Tag: Contemporary

Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman – Lives of the Stoics | Review

Title: Lives of the Stoics

Author: Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 334

Rating: 5/5

I picked this book up after hearing about it on BookTube, which was a happy little coincidence because I’d already been getting into stoicism after being introduced to it by my girlfriend. I just wish I could remember whose channel I saw the video on.

What we have here is essentially a cracking little introduction to the key figures of stoicism in ancient Rome and Greece, and it’s written by a well-known figure in contemporary stoic circles. In fact, at the same time that I ordered this book, I also subscribed to a bunch of Stoic YouTube channels, and it turns out that the host of one of them is one of the authors of this book.

I found it to be super accessible, with the story told slowly but surely through short chapters on some of the key figures of the Stoic movement. After a while, it gets a little difficult to remember who was who, but that doesn’t really matter. The important thing here is the lessons that are on offer, and the interesting thing about the figures that are profiled is that as well as writing about and teaching their beliefs, they also lived them.

All in all, it’s a pretty accessible read whether you’re new to stoicism or not, and if you’ve been looking to learn more about the philosophy then this is a pretty good place to look. I enjoyed reading it, and I also ended up tabbing out half of the pages for my video review, which meant that I had a lot to say about it. It’s definitely food for thought.

Now that I’ve read this, I’m keen to learn more about stoicism, and I’m also looking forward to watching some more of the author’s videos. You should give it a Google and check out both the book and the YouTube channel.

Learn more about Lives of the Stoics.

 


Louise Candlish – The Other Passenger | Review

Title: The Other Passenger

Author: Louise Candlish

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 411

Rating: 4/5

I was sent a signed copy of this book for free as part of a bookish subscription box that reached out to me, but I don’t think that will influence my review. Still, I guess that’s a disclaimer for you.

The theme of the box that I received was all about the commute and this was pretty much the perfect book for it because it was mostly set on the commuter boats that people take to get into the city. As for the genre, it’s basically as close to generic contemporary thriller as you can get, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

We have a lot of the classics tropes here, from an unreliable narrator to tons of twists and turns, complex interpersonal relationships and of course that little technique of jumping backwards and forwards through time to advance what’s happening in the present by bringing up something that happened in the past and which changes the way we look at things.

Other than that, I don’t really want to say too much about the plot, purely because as with most of these, half of the point is being taken by surprise. And I will say that while there were one or two things that I called pretty early on, there were also a couple of twists here and there that I didn’t spot.

It probably also helped that I received quite a nice edition of this, a hardback with the author’s signature in it, and so it was quite an aesthetically pleasing read, too. I can’t say that I’m the biggest fan of thrillers in general, as I tend to prefer either cosy mysteries, private detectives or gritty police procedural novels, but it certainly did the job and was a pleasant enough read, keeping me going until the end to find out the truth about what happened.

And that brings us on to the question of whether I’d recommend it or not, and that really depends upon the type of reader that you are. If you’re really into modern thrillers and you loved Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, you’re probably going to like this one. There are a ton of twists, more than I’ve seen in a novel of this size in quite a long time, and the characters are just warped enough to keep them interesting.

Learn more about The Other Passenger.