Book Review: The Book Of Questions

The Book Of Questions, by Gregory Stock

This is not nearly as good a book as it should be. Indeed, this book is a book full of questions, some of which have follow-up questions, but there are a lot of assumptions that are at the base of the questions that are asked. These assumptions, as is often the case, did not match the experience or state of my own life, and so the questions were disappointing and revealed a certain shallowness in thinking on the part of the author. It is remarkable that someone who has claimed a high degree of fame for asking good questions cannot even bother to reflect upon the assumptions that he brings to conversations when those questions are asked. To be sure, a lot of this was probably statistical nature, and those whose lives are far more unusual than what the author is used to are going to find themselves missed by the author’s queries. Even beyond that, though, there are whole suites of worthwhile questions that are entirely missing and that demonstrate the author’s shallowness of thinking, in that he cannot bother to question or examine his own approach to life and his understanding that his questions may strike many who respond as being trivial and inessential and containing assumptions about the importance of his own thinking and feeling and not objective aspects of life and morality and worldview that exist beyond his understanding.

This book is almost 300 pages long and consists of about a question a page, some of them short and some of them lengthy to the point of about a paragraph in length. The questions involve what, to the author, is a wide-ranging set of topics relating to fantasy and the author’s view of moral dilemmas. In the author’s mind, there are no right and wrong answers, only honest or dishonest answers. And it is the lack of moral sense that really marks these questions. Still, even if the author has limited moral sense, the questions that are asked are at least sometimes questions that we should ask ourselves. We should ask ourselves how important it is for us to know things, even unpleasant things, about others, or how easy it is for us to feel envious of others, or what qualities matter the most in our children, those whom we fall in love with, or those we befriend. Admittedly this book does not wrestle with the deepest of questions, but they are the deepest of questions our corrupt contemporary elites are able to handle, and so it is worthwhile as well to consider what ground the author does not consider worth wrestling with as a means of moral improvement.

Some readers may find this book more enjoyable than I did. Some of the questions are certainly worth answering, but a great many of them must be answered in many cases with further questions to help refine them and to bring out the author’s presuppositions and to critique them. It is probably for the best if this book and its questions are viewed as the start to more complex and nuanced conversation than the author tends to think, and it would certainly be worthwhile for the reader to ponder areas where the questions are a bit thin and to think of more questions that would fill in the gaps in the curiosity and interests of the writer that exist in the eye of the reader. A book like this is not so much an ending as a mediocre attempt at a beginning of using questions as a means of bridging the gap between people. Our questions express how it is we see the world, and what we see as natural and for the author it is natural to express queries about one’s partners and matters of fidelity and sexuality in a way that may not be natural or appropriate to everyone reading these books. Indeed, this book is reflective of the somewhat decadent and corrupt state of our world, and rather than elevating the tone of our conversation merely reflects the level of thinking that people tend to have, which is disappointing if ultimately not very surprising.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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