Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Good Life - Mark Rowlands


Sent to me by the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review.

Format & Page Count: Paperback, 288pp

Genre: Philosophy 

Buy Now/To-Read: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

Rating: 4/5

Audience: Readers who are interested in, experiencing or are looking for answers to moral dilemmas. 

Summed up in a few words: Cleansing. Clarifying. Opens the Mind to New Ideas.

Book Summary: Myshkin was born on a certain day and died on a certain day - and somethings happened to him in between. These things presented him with ethical questions and this book is a record of his attempt to answer those questions: What are the moral implications of lying, of taking drugs, of eating animals?In the moral maze of modern life, how do we navigate the complexities of climate change, sexual politics and chronic inequality?

A Good Life is Myshkin's reckoning with the life he has led and the choices he has made. At once a philosophical handbook for living and a page-turning narrative of modern life, this book combines the readability of fiction with the interrogative pleasures of philosophy. 

Review: I have to say that the synopsis of this book, outlines, explains and reviews the book perfectly itself... Nicolai, Myshkin's son, finds his father manuscript in his home after he passes away. Wanting to connect with his father one more time, he writes out the manuscript into a sort of handbook to guide people through the moral battlefield that is modern life. Organised into 20 chapters, each one tackles a certain moral issue present in everyone's life in some way or another. I was impressed by the format of each argument that Myshkin put forward, thoroughly examining each problem from a moral standpoint and also a practical standpoint as well. Having his son weigh in on each section through footnotes and adding pieces of his mother's writing into the mix to clarify or defend certain views, really added to both the flow and feel of this book.

I will be honest, I found this book overwhelming to begin with as Myshkin begins with the idea of reality, what is real and what is not. This section is rather heavy but stay with it because when this book gets into its rhythm it is truly worth a read. Part autobiography, part novel, mostly real life, this book compromises unpredictable philosophical musings and the nature of morality. Drawing inspiration from some of the most influential thinkers of history such as Descartes, Kant, Aristotle, Plato and Neizche, Myshkin works his way through his life from moral and philosophical perspective. Taking on subjects such as lying, killing animals for food, drugs, the rich, the poor and racism/sexism to name a few. 

The intensity of the language in this book fluctuates from cool and informal to overly intelligent and towards the end of the book a more warped and rambling style so be aware of some of the large/strange words that are present here. I think Mark Rowlands is an incredible writer, he fused many different writing styles/formats with one of the largest subject matters in the world and managed to produce an interesting, coherent and morally challenging reading experience.

Thank you for visiting Always Trust In Books and reading my review of A Good Life. I appreciate all my readers and I will have many more reviews to come.

About The Author: Mark Rowlands is a Welsh author and philosopher. He is a professor of philosophy at the University of Miami and the author of many works. His most notable work is The Philosopher and the Wolf, a personal memoir of a time when he lived and travelled with a wolf. His other work focuses on important subjects like the philosophy of the mind, animal rights and culture.

Book Giveaway: I am putting up my copy of A Good Life as a prize in my first ever book giveaway! I am asking readers to post a personal motto or philosophy in the comments of this review by 9pm 18th of October. I will pick my favourite comment and post the book to the winner. (UK only)

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