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Richard Dawkins – The Blind Watchmaker | Review

Title: The Blind Watchmaker

Author: Richard Dawkins

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 350

Rating: 3.5/5

 

Richard Dawkins - The Blind Watchmaker

Richard Dawkins – The Blind Watchmaker

 

This book has been on my TBR pile for a while, but I finally picked it up as my bedside book and quickly got hooked. Even though it’s a non-fiction science book about evolution, and even though it gets kind of dry times, it was a delight.

Of course, it felt a little outdated at times because Dawkins talked about some computer software he’d created which used a 1989 Apple Macintosh, but it was only the technology that was old. The concepts themselves still hold up today, and while it’s hard for me to pinpoint any specific part of the book that stood out to me, I do feel as though my understanding of evolution as a whole has been dramatically improved.

That’s because Dawkins basically takes all of the arguments against evolution and systematically debunks them, in the same way that he railed against religion in The God Delusion. The Blind Watchmaker is used as an analogy for the way that evolution can build complex physical mechanisms without requiring a designer. So in evolutionary terms, if a watch was a living animal then it could evolve piece by piece over time without requiring a watchmaker (such as an omnipotent god) to design it.

 

Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins

 

For example, some people will point to eyes and say that you can’t have half an eye and therefore they must have been designed. Dawkins points out that that’s not how eyes developed. It’s easy to see how just having the ability to tell the difference between light and darkness, for example, could make a big difference to an animal’s survival rates. And if the animal is more likely to survive then it’s more likely to pass its genes on.

It’s all fascinating stuff, but it’s not necessarily easy reading. It’s the kind of book that forces you to think, but I like books like that and I’m looking forward to continuing to read through Dawkins’ back catalogue. I always learn something new from his books.

 

Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion

Richard Dawkins – The God Delusion

 

Click here to buy The Blind Watchmaker.

 


Stephen King – Full Dark, No Stars | Review

Title: Full Dark, No Stars

Author: Stephen King

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 468

Rating: 9/10

 

Stephen King - Full Dark, No Stars

Stephen King – Full Dark, No Stars

 

“Is it possible to ever fully know anyone? Even those we love the most?” So starts this collection of novella-length stories, and I have to say – it’s a cracker. In fact, this is easily my favourite collection of multiple Stephen King stories, and way better than Just After Sunset, which I recently read. And the cool thing is, because there were only five stories here, I can talk in-depth about each one.

It started off with my favourite of the lot, a piece called 1922 which follows the story of a farmer who kills his wife to stop her from selling her family’s land to a corporation. The farmer and his son end up in a downward spiral, with life getting worse and worse. The father even starts to see rats everywhere, while the boy is trying to hide the family secret while starting up a relationship with a neighbouring girl. It’s beautifully written and deeply haunting, and probably my favourite Stephen King story to date.

Up next, we have a story called Big Driver, which follows the story of an author who’s raped in an abandoned convenience store and who goes after the man who did it to her. She goes from being like Miss Marple to being like Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction.

 

Stephen King Quote

Stephen King Quote

 

Then there’s Fair Extension, a story about a man with cancer who makes a deal with a man who’s able to sell you extensions, whether we’re talking about a penis extension, a loan extension or, indeed, a life extension. But of course, a deal like that comes with a cost…

Up next, there’s A Good Marriage, which tells the story of what happens when a woman finds a box that her husband has kept secret and which makes her start to wonder whether the man she’s loved all these years is actually a serial killer.

This is the point at which the initial print run of this book came to an end, but here there’s an extra short called Under the Weather. The other ‘short stories’ in this book are actually not so short, but this one really does stick to the true spirit of how long a short story, culturally at least, is expected to be. Interestingly enough, it’s also the weakest story of the lot, although it’s still pretty good because come on, it’s Stephen King.

Overall then, this is a pretty good place to start, not just with King’s shorter fiction but with King in general. It’s dark, and I should offer up that most nebulous of things – a trigger warning. It gets pretty violent, and you might want to bear that in mind before you commit.

 

Stephen King Quote

Stephen King Quote

 

Click here to buy Full Dark, No Stars.

 


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