Irreligion: Book Review #5

While reading Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don’t Add Up, I had some extremely mixed feelings. Not about the ideas presented, but about the book itself. Now for the most part there is no new material really presented in this book that you couldn’t get from any other atheistic writer, however there are some new ways of viewing the material at hand.

The author of Irreligion is a mathematician by the name of John Allen Paulos, Professor of Mathematics at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, known for his writings on Mathematic literacy. Now with those credentials one realizes that a man like this is quite intelligent, but then asks them self, “What does he know about religion?” Well truth is, Paulos presents the idea that using pure logic to see how a God doesn’t fit, is key to realizing what reality and unreality, truly is.

The average reader will go into this book and will easily pick up the basic ideas from each chapter, but Paulos will likely lose them when he begins to talk in Mathematic lingo, at times alienating the reader if they do not have an in-depth knowledge in the field of mathematics. Though he refrains from using many formulas, he does tend to create hypothetical equations in which variables are used to show, rationally, why certain things, such as divinity, miracles, etc. are just not supernatural.

The fast pace of this book is rather nice when it comes to the mathematics involved. When one is presented with something that is a bit too dense, there is a bright side: the book moves on from that topic rather quickly. Each chapter is relatively short, often less than 10 pages, but it does seem that some chapters are unnecessarily repetitive of earlier parts of the book.

Overall the concept of this book is cool, but the execution is tough. Paulos manages to create a book for those that have a more technical thought process, while he also teaches the reader to think more critically. Recommending this book is tough, its not an easy read, but it should not be overlooked, because it is rather rewarding.

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The Delivery Man: Book Review #4

The 2008, debut novel of Joe McGinniss Jr. is captivating to say the least. From the very beginning McGinnis is able to keep your attention with his peculiar cast of characters, and in a setting that seems to be over-used, McGinniss is able to bring new life to it in an original story. Taking place in sex-obsessed, drug infested, Las Vegas, you are taken through a story involving a group of childhood friends now all in their mid-twenties, and throughout the novel the reader slowly begins to put pieces of their dark past together.

The Delivery Man is to a certain degree a love story, but the most unconventional one I’ve seen in a while. You will find yourself rooting for the protagonist to get the girl. However, trying to figure out why he is so in love with such a whore (literally) is something readers are sure to try to figure out as the story progresses.

Not only is this a brilliant novel, but it is a critique of a shallow, Myspace absorbed generation that is detached from reality. If live fast, die hard is applicable to any story, The Delivery Man is one. The fast pace of the story keeps the reader turning page after page anticipating what will happen next. Honestly I could not stop until I had finished the book.

Chase is the unforgettable protagonist of The Delivery Man, at times seeming reminiscent of Holden Caulfield or the unnamed lead character of Fight Club with his apathetic attitude and tight situations. From the very beginning I found myself really liking his character. While many of the other characters have bi-polar attitudes throughout much of the story, Chase manages to hold himself well, but by no means is static.

Being a struggling artist disillusioned by a bright future, Chase is forced to teach art at a Las Vegas Highschool. But after losing his job he ends up getting involved in a teenage call-girl service which, while being lucrative, forces him to make some of the hardest decisions in his life. Choosing between a woman he once thought he wanted to marry and life on the strip with people from his past, he becomes conflicted and tries to rationalize his inclination for the latter.

After getting involved with certain people he shouldn’t have, his life takes a course that can’t be undone, bringing the story to a harsh ending. Down to the very last line of the novel readers will wonder if he ever will straighten things out.

This book is a must read, by a rising new author who really brings something new to the table. Being extremely enjoyable, fast paced, with unforgettable characters and in an interesting setting, you will leave this book wanting more.

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This book just happened to catch my eye on a huge wall of books at a local used book store, and wow, was I glad that I decided to purchase it. It’s a new favorite.