Yes, yes, we all appreciate the people that read. We are awed at the mere sight of them and deep down inside, we all envy them… even if we don’t admit it.

The Hell Book by Carlo Frabetti


Indeed all books may look like an arch-enemy when you don’t have time for them. And your personal library may become your very own personal Hell with piles of threatening books and rivers of words flowing menacingly.

Well, sometimes, Hell is a library. Luckily, only in fiction. Carlo Frabetti’s Hell Book is a very brief journey in Dante’s Inferno, Greek mythology and mathematics. Don’t be scared though.

It’s made of short stories that are paradoxical, the least to say. If stripped down of the logical and mathematical ideas, the book has the same structure as Dante’s Inferno.  The main character is dragged through the nine circles of Hell, having to answer a mathematical question at the exit of each.

Does it sound like a piece of cake? Would you like to see if you could get out of Hell? Consider this situation: suppose you’d have access to all the books in the world and you were asked to make a register of all the non- self- referential books. Could that book really be complete?

The correct answer is no. The Register of Non- Self- Referential Books ought to be in this register. The register in itself is indeed non- self- referential book. But, if included, Register of Non- Self- Referential Books would become a self- referential book; thus the paradox.

How many of you still think you would be able to escape Hell?