A thorough treatment from an atheistic perspective, with numerous examples but few original hypotheses.

CHASING DAVIS

AN ATHEIST'S GUIDE TO MORALITY USING LOGIC AND SCIENCE

Luce sets out to explain why only science and logic are reliable guides for morality.

With his debut philosophical treatise, Luce enters the arena of the “new atheists”—Hitchens, Dawkins, Dennett, Harris and others. While those writers have tended to focus on a narrow theme within an atheistic framework, Luce tackles religion, morality, history, law, social convention, autobiography and more. He begins, like Hitchens in God Is Not Great (2007), by sharing his personal history of growing up in Davis, Calif., where he first felt “that to be at peace with oneself only required one be in harmony with whatever it was that was going on around one.” The author’s quest in his book is partly to regain that sense of peace as an adult, to “chase Davis.” It was also as a child that Luce first doubted the moral teachings of religion. In addition to explaining why he is an atheist, Luce provides a detailed review of what he sees to be the failings of traditional moral guideposts—religion, philosophy, government and law. He explores a wide array of issues within each of these areas and offers numerous examples for his propositions, which bolsters his argument that only science and logic are trustworthy guides. Luce adds a few original ideas to the “new atheism” debate, most notably the intriguing yet unproven conjecture that humans require a certain amount of space in order to get along and that violating this requirement has made the entire species “insane.” His critique of religion is wide-ranging but tends to treat religion merely as a set of premises. This approach has merit but ignores the complexity of how religion is practiced and experienced. Likewise, his critique of philosophy focuses on a few classic philosophers but ignores major atheist thinkers from Hume to Sartre, to whom his book is indebted. He also characterizes the views of philosophers as merely belief systems, a peculiar attack on the field that developed both logic and science.

A thorough treatment from an atheistic perspective, with numerous examples but few original hypotheses.

Pub Date: March 20, 2012

ISBN: 978-1469732312

Page Count: 694

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Sept. 5, 2012

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A refreshingly candid, fearless look into a model’s body of work and its impact on her identity and politics.

MY BODY

The international model embarks on a nuanced investigation of her body and identity.

Ratajkowski’s exploration of fame, self-identity, and what it means to be a “beautiful” woman is surprisingly engaging. Originally thrust into the spotlight in 2013 due to her scantily clad appearance in the music video for Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” the author eventually became known for her stances about beauty and sexuality and how they are commodified. Now that she is a wife and mother, she writes, “I feel a tenderness toward my younger self. My defensiveness and defiance are palpable to me now. What I wrote and preached then reflected what I believed at the time, but it missed a much more complicated picture. In many ways, I have been undeniably rewarded by capitalizing on my sexuality….But in other, less overt ways, I’ve felt objectified and limited by my position in the world as a so-called sex symbol.” This short book includes the juicy tidbits that avid celebrity-memoir readers seek, and the author shares how she really felt about the video shoot and how the aftermath affected her. Beyond that, the book is a reflective coming-of-age-in-the-industry tale, a story that is never maudlin but contains a few thick, murky sections. Ratajkowski attempts to break down the construction of her identity and sexuality in relation to the ever present male gaze as well as her relationships with the women in her life. The charm of this book lies in the author’s largely relatable writing, which shows the complex emotions and confusion of a young woman experiencing her sexual development and maturation into a capable adult. Admitting that the “purpose of the book is not to arrive at answers, but honestly to explore ideas I can’t help but return to,” Ratajkowski grapples directly with a host of thorny issues.

A refreshingly candid, fearless look into a model’s body of work and its impact on her identity and politics.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-81786-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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