I Cease to Understand the Acclaim

This is at the top of my 2022 list of "books that did not live up to the hype." When We Cease to Understand the World is marketed as a "fast-paced nonfiction novel" (what does that even mean) about scientific discovery. I like science. The books is effectively discussing some of the founding principles of quantum mathematics. It should be fascinating, but it was not. It was painfully boring.

This book is less than 200 pages and it took me four months to read. I kept actively avoiding it thinking that it would get better or more interesting, but it never did. The only reason I was able to finish it was because I used it to fall asleep in the previous weeks when suffering from mild insomnia.

The stories are only losely tied together. There is no cohesion to the overall story and I didn't feel like I understood the real theme that Labatut was trying to convey - other than madness and genius are closely related. The stories are gradually more fictionalized as you read through the book starting with a single paragraph at the beginning to an undisclosed amount towards the end. I guess that's how you define a nonficiton novel?

Overall, this was a loss for me. It was the closest that I came this year to a DNF book and I read this year. Perhaps, the only thing I'm learning is that I drastically disagree with major literary award winners. I guess I'm not literary. That's life. Read what sparks joy with you.


Short Stories