How do you read a book like The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick? A collection compiled from thousands of pages of typed and handwritten notes, journal entires, letters, and story sketches? Over 900 pages of what might amount to the babbles of a disjointed mind, a conspiracy theorist’s notebooks? You make it into a year-long group read, is how. There is safety, and sanity, in numbers. Also peer pressure. Peer pressure works very well when I’m having trouble finishing something.
Though I have never reviewed any of Dick’s books, I am a very, very, very, VERY big fan of his work. He was prolific enough to produce an unhealthy amount of garbage, but the gems, oh the gems! He was—IS—the master of the mind-bending twist, though terrible at writing women, and quick to slap together a hot mess in the name of a paycheck. Until I read The Exegesis, I will not be able to say I’ve read all of his books. Well, The Exegesis plus 19 more novels. I’ve only managed 25 of his 44 novels and seven of his 14 short story collections. And one biography. I’m getting there.
Who will join me in this noble (cough) quest! Who is brave enough, stupid enough, smart enough to read The Exegesis with me in 2016? At 900 pages (which doesn’t include the introduction or the end notes), joining in requires a committment of just 75 pages each month, a number, I think, that we can all get through; a length of time that should allow us to recover from whatever it is we find there.
At the end of each month I will post a recap and commentary of my Exegesis reading, as you do. If you are reading along you can leave your thoughts in the comments of those posts, or link up your own blog post about the month’s reading. When December 2016 rolls around, we can all check The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick off our reading lists, and that will truly be something to celebrate.
Just 75 pages a month.
I’m announcing the read-along now because I think we’re going to need time to mentally prepare. Order a copy now. Don’t get behind. Despair will be quick to follow. Seventy-five pages are doable, but 150 or 225 quickly starts to sound like a one-way ticket to solitary.
Below you’ll find the year’s reading schedule, each month captioned with one of the Twelve Phases of Reading the Exegesis of Philip K Dick (patent pending). I haven’t started reading yet, of course, but I have a feeling they are going to be pretty accurate.
2016 Exegesis Group Read Schedule
January: Let Us Hope that We Do Not Regret This (Introduction, Pages 1-75)
February: Read Quickly, While You Still Care (Pages 76-150)
March: This Man Is Insane (Pages 151-225)
April: This Man Is a Genius (Pages 226-300)
May: Nope, Definitely Insane (Pages 301-375)
June: Halfway There! Champagne! Rejoice! Embark With Renewed Motivation! (Pages 376-450)
July: Who the Fuck Does This Guy Think He Is? (Pages 451-525)
August: I Can’t Even (526-600)
September: Everything Suddenly Makes Sense! (Pages 601-675)
October: People’s Journals and Notes Should Be Burned, Not Published (Pages 676-750)
November: I Will Finish This Book If It Kills Me, and It Probably Will (Pages 751-825)
December: HOLY SHIT WE READ THE EXEGESIS (Pages 826-900, Afterward)
If we manage to do this thing together, we will have been through An Ordeal, and our friendship will be sealed for life. Or, scarred, we will go our seperate ways and never speak of it again.
Sign up in the comments below. Mention if you’d like to join the “poke-poke are you reading your pages?” motivational emails and such, should I be motivated enough to actually send them.