future.

Basically, they’re not really reviews at all, in the newspaper, or magazine, or consumer-oriented website sense, where one would be looking for information about a product so as to know whether to track it down and devour it. There is, to what I write about the books and videogames I read and play, an element of evaluation, and I give everything a score. But more than that, they’re meditations on the form and content of those things: about what I liked and disliked, what worked well and what didn’t, what trends they might exemplify, and what they add to one’s experience of life (mostly, if at all, by imparting wisdom, which I would define, in contrast to intelligence, which is simply raw mental ability, as knowledge about how to live, and what to do in particular contexts).

There’s a significant diaristic element to these meditations. Art and ideas are important parts of my life, my experience of which is, to a large degree, an experience of reading, playing, writing, discussing, and thinking. Since March 2000, I’ve kept a personal record of my reading and gaming, that when I look back on the comments I left, can be a good reminder of the stage of development my own ideas were at, especially at the points where I read something that powerfully affected my outlook on life, like the novels of “Kenzaburô Ôe”: (mid-late 2001) or Wittgenstein’s _Tractatus Logico-philosophicus_ (February 2004); inspired a bombastic comment (in April 2002, after reading Peter Carey’s _Bliss_, I wrote: “May I be his heir to Australia’s literary throne”); or just plain made me want to cry, like Hanif Kureishi’s _Intimacy_ (May 2003). You can tell a lot about a person from the media they have on their bookshelves (unless they don’t have any, which is a warning sign if ever there was one), and even more by understanding the way they respond to it. So these “reviews” are a journey, of sorts, inside my mind. If you find something there that inspires you to go out and look for something I’ve read or played, then I suppose maybe it’ll act like a regular review after all. And I do give everything a score out of 10…

Oh, and just as a warning, I consider spoilers necessary to a thorough discussion of a text, so watch out: my “reviews” will be full of them.

Author: Ben Hourigan

Ben Hourigan is a novelist from Melbourne, Australia. His books Kiss Me, Genius Boy and My Generation’s Lament are Amazon category bestsellers, and are available wherever good books are sold online. Ben also works as an editor, copywriter, and self-publishing consultant at his own firm, Hourigan & Co. For news and book release updates, sign up to his email newsletter.