Every Day by David Levithan: A Book Review

every-day-coverThe concept of the story is what I had thought of before.  How if you were given a chance , or you had this special ability or power to transfer into  a body of a certain person just to know how it feels like to be in that body as well as  to understand the life  that person has? .  ( You may come up with the  idea that this situation is sorta  parasitical entity in paranormal psychology or a Dybbuk in Jewish mythology.)  What a bizarre thought! But just the heck of  fun, just in a day or for good , whose that  person would you like to possess and why? Whee, I can read your mind!

The question above is what the concept of the story is all about.  A as in A, with capital A, is a man who  has never had this permanent body is like a soul  which  transfers from one body of a different person , of  different gender to another  since he was born. The drama turns when he   has an awakening moment in a day with   Rhiannon, the woman  he   falls for out of the blue,  possessing  the body of her boyfriend, Justin. Thereby, Rhiannon has intimate relationship with A  when she finds out his  unimaginable situation. However,  this fantasy will test the mettle of their relationship. That is! A very outlandish story !

In the beginning, I read it  giddily like a teenager back in my high-school life when I was fond of reading pocketbooks or chit lits. (If you are Filipino born in the 90’s , I guess you get what I meant to say. ^^) I enjoyed every page   written with beautifully lyrical and poetic lines as if I was just reading a romantic poem. However, this   impact vanished  as the story centers around the two main characters trying to understand  and get connected to each other  with different aspects of life: one lives  in the reality while the other one in a fantasy. Correspondingly, I lost that romantic feeling  taken that I am turning to my 30’s next year. Hmp! In short, in Filipino, hindi na ako naiinog.( I  was no longer giddy.)  What a spoiling plot! Nevertheless, I liked its ending as what I had predicted: It is more realistic to let someone  go than let  a situation that never clings to the reality unless such thing really exists.

On the other hand, the book is OK because it   has good intentions. It teaches us  two moral lessons.

First,  since we are all different beholders having no ideas of what  we see in the world, notably of understanding the people around us, we should not be judgmental  and prejudiced toward them. It is like what  the cliché  goes that we can understand a person if we were in his/ her shoes.

Through A, being described as an empty man, having no permanent body and a family he can live with, we learn to understand  those different kinds of people he takes  possession of , such as of  a blind girl, a suicidal teen-ager, an obese man, a slut, a mean woman, a depressed girl, an actor with a perfect life, et al . At the end, we come to ourselves that there is a reason why life should go on.

Second, after reading it, it also occurred to me   that in the context of psychology, if you had this bizarre thought of transferring to  a different body,  you may  not be  completely satisfied  in a sense that physically, you want to have a beautiful body , so that you could have a good-looking boyfriend or girlfriend; in a sense that  emotionally, you want to fill up that empty feeling; in a sense that socially, you want to have self-belongingness; in a sense that mentally or intellectually, you want to be smart or howsoever ; and many , many reasons  more.

In the story, apparently, the only thing A  wants is to be as emotionally  complete and normal as people.

Therefore, the novel  has got to deal with what is reality and with what is fantasy.  Not that I know of! @_@

Just for the heck of fun, I wish I were in the  body of the famous Filipino fashion designer, Francis Libiran, or of  the best-selling author and notorious atheist, Sam Harris. Wheeee! ^_____^

Rating: 2/ 5 stars ( It’s ok. )

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Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris: A Book Review

harrisWOW! It’s a tour de force- a perfect apologia. Sam Harris is so brilliant that he has an acute analysis of the issue. So , atheists, particularly agnostics, should read it to become more enlightened and completely free from fear of going to “hell” and religious intolerance.

The first book that gave me an idea about apologetics was WHAT IS SO GREAT ABOUT CHRISTIANITY ? by Dinesh D’Souza ( 5 stars ). In fact, the book introduced me to the said Four Horsemen of the Non-Apocalypse such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Daniel Dennet. Thereafter, I wanted to read their works on account of my agnostic itch of curiosity then. So, I have read Dawkins’ GOD DELUSION ( 5 stars ) twice, Hitchens’ s GOD IS NOT GREAT ( 3 stars ). Now it’s my first Sam Harris apologia.

Harris intended to write this book in response to the hate letters sent by religious and political  people  and out of his criticisms against major religions of the world in his book THE END OF FAITH. I enjoyed reading it because of his straight-to-the-point arguments- concise but clear and logically convincing.

Upon reading it, I had four intellectual epiphanies :

There is no such morality.
There are many truths.
The bible appears to be inconsistent.
Therefore, for an atheist, and in general, God does not exist.

On the other hand, the underlying cause on which I cast shed why deeply religious people tend to deny the fact that God does not exist is “IGNORANCE”. We are living in a civilization of ignorance as Harris put it. Or I would opine that we are all still ignorant although we are all civilized. We have been the archetypes of wrong education since time immemorial. So life has been complicated. See, pardon me if you may be feeling like blowing your top now, out of your devotion as if you want to engage in a heated debate with me. It is some kinda foolishness, isn’t it? But still I dare to uphold Sam Harris’s and other prominent atheists’ arguments. ^^

Rating: 5/5 stars

Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore : A Book Review

Tagore

This is about devotion to God. It could be a perfect inspirational book for religious people who believe in their callings. On the contrary, atheists like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins might adduce that there was no divine intervention in writing these songs ; it was a matter of Tagore’s motivation brought about by his past experiences.

I only learned from high school social studies that Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913. But I never attempted to read his works which made him win one of the prestigious literary prizes in the world as long as the heart of the western writers. I was just aware of the fact that I would take a look at his pictures in awe, for he has this Jesus-like aura. For me then, I had just an impression that he was such an enlightened literary figure. As a matter of fact,he took my fancy more when I had a nun student who recommended this book since it is her most favorite book. After getting around to it, I have come to understand why she, I guess even other religious people, likes this book.

Gitanjali means song offerings. Tagore wanted to show his strong devotion to God by singing Him beautiful songs he drew from the deepest part of his heart. No wonder the sentences are so beautifully mesmerizing. Each line can penetrate through your heart as well as might have a profound impact upon people , astray from their religious faith.

If you are the same with Tagore, you would opine that the God to whom Tagore is devoted is the same God you are devoted to. But if you are an avowed atheist, you could say that the God to whom Tagore is devoted could be in a pantheistic form, for the contents of Tagore’s songs have something to do with all the natural environment. Therefore, offering songs do not directly and clearly refer to whoever or whatever God Tagore may have believed in. No doubt these song offerings could be subject to hermeneutic principle.

I may be wrong since I have not read Tagore’s autobiographies nor his other works yet. Nevertheless, I was impressed by the fact that Tagore’s writing styles are the product of a deep, deep impression.

Rating: 3/ 5 stars

A Confession by Leo Tolstoy: A Book Review

tolstoy

I have been an avowed atheist   for two years. I  had mustered up enough courage to abandon the Christian life after a long battle  of shattering the  doubts. I was not able to do so because of the fear instilled in me that I would go to hell or not be saved from the Judgment Day. At that time, I was still  an utter simpleton believing in something beyond logic. After reading some said  heretical books such as of Richard Dawkins’ God Delusion , Sam Harris’ A Letter to a Nation  and An Atheist Manifesto ,  Christopher Hitchens’ God is Not Great , and George H. Smith’s  Atheism: The Case Against God ,  I have been awoken to the reality as though the experience  was a rude  awakening. So, do  not dare lecture me that I must be veering  off my faith because faith is another argument of foolish illusion. By the same token, I have  read  one apologetic  book to defend  the sides of  the Christianity  . Still, the side of the atheists  stands for me. For sure, I would be the subject to the brick brat here on Goodreads. Like  or unlike this , it is  neither here nor there.

This book deals with  Leo Tolstoy’s  midlife crisis in his spirituality and existentialism. Like  what the atheists above experienced , Tolstoy came to the point that he questioned the religious teachings foisted upon him since he was still young. To find the answer, he went on a pilgrimage until he thought he had  found the answer to his questions: He concluded that God does not exist.  Still, not completely  convinced , he  had the persistent and obtrusive  realization that there may be Supernatural unknown which can be called God. His experience was like backsliding to his delusion. In other words, Tolstoy ended up as agnostic- a question which has been a debate among religion and atheism apologists.

If Tolstoy  had existential crisis  in his 50’s ,  it may be ridiculous  for others if I say that I have had come to it  in my 20’s .Perhaps, information  in the internet is now accessible to everyone.

Tolstoy, as a rule,  is considered as  the world’ best novelist . His writing for others is considered  flawless. No doubt in this book, every sentence is beautifully written-  the  aftereffect of his emotional impact, an experience  bears  half resemblance to  Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore and AntiChrist by Nitzsche. Probably   the big credit is to its English translator.

As a bright philosopher put it that there are many kinds of truth  since there are many kinds of beholders, you might misunderstand that Tolstoy’s’ intellectual  hubris is conveyed in the sentences. In this book, Tolstoy said that people who believe in something beyond logic are not intellectual. Come to think of it. Do not be  carried out by your deep-seated beliefs.

Rating : 4/ 5 stars for  Leo Tolstoy’s beautiful sentences.