UBii: ‘I Know What I’m Doing’ by Hans Koning.

I was reading a great article by a man who goes by the name of Rob Ager on his site, Collative Learning. In this article he mentions that the film director Stanley Kubrick would

Use a simple method to expand his knowledge base. He would visit his library and select random books from random information categories, without even looking at the titles. He would then force himself to read those books. By doing this Stanley was forcing his mind to expand into new territory on a regular basis.

I thought that there has been no time more relevant than now — with more information available at the touch of a button than ever before — in which this technique would be highly profitable to my small but expanding brain. So I gave it a try. I popped into my local charity shop and blindly bought this novel. I knew nothing about it or it’s author. Hopefully by doing this I will also get you, the reader in on this invaluable unbiased information intake (UBii).

This novel was first published (by Penguin) in 1964, and is clearly set in that time period. The story concerns an girl born in England, just turning 20, who leaves a drab life in London and comes to a buzzing New York. This unnamed girl speaks in her own person, and this informal form of narrative is interrupted now and then by another, third-person voice who watches the action from a slightly different perspective.

She later finds herself flitting from city to city, New York – Los Angeles – New York – Los Angeles. As well as from man to man, ‘as light as a nymph, as empty as a ping pong ball’. But far from being a nihilistic tale of a girl who seeks to find nothing but satisfaction, we are given a relevant glimpse into the thoughts and actions of a young woman in the early 60s. She holds philosophies very similar to those held by many if not most of the young people found in our current society.

A perk I found in this book was that the chapters are a maximum of three pages long, I am not the world’s most enthusiastic reader and I was able to casually dip in and out of the book. It’s also a book where the characterisation of the protagonist is clearly defined and easy to associate with, I found myself eagerly taking an interest in where this girl would go next and what else she could possibly do.

I hope that I have been enabled to share at least a little bit of the knowledge I gained from reading this short and somewhat unique novel.

Should you read it?

Well… I do not see it as an essential, but if you are looking to expand your understanding of the somewhat useless, hedonistic and pleasure-driven existence held by the youth of today, this gives a first hand point of view.

It’s available on Amazon and other places now.

3 thoughts on “UBii: ‘I Know What I’m Doing’ by Hans Koning.

  1. I like your methodology of expanding your knowledge. I recently finished reading this novel; it’s the weakest Koning I’ve read. Give him another go if you get a chance – I especially recommend The Revolutionary. So good to meet another wordpresser who’s read it!

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