Special Topics in Calamity Physics - Marisha Pessl There are plenty of reviews on how Special Topics is flawed. It's not well plotted out. It's too long. The dialogue is unconvincing. It's pretentious.

It's all true.

And I liked this book anyway. In fact, I liked it so much I couldn't put it down. That is, until my prescription meds kicked in. (It was my main source of entertainment during a rather persistent and relentless bout of the flu or cold or plague. The book, not the drugs).

The literary devices Pessl uses seem to be a recurrent source of scorn. I rather enjoyed trying to draw the connections between the chapter titles (all of which were named after classic works) and the chapters themselves. Many times, those connections seemed somewhat obscure. But I'm also more than willing to admit that I have actually read only a handful of the books though I have a bluffable background in several additional ones. I have no doubt that I missed numerous subtle references.

I also thought Pessl's annotations of Blue's narrative with the books she has read to be an ingenious affect. The notion of someone interpreting the world through the books they have read is one that probably appeals to any Goodread member. The physical act of documenting that perception with a personal library reminds me of those secret self-indulgent thoughts people have about what songs make up the soundtrack to their life.

Special Topics is ultimately a mystery so I'm hesitant to reveal too much about the content. A quick Google search revealed that Pessl published this debut novel at the enviable age of 27 to critical acclaim back in 2006. The New York Times listed it as one of the best books that year and apparently a movie is now in the works. So, I guess I see why people are eager to find ways to hate this book.

However, if you listen to NPR, like books, ever had a Che t-shirt and stories of precocious kids bring nostalgic moments instead of mutterings of "nerds", you may enjoy this book.

And, if you don't, please keep in mind I told you I was on drugs at the time.