Worst. Person. Ever.
By: Douglas Coupland
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
Worst. Person. Ever. is a deeply unworthy book about a dreadful human being with absolutely no redeeming social value. Raymond Gunt, in the words of the author, “is a living, walking, talking, hot steaming pile of pure id.” He’s a B-unit cameraman who enters an amusing downward failure spiral that takes him from London to Los Angeles and then on to an obscure island in the Pacific where a major American TV network is shooting a Survivor-style reality show. Along the way, Gunt suffers multiple comas and unjust imprisonment, is forced to reenact the “Angry Dance” from the movie Billy Elliot and finds himself at the centre of a nuclear war. We also meet Raymond’s upwardly failing sidekick, Neal, as well as Raymond’s ex-wife, Fiona, herself “an atomic bomb of pain.”
Even though he really puts the “anti” in anti-hero, you may find Raymond Gunt an oddly likeable character.
One of the earliest Canadian authors I read growing up was Douglas Coupland. With a novel titled All Families Are Psychotic, how can one not pick up the book, you know? 😉 Anyways, I read that and Eleanor Rigby when I was in high school/early university and loved them both, but I never got around to reading anything else by him for…a decade? So anyway, this book was on sale so I figured it was time to read another book by him.
So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! 🙂
I was pondering for a while as to who to feature for this March edition of “So You Want to Read…” I sometimes schedule posts based on the time of year, what holidays are coming up, etc. It took a bit of pondering, but in the end I decided to go with Soren Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher and writer from the 19th century. I first encountered his works when I was in Grade 12 high school and took a philosophy course. It was his concept of the leap of faith that solidified my interest in his works, and since then had been slowly getting around to reading his works. The list might not appeal to everyone has his works can lean heavily on spiritual philosophy and what people nowadays see as an early form of psychology, but nonetheless I find he quite acutely pinpoints some realities about the human condition in an eloquent and rational way.
So, to anyone interested in reading a bit of philosophy for a change and have always wanted to check out Kierkegaard’s works, here’s my recommendation on where to start:
- The Present Age: On the Death of Rebellion (review) — Possibly the most easily accessible of all of his works, this particular work of his is especially timely in with the current political climate as he discusses about the mass media and its role in shaping society and the public’s response to information. There is a latter essay included in this collection, “Of the Difference Between a Genius and an Apostle,” which may initially strike readers as an odd addition but it does make sense as to why it was paired with “The Present Age.” Anyhow, I strongly recommend starting here for first-time Kierkegaard readers to get a flavour of his writing and thought processes.
- Either/Or (the first part at least) — This book is actually a collection of essays and writing fragments. I recommend reading the first bit as they’re merely a collection of thoughts that Kierkegaard has about life, the human condition, love, etc. They’re interesting and incredibly astute; I found myself nodding my head for much of this segment as I agreed with many of the conclusions he came to about life.
- The Sickness Unto Death — Okay, it was a toss-up between this book and Fear and Trembling. Both I think are equally famous when you think Kierkegaard but while the latter is shorter, The Sickness Unto Death may appeal more as his discussions serve as some predecessor to psychology and a deep analysis of the self, of despair, of the human condition and the mental process. Like most of his writings, a lot of his ideas are still deeply rooted to Christian theology but his conclusions are nonetheless interesting and the material he uncovers along the way fascinating.
And that’s my list! I hope it helps if you’re interested in reading something by Soren Kierkegaard for the first time! 🙂
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!
This week’s topic: Ten Books I Read in One Sitting
Haha I kinda love this week’s topic as there’s been some great books that I’ve read in the past that I’ve read in one sitting (either because it was slim enough or I just couldn’t put it down once I started reading it xD).
In no particular order:
- The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce — My review of this book won’t be going live until May, I believe, but I more or less read this book in the day: I could not stop reading about Queenie Hennessy’s story, it was so compelling and beautiful and heartbreaking.
- Victoria by Daisy Goodwin (review) — Oh man, I could not put this book down, I read it in one evening.
- Love, Rosie by Cecilia Ahern (review) — I remember reading the bulk of this book in one afternoon, I just needed to know how things turned out for all of the characters involved.
- You Had Me At Hello by Mhairi McFarlane (review) — I was trying to savour this as much as possible but ended up reading it in a day, I had to find out how things would turn out for Rachel and Ben and all of Rachel’s friends xD
- Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (review) — Granted, it is a novella, but a compelling and fascinating one at that.
- Colonel Brandon’s Diary by Amanda Grange (review) — COLONEL BRANDON, YOU PRECIOUS CUPCAKE. Could not put this book down, I was grinning like a madman at the end.
- Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis (review) — I read this book in one evening, finishing in the early hours of morning. I could not put this book down, it was amazing and compelling and thoughtful and just…yeah, you need to read this book if you haven’t already.
- The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson (review) — I think I almost always read his books in one sitting :3
- The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson (review) — Another one of those books I couldn’t put down once I started reading it…
- Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman (review) — Haha, no surprise there, but it’s such a fun read 😀
And that’s my list for this week! What books have you read in one sitting? Have you read any of the above books I listed? Let me know, I’d love to check out your list!
Ward No. 6 and Other Stories, 1892 – 1895
By: Anton Chekhov
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
“Ward No. 6 and Other Stories 1892-1895” collects stories which show Anton Chekhov beginning to confront complex, ambiguous and often extreme emotions in his short fiction. This “Penguin Classics” edition is translated with notes by Ronald Wilks, and an introduction by J. Douglas Clayton. These stories from the middle period of Chekhov’s career include – influenced by his own experiences as a doctor – “Ward No. 6”, a savage indictment of the medical profession set in a mental hospital; “The Black Monk”, portraying an academic who has strange hallucinations, explores ideas of genius and insanity; “Murder”, in which religious fervour leads to violence; while in “The Student”, Chekhov’s favourite story, a young man recounts a tale from the gospels and undergoes a spiritual epiphany. In all the stories collected here, Chekhov’s characters face madness, alienation and frustration before they experience brief, ephemeral moments of insight, often earned at great cost, where they confront the reality of their existence.
Anton Chekov is one of my favourite Russian authors. He’s quite succinct when it comes to writing short stories, with their good lengths and rich with characterisation and wide-ranging themes. Admittedly I did pick up this book on a whim as I’ve read a number of his stories to date, but nonetheless this collection did contain titles of stories I haven’t yet read.
Strip Jack (John Rebus #4)
By: Ian Rankin
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
MP Gregor Jack is caught in an Edinburgh brothel with a prostitute only too keen to show off her considerable assets. When the media horde begins baying for political blood Jack’s friends rally round to protect him. But some of those friends – particularly his wife’s associates – are not so squeaky clean themselves.
Initially Detective Inspector Rebus is sympathetic to the MP’s dilemma – who hasn’t occasionally succumbed to temptation? – but with the disappearance of Jack’s wife the glamour surrounding the popular young man begins to tarnish. Someone wants to strip Jack naked and Rebus wants to know why …
Okay, I’m guessing the John Rebus novels are just slowly going on sale on Kobo or something because I saw this was on for a low price and picked it up almost immediately: the premise sounded really interesting as the case involves a prominent politician. I thought it would be interesting to see how Rebus would fare investigating such a case.