Book Review: Welcome to the Desert of the Real

Book Review: Welcome to the Desert of the Real

First off—I’m a little behind. I like to have all of my book reviews posted (ideally) before the new month begins, or a couple days in. However, it is May 12th, close to the midway point & I am just now posting this book review!

For the month of April I read Welcome to the Desert of the Real by Slavoj Zizek. My husband recommended I read this book & we tend to have different taste in terms of reading material. Nevertheless, I felt it was about time I read something of his, so here we are.

Welcome to the Desert of the Real is an extremely short (164 pages) philosophical book that discusses how society responded to the September 11th attacks in both a political & ideological view. The book was published shortly after the attacks, in 2002 by Verso Books.

The author, Slavoj Zizek is a Slovenian philosopher who has a very impressive background. Currently he works as a senior researcher at the Institute for Sociology and Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana, in addition he is also a Global Distinguished Professor of German at New York University, and last but not least, Zizek is the international director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities of the University of London. That’s a lot!

At this point I’m going to reveal that I am not huge into philosophy. I took a couple courses in college & they were okay, but for me philosophy is just not my cup of tea. Which leans me into the reason why

a. it took me so long to read this book
&
b. why it took me so long to write this review

The reason is simple, I just really didn’t LOVE this book.

Now, this book is not bad by any means. I think that if you are into philosophy, theological ideas, political analysis & discussion, etc. etc. you may really enjoy this book. The thing is, I tend to read as a form of escapism. I like to get lost into a different world & experience it as my own. With all that being said, I actually do really enjoy nonfiction & since I started this blog I have read I believe 3 nonfiction books, but generally I like to read memoirs/biographies, historical nonfiction, motivational nonfiction, etc. not philosophical nonfiction.

Welcome to the Desert of the Real is a very readable book for its genre. The book is generally easy to read. A lot of the wording, phrases, ideas, etc. are not too over the top so I feel like an average, everyday person could pick up this book, understand what the author is trying to say, & be able to comprehend it. Sometimes with some philosophical or heavy political texts, it can be difficult to read in some cases, especially if you are not well-versed in that specific subject.

In addition, it is a very short book. A lot of philosophical books can be on the longer side as some philosophers have a tendency to drag on– However, while this book did have pretty long chapters on average 30+ pages, overall it was a short book. I didn’t like how long the chapters were because I don’t like to stop in the mid

While I overall didn’t love the book & at times found it rather boring, it was an interesting topic & did hold my interest throughout. I will say, Welcome to the Desert of the Real felt a little outdated at times, it was written over a decade ago. Many of the ideas he brought up I felt have now been discussed or are a part of our everyday understanding of certain attitudes & events, however there are other viewpoints and ideas he talks about which were surprising & interesting.

To sum up– if you are looking for a quick, philosophical read that discusses the September 11th attacks, then maybe this book is for you. As for me, I don’t think I will be picking up another philosophical book for awhile & might not read anything my husband suggests for the next few books.

Cheers & stay chic!
-Taylor

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