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3 books, 3 points: November 2017

3 books, 3 points

Reviewing 3 books in 3 bullet points

A little late, I know! Reading a lot for uni has meant I had to put ‘enjoyable’ reading on the back burner for a little bit. But this last month I’ve managed to read more, hurrah! I find as winter draws in, I just love snuggling up in a blanket with a good book on dark evenings. So, here’s what I read this month…

  1. We Need To Talk About Kevin, by Lionel Shriver
    – A classic ‘nature vs nurture’ debate, we learn about the upbringing of Kevin, the thoughts and actions of his mother and father. A full on race of a story, this book hits hard and doesn’t shy away from sensitive issues.
    – I liked the truthfulness of the narration. We see the story through the eyes of Kevin’s mother and are privy to her inner monologue and the way she sees the world. The kicker is, should we believe her? I didn’t agree with many of her actions, but again found a strange sort of identification with others.
    – I guessed part of the end tentatively, but was totally unprepared for the revelation about Kevin’s actions – I had to sit and digest it for a while afterwards! I ended up entirely seeing the story from the view of ‘nature’, and I’d love to read it again from the view of ‘nurture’ and make my mind up! Although as in all these debates, it will probably end up being a little of both…
  2. Women And Power, by Mary Beard
    – I love Mary Beard and was excited to read this book, a slim manifesto, beautifully designed, describing the role women have played, and still play, in society. Mary details her own experiences with online abuse as well as outlining entrenched attitudes, and points out ways to change this.
    – Mary draws on examples from classical history as well as modern examples to illustrate her points – I’m relatively naive about classical literature and feminist perspectives, but as I read on, as well as learning a lot,  I found myself feeling this book is somewhat of a call to action – and a very well written one too.
    – I’ll read and re-read this book. As a first read, it provoked a lot of emotion and frustration, and then, a resolve. I feel that I’ll discover many different layers with each reading. Thoroughly recommended.
  3. Homo Deus, by Yuval Noah Harari
    – The follow-on to Sapiens, Homo Deus details our society today and outlines where we as a species are heading in the future. I like the way Harari writes about humans as a species – too often we think of ourselves as at the pinnacle of evolution, when really humans, along with all other life, are still evolving.
    – This book details our relationship with technology and introduces big concepts such as the difference between intelligence and consciousness, the evolution of artificial intelligence, and the role of homo sapiens in a future where ‘dataism’ replaces religion. I was enthralled by this book – and spent many evenings debating the ideas within!
    – Homo Deus made me want to unplug from the net, whilst at the same time realising that we have become driven by data – many algorithms knowing us better than we know ourselves. With the advent of genetic testing companies such as 23andme, does the future of humanity now lie in the concept of dataism, and if so, is that a future I want? Harari debates the notion that homo sapiens will no longer be relevant in this future. So will we evolve? Or does the future hold something completely different?

Best of the 3: Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari.
This was the hardest month yet to choose my favourite! I loved all of these books and would heartily recommend every one of them! But Homo Deus just pipped it for me, I think because of the debate it encouraged and the ideas it introduced me to. I’m still mulling over the concepts, and will probably go back and re-read both Sapiens and Homo Deus. Great books!

If you’ve read any of the books above, I’d love to hear what you thought! And of course I’d love any book recommendations 🙂 See you next month for more books!

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