One of my greatest regrets was not getting the point about and hence not taking lit classes back in secondary school. When I was 14, I pretty much hated whatever we had to read, which included My Fair Lady. I liked Animal Farm though but I struggled to come to terms with the subject in school in general. Which means, I got shit grades and defiantly opted for geography and history instead, which I realized were cakewalks since you just needed a good memory for those. Literature was a different beast which required a lot more opinion, which then required validation, which thus seemed far too troublesome. At the time at least.


I bring this up because, on my Melbourne trip and on a whim as it were, I chanced across some old lady selling books. I bought the one above because a.)I wanted to read something new, b.)The cover looked cool and the book old, c.) the lady in question was Russian, which somehow compelled me to pick up the book.

I didn’t even really bother to read what it was, neither did I have any inkling beforehand, through hearsay or otherwise, that the book was good. Ok, the lady told me it was good, but hey she’s selling it. I duly popped up my $9 and had reading material for a while.

I say a while because its not that easy to grasp. I find myself re-reading lines over and over at times because of the language and the manner of the book/s itself. I’ve only recently completed the first, Notes From Underground, which has a seriously nihilistic dude go on about how he is aside from society. He’s pretty relentless in presenting himself, defending the fact that he isn’t defending himself and painting himself as horrid and lofty at the same time. He’s harsh, critical, petty, quite loony and also a complete loser. At times, I feel like I can relate and at times, I feel utter contempt. Apparently, this character is the first anti-hero ever. I have to say, I find him far more bearable than Houlden Caulfield though.

The language is a little naggy, quite irritating and sort of tiresome in parts. I don’t mean to say the book is crap. Its just how the guy speaks. Peppering his sentences continually with “gentlemen” as he refers to his imaginary audience in a bid to reassure himself that he has one, not that he cares. He does constantly chide his audience for laughing at him. I can’t say I ever bawled out at anything he did. I was more filled with dread. He was like a concentrated hodgepodge of the nerdiest losers ever. You’re probably supposed to be filled with a certain disdain for this character, who is again perhaps a commentary on humanity itself. He doesn’t exist. He can’t logically speaking. I don’t see anyone capable of being quite so nihilistic or is that my optimism speaking? Yea, I suppose I don’t really like the guy or maybe I hope I never become him at least.

I do a double take now if I ever see the word underground being linked to some supposedly next level cool trend that I am not worthy of. I have also learned an underground, supposedly next level cool word with which I can call myself. An Obscurantist.

Ha-ha! {stupid poncey tone}