Monday, May 30, 2011

Life, Sex and Ideas: The Good Life Without God (Philosophy)

Life, Sex and Ideas: The Good Life Without God by A.C. Grayling

Despite the title, this book is not an atheist manifesto, nor is it largely about sex. The author, a professor of philosophy at Oxford University, does devote a chapter to sex, and touches on religion throughout the book, but really, more than anything, it is a book about thinking and ideas. Grayling is a gifted essayist, and each chapter is actually an essay - most only two or three pages long - covering such topics as marriage, guns, utopia, suicide, nature, and dozens more. Although he makes clear to the reader where he stands, each chapter is a nugget of wisdom and delectable food for thought.

This is my first foray into philosophy and I loved it. Very stimulating and thought-provoking; I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in opening their mind, or those who value open-mindedness, insightfulness, and introspection.

I'm keeping my copy - I liked it that much.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

An Object of Beauty (novel)

An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin

I am a huge fan of the multi-talented Steve Martin. There was a time when I knew him as only a comedian/comedic actor. Over time I discovered that he's also an accomplished musician and writer, among other things. When I came across Shopgirl, a novella by Steve Martin I gobbled it up and found one more reason to love him. Likewise, I loved The Pleasure of My Company.

An Object of Beauty centers around Lacey Yeager, a young, beautiful, ambitious woman who takes the art world of New York by storm, starting out at the bottom of the art-world food chain working in "the bins" at Sotheby's, and climbing her way up the ladder, not always honestly, until she opens a gallery of her own. She charms, sleeps, steals, and works her way to the top.

Of the three novels by Steve Martin that I've now read, this is my least favorite, partly because I felt out of my element, being extremely un-knowledgeable about art or the art world, and partly because I didn't find the main character likeable. She's shallow and crass and insensitive, and it was just hard to care what happened to her. I'm not even sure the story has a point - it kind of trails off into an unsatisfying ending, and I turned the final page thinking only, "Huh."

I'll still read more of his writing though!

This one's on my iPad, so I can't pass it along.