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vikyavorsk

Kris' Books.

Female. Slavic mind. Avid reader.

 I read across a broad range of book genres, with an emphasis on Aus/NZ lit, Russian and Ukrainian literature, Latin-American literature and European history.

 

A History of the World in 10½  Chapters - Julian Barnes I enjoyed the book more than I actually expected to...which is of course terrific beyond belief. I'm not saying that I agreed with the most part of the ideas and beliefs presented in this book, but I was impressed by the authenticity and fluidity in which the book was written. It was devastatingly definitive, had a very personal air, which made the reading feel like reading a close friend's diary, and very unsettling. I enjoyed the unsettling because very few books are able to totally unsettle me, to the point where I feel depressed and ashamed for a full half hour, not of myself, but of the entire human race, without realising my emotional state until this fat sinkhole of a half hour has passsed. I was really mesmerised by the historical theme of the book- I love history as well as good storytelling, so the book was a perfect mixture for me in terms of interest.

The book was basically composed of these 10.5 chapters in which different historical events were probed into and explored scrupulously, with the author fearlessly displaying his personal opinions, beliefs and sharp wit, for example creating an image of a tidy blue sky in the U.S being "rented from Universal studios", "...and so it rained for forty days and forty nights-that would be an English summer- in my opinion, it rained for over a year", amongst others. Barnes wrote his book from an unmistakeable atheist perspective, often ridiculing Christian beliefs and so-called Christians (whose vulgar actions I would not sympathise with, being a devout Christian myself) as well as true Christians. He did not believe in any sort of higher being, clearly stating that God was something man had created in order to worship something in the need of approval and a higher leadership, and believed that science and religion could never be compatible. I disagreed with that opinion- I've always believed science exists to expand man’s objective understanding of the surrounding physical world(s) and every mechanical thing in it, while religion exists to enhance man’s spiritual awareness, self-discovery, his nature, and his relationship/link to his Creator. They can quite efficiently exist side by side. However, I fully agreed with the meaning of human nature he proposed, as well as his belief of the reason love is needed on this Earth- precisely because it is not necessary, paradoxically. I felt that the most sobering part of the book was the ending, which practically summarised what he had explored in the book- and was rather bitterly, yet salubriously, sobering.