Since I’ve been reading a lot more this year I thought I would start a monthly feature on what I’ve read, what I’m currently reading, and what I’ll be reading soon. I’m always up for recommendations and book swaps so feel free to message me or chat in the comments section!
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
In her debut novel Rooney takes inspiration from conversations in real life to explore the complex intricacies apparent in various relationships. Her compelling arguments remind me of discussions that I’ve had with my own friends and has left me thinking a lot about education, society and the philosophy of self.
Best friends and ex-lovers Bobbi and Frances become entangled in the relationship of Nick and Melissa – an older couple with their own set of baggage – culminating in a secret romantic affair and a wayward trip to France.
Where the conversations are compelling and intelligent the relationships can at times seem tenuous and a little contrived, particularly between Nick and Frances. I read that some readers struggled to find a likable character, but on the whole I found them relatable and realistic, if not a bit tragic.
Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari
Wars and famine kill less people than ever before in human history, allowing humankind to focus on a new set of challenges. But what problems do we focus on and how will we go about finding their solutions?
Yuval Noah Harari explores the relationship between history and science, analysing the time line of humans to explore how we might progress in the not-to-distant future. It is essentially a work of modern philosophy, musing on matters of AI, human consciousness and the rise of the humanist agenda.
Currently half way through completion, it is an eye opening, (if not slightly terrifying) look at our future existence, and I will certainly be reading his previous best seller Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind once I’m done.
Waiting for the Last Bus: Reflections on Life and Death by Richard Holloway
You may have seen in my recent post that I’ve been spending a lot of time contemplating the cycle of death, and how facing up to it can be equally empowering and terrifying. It seems fitting then that I’ve stumbled upon this book from the former Bishop of Edinburgh, after listening to an interview on the Spectator Books podcast last week. Using his vast wealth of experience from a religious career spanning thirty years, Holloway discusses his own internal struggle with faith as well as modern society’s death adverse nature.
He exudes a vivid, sharp intelligence, and maintains an overall positive view on death and human existence – a view of which I am trying to adopt myself. I feel as though his unique perspective will help to further shape my own views on life, death and existence.