Related to: 'Bioethics: All That Matters'

Julie Sarkissian blogs about the problems facing the protagnist of her debut novel, DEAR LUCY

Something's Wrong With Lucy - But What?

Lucy is different – that much is clear. She speaks like a child, doesn’t recognize social boundaries, flies into rages, and treasures rotten food. Her cognition is impaired, her vocabulary is very limited and she cannot read or write. But what – precisely – is wrong with her is left up to the reader. Lucy is the protagonist of my novel, DEAR LUCY, and from the first sentence of the book I ever wrote it was obvious that Lucy was cognitively different. The way Lucy describes herself is as “missing too many words.” Her mother calls her “difficult.” Readers of early drafts of the book had a few theories as to Lucy’s condition; autism, Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome. But Lucy’s mother has kept her from going to school and Lucy has never seen a doctor. So in the fictional reality of the book there is no official diagnosis. But as the novel progressed I wondered – should I have one? I was torn. If Lucy was presenting enough symptoms to point to a real condition, was I ignoring the obvious not to fold that condition into my development of her character? Was it insensitive of me to allude to aspects of certain real, life-altering conditions but not assign a specific condition to Lucy? I worried about appropriating aspects of serious conditions without treating those conditions with proper respect and acknowledgement. And though any clinical diagnosis would probably not be explicit in the novel, I wondered if I would be ignoring an opportunity to bring attention to a real disorder when people asked me about Lucy’s condition, the way The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time did for autism. On the other hand, I had concerns that if I chose a diagnosis for Lucy, I would be ascribing to her qualities that she wouldn’t have otherwise presented. Lucy had her own will over my writing and over the novel. I didn’t want to yoke Lucy’s expression by keeping her behavior and abilities consistent with a clinical condition. Accuracy would also become a critical issue if Lucy’s condition was named. Ultimately I chose not to diagnose Lucy, though I worry the artistic freedom provided by that decision comes at the price of being judged for being too liberal with my treatment of cognitive disorders. Now that publication is a few months away, I am apprehensive of how my treatment of Lucy’s cognitive limitations will be judged. I have yet to talk to a reader who has a learning different child, or works with learning different people, and that conversation is one I will be honored, and not a bit anxious, to have.

Sceptre

A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women

Siri Hustvedt
Authors:
Siri Hustvedt

Internationally acclaimed as a novelist, Siri Hustvedt is also highly regarded as a writer of non-fiction whose insights are drawn from her broad knowledge in the arts, humanities, and sciences. In this trilogy of works collected in a single volume, Hustvedt brings a feminist, interdisciplinary perspective to a range of subjects. Louise Bourgeois, Pablo Picasso, Susan Sontag and Knut Ove Knausgaard are among those who come under her scrutiny. In the book's central essay, she explores the intractable mind-body problem and in the third section, reflects on the mysteries of hysteria, synesthesia, memory, perception, and the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard. With clarity, wit, and passion, she exposes gender bias, upends received ideas, and challenges her reader to think again.

Teach Yourself

Shakespeare: A Complete Introduction

Michael Scott
Authors:
Michael Scott

Your complete introduction to ShakespeareWilliam Shakespeare has been hailed as one of the greatest thinkers of all time, one of the world's finest artists, poets and dramatists. Shakespeare: A Complete Introduction introduces and explains the plays by looking at how they work, taking you on a journey through the genres of comedy, history and tragedy. The best known and most popular plays are discussed in detail and even plays in which Shakespeare may have had only the briefest creative and collaborative interest as a writer, get at least a mention. With material on his poetry and discussions on aspects of his life too, this truly is a complete introduction to Shakespeare.'A very lively and enthusiastic introduction to the full range of Shakespeare's plays' John Drakakis, Professor of English, University of Stirling'A masterpiece of the genre, written as it is with passion, without condescension, without jargon, thoughtful and open to changing critical theories, but always returning to the plays themselves, plays that fully reveal themselves most in performance.' Martin Wine, Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)

John Murray Learning

The Meaning of Life: All That Matters

James Garvey
Authors:
James Garvey

Perfectly respectable philosophical discussions can look ridiculous compared to questions about the point and purpose of life. Until we have an answer to the ultimate question, both philosphical debates and those ordinary questions that make up everyday life, are just games. The Meaning of Life: All That Matters will help you make sense of the confusion. Starting by questioning the question and looking at the views of great philosophers on life's meaning, James Garvey embarks on a thrilling journey through Augustinian belief in God's Plan, other, non-Western gods and religious answers, absurdity, nihilism, optimistic naturalism, what science has to say, the meaning of death and finally immortality. You may not find the answer within these pages, but at least by the end you'll have a better understanding of the question.

Teach Yourself

Plato: A Complete Introduction: Teach Yourself

Roy Jackson
Authors:
Roy Jackson

Written by Dr Roy Jackson, who Senior Lecturer at the University of Gloucestershire, Plato: A Complete Introduction is designed to give you everything you need to succeed, all in one place. It covers the key areas that students are expected to be confident in, outlining the basics in clear jargon-free English, and then providing added-value features like summaries of key books, and even lists of questions you might be asked in your seminar or exam.The book uses a structure that mirrors the way Plato is taught on many university courses, with chapters including: the pre-socratics; Socrates; who was Plato?; can virtue be taught?; piety; the philosophical life; obeying the law of Athens; the Soul; knowledge as recollection; the forms; Plato's state; education and morality; Plato and art; the Later Period; Aristotle, Plato's great pupil; Neoplatonism; Plato and religion; Plato's legacy.

Teach Yourself

Anatomy & Physiology: A Complete Introduction: Teach Yourself

David Le Vay
Authors:
David Le Vay
John Murray Learning

Leadership Genius

Rus Slater
Authors:
Rus Slater

The fast-track MBA in leadershipImagine having instant access to the world's smartest thinking on leadership - and being shown exactly what to do to guarantee that you become a better leader yourself.Leadership Genius makes it easy to apply what researchers know about brilliant leadership to the real world. 40 individual chapters focus on one or more scientific studies into a topic that you, as a leader, need to be aware of. Each of the chapters is a mini-masterclass in leading, explaining the research and showing you how to apply it in your leadership role.In business, conventional wisdom often says one thing while research says another. Leadership Genius cuts through the noise to bring you proven research and techniques for applying it that will simply make you a better leader.Quick to read and intensely practical, this book will bring a little leadership genius into your day.'An easy, back-pocket read for any serious business leader or manager' Lietenant General John Lorimer'An engaging, often humorous, and most certainly accessible observation of the art of leadership' Mark Heywood, Lloyds Banking Group

John Murray Learning

Presentation Genius

Simon Raybould
Authors:
Simon Raybould

The fast-track MBA in presentingImagine having instant access to the world's smartest thinking on presentations - and being shown exactly what to do to guarantee that you get your own presentations right, every time. Presentation Genius makes it easy to apply what researchers know about brilliant presentations to the real world. 40 chapters based on hundreds of cutting-edge business and psychology research projects reveal what works and what doesn't work when you're presenting. Each of the 40 chapters is a mini-masterclass in presentations, explaining the research and showing you how to apply it next time you present.In business, conventional wisdom often says one thing while research says another. Presentation Genius cuts through the noise to bring you proven research and techniques for applying it that will simply make you a better presenter.Quick to read and intensely practical, this book will bring a little presentation genius into your day.'This book will make you a better presenter' Paul McGee - The Sumo Guy. International speaker and bestselling author'What a great little book! There is something here for everyone. Experts will find new ideas (and some science) to test and polish their performances; novices will get a flying start with a whole range of presentation skills, which the rest of us had to learn by trial and error' Peter Judge, MBE, Attorney General of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands'An invaluable aid to anyone who wants to be sure to get information of any type across to audiences of all sizes' Dr Joanna Berry, Director of External Relations at Newcastle University Business School

Hodder & Stoughton

Existentialism: All That Matters

David Cerbone
Authors:
David Cerbone

WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO TO BE AN INDIVIDUAL?That is the question at the heart of existentialism and it informs this book's exploration of the existentialist tradition in 19th and 20th century philosophy.Existentialism: All That Matters considers each of the key figures - Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Camus and de Beauvoir - who all offer related, though distinct, conceptions of the task of becoming an individual.David Cerbone's book gives a fascinating introduction to existentialism and what matters most about it. ABOUT THE SERIESAll That Matters books are written by the world's leading experts to introduce the most exciting and relevant topics in an accessible, readable way. From Bioethics to Future Cities and Philosophy to Terrorism, the All That Matters series covers controversial and engaging subjects from science, philosophy, history, religion and politics. The authors are world-class academics or leading public intellectuals, on a mission to bring the most interesting and challenging areas of their subject to new readers.

Hodder & Stoughton

Not in God's Name

Jonathan Sacks
Authors:
Jonathan Sacks

Despite predictions of continuing secularisation, the twenty-first century has witnessed a surge of religious extremism and violence in the name of God.In this powerful and timely book, Jonathan Sacks explores the roots of violence and its relationship to religion, focusing on the historic tensions between the three Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.Drawing on arguments from evolutionary psychology, game theory, history, philosophy, ethics and theology, Sacks shows how a tendency to violence can subvert even the most compassionate of religions. Through a close reading of key biblical texts at the heart of the Abrahamic faiths, Sacks then challenges those who claim that religion is intrinsically a cause of violence, and argues that theology must become part of the solution if it is not to remain at the heart of the problem.This book is a rebuke to all those who kill in the name of the God of life, wage war in the name of the God of peace, hate in the name of the God of love, and practise cruelty in the name of the God of compassion.For the sake of humanity and the free world, the time has come for people of all faiths and none to stand together and declare: Not In God's Name.

Hodder & Stoughton

Buddhism: All That Matters

Pascale Engelmajer
Authors:
Pascale Engelmajer
Hodder & Stoughton

Euthanasia: All That Matters

Richard Huxtable
Authors:
Richard Huxtable
Two Roads

Eleven Days

Lea Carpenter
Authors:
Lea Carpenter
Coronet

The Science Delusion

Rupert Sheldrake
Authors:
Rupert Sheldrake

The science delusion is the belief that science already understands the nature of reality. The fundamental questions are answered, leaving only the details to be filled in. In this book, Dr Rupert Sheldrake, one of the world's most innovative scientists, shows that science is being constricted by assumptions that have hardened into dogmas. The sciences would be better off without them: freer, more interesting, and more fun.According to the dogmas of science, all reality is material or physical. The world is a machine, made up of dead matter. Nature is purposeless. Consciousness is nothing but the physical activity of the brain. Free will is an illusion. God exists only as an idea in human minds, imprisoned within our skulls.But should science be a belief-system, or a method of enquiry? Sheldrake shows that the materialist ideology is moribund; under its sway, increasingly expensive research is reaping diminishing returns.In the skeptical spirit of true science, Sheldrake turns the ten fundamental dogmas of materialism into exciting questions, and shows how all of them open up startling new possibilities.The Science Delusion will radically change your view of what is possible. and give you new hope for the world.

Teach Yourself

Understand Existentialism: Teach Yourself

Mel Thompson, Nigel Rodgers
Authors:
Mel Thompson, Nigel Rodgers

Is this the right book for me?Understand Existentialism breaks down a complex mode of thought into more manageable sections, enabling you to get to grips with the key concepts within the movement. Chart the origins and development of existentialism in a variety of disciplines and learn about significant thinkers from Sartre and De Beauvoir to Beckett and Camus. Whether you are a newcomer or more experienced student, this book will enhance your understanding of a brand of philosophy designed to give meaning and direction amongst the uncertainties of modern life.Understand Existentialism includes:Chapter 1: Introduction to existentialismChapter 2: Living dangerously: the roots of existentialismChapter 3: Between birth and deathChapter 4: Existence precedes essenceChapter 5: The authentic lifeChapter 6: Freedom, choice and responsibilityChapter 7: The individual, art and societyChapter 8: Existentialism and religionChapter 9: Authenticity and the absurd: the fiction of Sartre and CamusLearn effortlessly with a new easy-to-read page design and interactive features: Not got much time?One, five and ten-minute introductions to key principles to get you started.Author insightsLots of instant help with common problems and quick tips for success, based on the author's many years of experience.Test yourselfTests in the book and online to keep track of your progress.Extend your knowledgeExtra online articles to give you a richer understanding of the subject.Five things to rememberQuick refreshers to help you remember the key facts.Try thisInnovative exercises illustrate what you've learnt and how to use it.

Hodder & Stoughton

Ancestor

Scott Sigler
Authors:
Scott Sigler

Scott Sigler is the voice in modern horror - and ANCESTOR is the book that will have you checking under the bed... and starting at every bump in the night.Cancer. Obesity. The flu. Old age. They can all kill you - and modern medical science hasn't ever found a cure.Until today. On a remote island in the Great Lakes, an unusual group of scientists are using extinct DNA to create the perfect organ donor. It could save millions of lives and win Dr Claus Rhumkorrf the Nobel Prize he craves.The donor animal is genetically the ancestor of all species on the planet - but Nature wiped it out two hundred million years ago. Rhumkorrf and his team are about to find out why.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Selfless Gene

Charles Foster
Authors:
Charles Foster

In THE SELFLESS GENE, Charles Foster assesses the claims of Neo-Darwinists and Young Earth Creationists, demonstrating that orthodox Christianity is not incompatible with what evolutionary biology says about our world. The real issue, he argues, centres around the ethical implications of natural selection, and what such a system - based on selfishness, waste and death - might say about the loving creator God of the Christian faith. Intelligent, provocative and accessible, THE SELFLESS GENE offers the prospect of a reasoned dialogue between faith and scientific study, and a reconciliation of what are popularly seen as two opposing worldviews.

Sceptre

I AM, THEREFORE I THINK: Philosophers Answer Your Questions About Love, Nothingness and Everything Else ...

Alexander George
Authors:
Alexander George
Nicholas Brealey Publishing

The Biz

David Freemantle
Authors:
David Freemantle
Reading Group Guide

AUTHENTIC: RELATIONSHIPS FROM THE INSIDE OUT by Sarah Abell

Reading group questions intended as a guide for anyone wishing to go through AUTHENTIC: RELATIONSHIPS FROM THE INSIDE OUT by Sarah Abell as a group.

Chapter One: The House of Punk Sleep

WIDE AWAKE, by Patricia Morrisroe

Read an excerpt of the first chapter of Patricia Morrisroe's brilliant memoir about insomnia, WIDE AWAKE.