Doctorow’s ‘Andrew’s Brain’ (But On Second Thought . . .)

Got the hot new book, published this month, ink’s still wet. E.L. Doctorow’s “Andrew’s Brain.”

It’s a pretty weird book. At least it’s not long. Even as a short novel, I’m not sure I’ll be able to finish it.

You’ve heard of writer’s block? Well, for the past month or two, I’ve had a touch of reader’s block. I need something good to read. I’ve picked up some promising books, but nothing seems to hold my attention. The exceptions are John Grisham’s “Sycamore Row” and Michael Connelly’s “Gods Of Guilt.”

I don’t blame my reader’s block on authors, although I think some of the books I picked up before Christmas might have been over-hyped. I think the reader’s block is seasonal, related to my annual holiday blues/winter depression.

I don’t think Andrew’s Brain is something I should read right now, given my state of mind. It’s a narrative of fictional talk therapy between a therapist (named Doc) and a patient (Andrew) who is a “cognitive scientist.” The book has to be good, because Doctorow wrote it. I liked “Ragtime” and I vaguely remember “Loon Lake.” “Homer & Langley” was OK. But I think Andrew’s Brain might be too strange and apparently too vaguely plotted for me at this moment.

There. I’ve persuaded myself to put it down. Maybe I’ll try it again on a bright spring day. What I need right now, in the bleak of winter, is escapism. If I can’t literally escape to Southern Florida until at least Groundhog Day, escapist fiction will do. See Grisham and Connelly, above, about whom I’ve already written to much. Anything with a good plot and interesting, believable characters. May be I should read Doctorow’s “The March.”

No. I think what I need is something not so heavy. Sue Grafton, maybe. Wish I could remember where I left off in her alphabet of mysteries.

Do you have any suggestions?

— John Hayden</strong>

8 thoughts on “Doctorow’s ‘Andrew’s Brain’ (But On Second Thought . . .)

  1. I just finished Ben Fountain’s “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk”. I have mixed feelings about it, but do believe it to be a worthwhile read. It left me with a lot to think about, so it may fail as an escapist read. I need an infusion of short story reading, so I have a collection that I’m starting soon (21 Essential American Short Stories, Ed. Leslie M. Pockell).


  2. Hey Hon! How’ve ya been? One of my favorite books ever is “A Dog’s Purpose.” Also, “First Family” about John and Abigail Adams. Another is “Dangerously Funny,” about the Smothers Brothers, by David Bianculli


    • I read the best selling biography titled simply “John Adams.” So I know I’d like “First Family.” And the Smothers Brothers. I loved the Smothers Brothers. I could use some Smothers Brothers right now.


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