Hey Nostradamus! by Douglas Coupland

Hey Nostradamus!
Douglas Coupland
(Random House of Canada, Toronto: 2004)

READ: January 2008

Possibly the most puzzling Douglas Coupland I have ever read. For a book I'm not even sure I liked, it really grabbed me - I couldn't put it down, and I couldn't stop thinking about it whenever I wasn't reading it, and even now that I'm done.

As a general rule, I like Coupland. He is, mostly, brilliant: witness Jpod, Microserfs, Generation X, and Life After God, to name a few. But then he'll fall into a dismal hole of ... well, I don't even know how to describe it. Girlfriend in a Coma, which I read years and years ago, was one of those abysmal moments. In fact, it turned me off Coupland altogether for about 3 years. From what I actually managed to read of it, Polaroids from the Dead was another. It's as if, every now and then, Coupland just becomes too self-aware of his brilliance, and he just inputs too many of his conventions and his what-it-is-that-makes-him-brilliance (his je ne sais quoi, as it were), and the result is overloaded and heavy.

But Hey Nostradamus! doesn't quite do that. It tries to - it tries very hard to be too self-aware and too Couplandesque - but it never quite manages it. And so you end up with this: a book that ought to be terrible, but isn't. Damn you, Coupland, for writing a book I want to dislike but can't!

2008 Booklist

  1. Hard-to-Answer Questions About Japan by Uchiike Hisataka and Michael Brase

  2. Tales Before Tolkien: The Roots of Modern Fantasy, ed. Douglas A. Anderson

  3. Hey Nostradamus! by Douglas Coupland

  4. Your Own Worst Enemy: Breaking the Habit of Adult Underachievement by Kenneth Christian

  5. The Annotated Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, annotated by Douglas A. Anderson

  6. The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler

  7. Islam: Art & Architecture, ed. Marcus Hattstein and Peter Delius (unfinished)

  8. Next by Michael Crichton

  9. The World's Greatest Art : Asian Art by Michael Kerrigan (re-read)

  10. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

  11. What the Body Remembers by Shauna Singh Baldwin

  12. Journeys of Frodo by Barbara Strachey

  13. The Bells of Nagasaki by Takashi Nagai

  14. Vintage Ondaatje by Michael Ondaatje

  15. Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky

  16. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: And Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks

  17. Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance by Noam Chomsky

  18. Stitch 'N Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook by Debbie Stoller

  19. You Grow, Girl: The Groundbreaking Guide to Gardening by Gayla Trail

  20. Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy by Noam Chomsky

  21. Not on the Label: What Really Goes into the Food on Your Plate by Felicity Lawrence

  22. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

  23. Les Enquêtes de Vipérine Maltais: Mortels Noëls by Sylvie Brien

  24. First Democracy: The Challenge of an Ancient Idea by Paul Woodruff

  25. The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel

  26. The Dog Who Wouldn't Be by Farley Mowat

  27. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan

  28. The Rebel Sell: Why the Culture Can't Be Jammed by Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter

  29. A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick

  30. The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester

  31. The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan

  32. Butterfly Mind: Revolution, Recovery, and One Reporter's Road to Understanding China by Patrick Brown

  33. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto by Chuck Klosterman

  34. 20,000 lieues sous les mers by Jules Verne

  35. What Just Happened by James Gleick

  36. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

  37. Discoveries: Van Gogh: The Passionate Eye by Pascal Bonafoux

  38. Van Gogh by Keith Wheldon

  39. Guide: Van Gogh Museum from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam