Wednesday, November 22, 2006


More book reviews. Why so many? I usually read about 150-200 books a year. I'll only be reviewing about the top 5%. Trying to make this your first stop when looking for a good book to read (come for the dudes in underwear, stay for fine literature).

* <-----------> ** <-----------> *** <-----------> **** <----------> *****
Easy - - Pretty Easy - - Moderate - - Pretty Challenging - - Challenging

Demian, by Herman Hesse
$10.80 at ISBN: 0060931914
** (pretty easy)
Full of dark atmosphere, foreboding, and redemption, this is the story o
f Sinclair, a boy from a small German village who has his traditional beliefs challenged when he encounters Max Demian, a mysterious student at his school. It's a great coming-of-age story, combined with some very interesting religious ideas. It'll open your mind to possibilities you probably hadn't considered. Especially fascinating is the worship of the obscure dark god Abraxas.

Two By Carrere, by Emmanuel Carrere
$14.00 at ISBN: 0805055878
** (pretty easy)
Another foreign coming-of-age story, this one set in France. Young Nicolas leaves his home and over-protective parents for the first time on a class ski trip. While ther
e, he gradually learns his idyllic family isn't all it seems to be, and starts a voyage of self-discovery that grips you until the startling conclusion. An easy to read thriller.

The End of Faith, by Sam Harris
$12.55 at SBN: 0393327655
*** (moderate)
My curiosity was aroused when I saw this dude on Book TV on C-Span. Written like a diatribe, Harris outlines the clash between religion and reason, and claims that man's continued survival in a world filled with weapons of mass destruction depends on us making rational choices and overcoming religious fanaticism. He blames religion for much of the war, suffering, and alienation in the world. In other words, he's like Billy Graham for atheists.
Living my Life, by Emma Goldman
$18.00 at
**** (pretty challenging)
The autobiography of Emma Goldman, anarchist and champion of civil rights until she was implicated in the assassination of President McKinley in 1901. One of millions of immigrants who piled into America in search of a new life, only to be overworked by abusive employers and endangered by the over-crowded, fetid tenements on New York's lower east side. A fascinating woman, whether you love her or hate her, and a reminder that anarchy, like atheism, may not be entirely crack-pot after all.

1 comment:

iain said...

OK you've nailed your colors to the mast. WhoEVER thought atheism was "crackpot" in the first place ???? Enough of your patronizing attitude, young man.
If you want to talk "crackpot" let's discuss Christianity, a primitive blood-cult devoted to the offspring of an equally primitive sky-god, encoded in a "holy" book of which the first half comprises the adventures of a nomadic tribe stumbling sround the desert in the Bronze Age (just read that handbook for the abbatoir Leviticus for a sense of how "spiritual" this book is), a "faith" of which the central act of worship is ritualised cannibalism ("take drink this is my blood" ... etc etc), a belief system with little to commend it but two thousands years of grief, agony and suffering from the Crusades, the Inquisition and witch-burnings all the way down to mad George W Bush.