Rapid Book Reviews (3)

Three great books, and all for very different reasons!

A Little History of Philosophy by Nigel Warburton

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Genre: Philosophy, Non-Fiction

You would think that given this book charts the history and evolution of philosophy and the great philosophers that it would be insurmountably difficult to follow… and dull. However, you’d be wrong. Nigel Warburton pulls off an enormous feat and managed to make it a fun and worthwhile ride! This is the perfect book for beginners, easy to follow text, and the chapters on each philosopher is packed with very necessaries analogies to the brim. On the flip side, towards its final chapters, the book heavily focuses on the migraine-causing branch of philosophy, which is metaphysics, but that fault cannot be attributed to the author, as, holding a significant place in philosophy, it is essential for it to be covered. But it still gave me a headache… what do you mean does that table really truly exist? It’s right there… in front of our very own eyes! What more do you want?! It might work out better for you, but metaphysics was far too abstract for me. I guess if you’re into science, you might enjoy it, and I understand the importance of it, but I don’t… science. Still not sure how photosynthesis works.

Ah, Socrates. The bad boy of philosophy. Shockingly enough (!), I very much enjoyed the chapter on Socrates which primarily focused on moral philosophy. It reminded me of one of George R. R. Martin’s interview on Jaime Lannister pushing Bran out of the window. Is Jaime a ‘bad’ man for pushing Bran out of the window? What would happen if Jaime didn’t push Bran out of the window? Cersei would be charged with adultery, most likely executed. As would Jaime. Their children would be orphaned. A rock and a hard place. Those are the questions that Socrates asked, and its shades of grey influence can be felt in Martin’s work. It also reminded me of debating with my cousin (seriously, I cannot stress this enough, get yourself an INTP friend, you’ll have a blast! And be exasperated if you’re a Fi user).

Aquinas’s philosophy brought to mind Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind in that the arguments for the Big Bang are similar to those who believe in religion. What is the root cause of everything? I can’t eloquently explain my thoughts on this (I should have reviewed it right after I finished reading it!), but the arguments for the existence of a higher being bears a parallel to the arguments for the Big Bang theory: nobody truly knows the answer to how and whether space and time is infinite. Okay, I’m explaining this terribly. I’m glad that I’m not a philosopher. I’m sure those who love science will stone me for this paragraph. Apologies in advance, once again: I don’t science. At all.

A few other tidbits, I enjoyed Voltaire’s intellectual beef with what’s-his-face, you can also tell that I wasn’t impressed enough to remember his name, but I do remember it crossing my mind that his  philosophy came across as emphatically rainbows and unicorns spiel. More thoughts: while I respected Kant’s ideas and his ‘sense of duty’, his adherence to the principles of ‘never telling porkies’ I found disastrously extreme. In Islam, we are permitted to lie under three conditions one of which is when an individual encounters a life-and-death situation, another being to mend a friendship, I don’t know the other – enlighten me. It’s a whole lot more practical and understanding than what Kant tells us. 

Overall, I would highly recommend this. Bonus: do a buddy read and debate as you read. I can’t seem to find my copy (I penciled in notes), but if and when I do, I’ll be gifting my copy to the aforementioned cousin, and I cannot wait for him to drive me, pulling-out-hairs, mad.

Check it out on Goodreads.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

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Genre: Non-Fiction, Humour, Memoir, Biography

Doesn’t hold a candle to Mindy’s other book ‘Why Not Me?’ Why Not Me? was a light and fun read, had me laughing and contained an unforgettable section in which Mindy wrote a short romance story in the form of emails! Whereas, this is somewhat scattered, and you had no idea what Mindy Kaling would be talking about next. I’d recommend Why Not Me? if your sense of humour is light, silly and goofy, but if you enjoy dark humour – and I mean really dark – then Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me? would be the better option.

The first third of the book was so memorable though, and could be a reason why the rest just didn’t match the high standards that were set! Mindy writes about the journey to Hollywood and the writer’s room, how nobody was going to make space for her so she had to create space for herself, and I would recommend this to anyone who’s hoping to make it or get a break in their career. It was inspiring to read, and it planted seeds in my mind that sometimes there’s no space for you in the world unless you make it and take up space. And, for that reason, this book will stay with me forever.

Check it out on Goodreads.

The Story of Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson

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Genre: Children’s Fiction

Oh, my. Rereading this through an adult lens was grim. Growing up, reading and watching Tracy Beaker (a national hero for us British children), I could only see how daring, bold and imaginative Tracy was, and all the ‘Dumping Ground’ misery was glossed over by Tracy’s star persona. And now, as an adult, I admire her for completely different reasons. I admire Tracy’s determination, how bravely she stands her ground and persistently believes in herself. But, especially, I felt sorry for Tracy Beaker too. As a child, I hated Justine (though when I saw the real-life Justine drive by my school, I screamed out her name like my life depended on it… and she looked at us, me and my friends, in response, with a blank expression), but now I see that… Tracy was actually in the wrong! Even so, you can’t really bring yourself to *hate* her or *dislike* Tracy for it, instead, as an adult, you simply understand.

It’s tough out there, especially for children in foster care. And it doesn’t help that we have some members of society who say that they would never adopt young people because by then they’re already damaged… I mean I also heard this in a children’s charity about how they don’t want to deal with adults who are child sex abuse survivors because by then they’re already… well, you get the gist *but, boy, was that a shocker*. Opinions such as these only worsen the stigma. And really? People are afraid to adopt young people who just need some love?! How about a more fitting re-framing of the situation – you don’t have the emotional capacity for it, so stop shifting the blame onto young people in foster care for situations that are out of their control. Or just be quiet. 

Check it out on Goodreads.

To Sum Up:

A Little History of Philosophy – Socrates, yay. Do those tables really exist? Nay.
Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me? – There’s no space for you unless you make it.
The Story of Tracy Beaker – rereading through an adult lens? Oh, my.


A Little History of Philosophy: Which philosopher is your favourite? What are your thoughts on philosophy? Does the table exist?
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns): Dark humour or light humour? Which Mindy Kaling show is your favourite? What are some celeb memoirs you’ve enjoyed reading?
The Story of Tracy Beaker: Have you reread a childhood favourite and what was it like rereading through an adult lens? Are you a fan of Tracy Beaker? Should society take a more compassionate approach to young people in foster care?
Let me know in the comments!

Sophia Ismaa.

Connect with me:

-Let’s talk all things books on Goodreads
-Talk politics, books, TV shows, blogging and life with me on Twitter

32 Comments

  1. The story of Tracy Beaker, my primary school years consisted of her.
    I love the books and the TV series but the only mistakes I regret doing is showing it to my cousin…

    Her role model is Tracy Beaker now… *guilty but won’t tell*

    Amazing post and I’m gonna hopefully check out some of the books as soon as I find the time 😊

    Enjoy ur weekend x

    Like

    1. LOOOOOOOOOOL you’ve corrupted her! Is she pretending to have hay fever when she cries now? Those pesky pollen smh. Butttttt there’s nothing bad at all about Tracy Beaker, what a rockstar she is! And omg the theme song, you know Stormzy included it in one of his new songs from Heavy is the Head album. The theme song is still amazing and I was listening it to it a while ago, and I still love it! Definitely a wonderful pick me up song. ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I love the theme song!!!!

        The hay fever thing, she did try it once but her mother and I both suffer from terrible Hay fever so she knows we can easily uncover her and our family isn’t the oh we’ll the excuse go type of family we’re more like the cut the crap and tell the truth kind of family 😂

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        1. How is she going to lie about her hay fever to her mum LOL! Same here, but I think it’s changing, but definitely the older generation will look at you crying and say “stop crying” “how will crying help?” Let us CRY! 😔

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Omg how many times did I hear that from my peers when I was little I have lost count!

            I think that might be one of the reasons why as I grew up I stopped crying as much? It can be very annoying at times…

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            1. It’s weird how they think “stop crying” stops crying as we’re dogs being given a command! There was a meme going around of a daughter telling her father that she’s stressed out and he replies: “stop being stressed.” Thanks, cured.

              Oh noooooo! It’s good to cry, let it all out! You are allowed to be hurt, you are allowed to cry, but you aren’t allowed to ever give up. (Don’t quote me on this, I saw this on Pinterest. 😂)

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Ah, Pinterest where everything from Memes to pictures of 3D peppa pig exist. 😂

                Honestly, I think if it were my Dad he’d be like okay, breathe in, say Bismillah, pray and then go to your Mum.

                I love my Dad to bits but when it comes to stress and girl world he’s like ‘Thanks but no thanks’ 😂

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                1. Baha! Are you on Pinterest? Because you have got a lot of it right. The fights on Pinterest during the final season of Game of Thrones were hilarious – no holds barred! Swearing, anger, finger pointing… everywhere! Paha. If it was Quora or Twitter, it would have been reported instantly, but with Pinterest, everything falls under the radar. 😂

                  Aw, that’s actually really nice! He gave you advice, accepted his limits and signposted when necessary. Are you sure he wasn’t a receptionist for a charity organisation before? 🤔

                  LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL. Omg. Why are Arab people so funny. ‘Stress? Not for me.’ I NEED HIS SPIRIT IN MY LIFE. Omg hold on. Let me send you this: https://twitter.com/dal_mlsr/status/1227904099582017536?s=21

                  (That’s from Twitter. Arab Aunty trying to set up her niece. The politics, not shisha and dabke had me roaring).

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. That post 😂 I’m dying of laughter!!!

                    It’s so funny, it’s like all my uncles and aunts right there. They’re sat there going, “Inshallah we’ll see you in that beautiful white dress”

                    Me in my head, “Ha-Ha jokes on you I think romance is dead. Also I won’t be wearing a white dress!”

                    What comes out of my mouth, “I’m 14! Let me live!”

                    What comes of my Mum’s mouth, “Inshallah sometime in the future,”

                    What come out of my Dad’s mouth, “All men are idiots, they don’t deserve my daughters *turns to me* Focus on you education, get a good job, then think about marriage”

                    Just another day in an Arab household. 😂

                    My Dad’s more along the lines of, “I love you kiddo but there are somethings that are best left to your Mum,”

                    I am on pinterest actually! I joined a while back for fun and I’ve become addicted 😂

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                    1. LOOOOOOOOL I love the way they are nudging you not so subtlety. You guys do guilt-tripping differently. South Asian communities are very direct, it’s a straightforward: “when are you getting married?” They don’t do it in an English lit way, we do it in a more mathematical way. 😂

                      Paha, we’ll see about “romance is dead.” 😌

                      But your dad is amazinggggg. Omg, he’s so sweet and he is quite a feminist, huh? 😂

                      You need to download Canva too and make images, it’s so much fun. I’m mostly experimenting, but there’s so much you can do and make for Pinterest! ☺️

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. I will definitely check out Canva!

                      My Dad he would never admit he’s a feminist but all of my Uncles and my Dad would never stand for having an uneducated girl in the family. They probably push the girls to be successful in life more than the boys 😂

                      I’m in that age where Romance is cute on other people but for me *shudders* noooooo

                      Arabs… I’ve stopped going to weddings due to the whole, ‘Inshallah we’ll see you in a white wedding dress’

                      Why white? And why a dress? Well… I know why but still… 😂

                      I think the second most common phrase I hear at my age is ‘Inshallah we’ll see you in your graduation with your degree’ which I like but it puts pressure!!!!! 😆

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                    3. I think a lot of men, our fathers and grandfathers, are feminists, they just don’t want the label! Yeah, you can just feel their pride and happiness, can’t you? ☺️

                      Good! As your older sister in Islam, romance what? Woh dur ki baat hai. That’s a faraway thing. By the way! Kayfa haaluk? *lemme just flex my basic Arabic knowledge*

                      I … will need to see someone in a black wedding dress. At. Least. Once. Can you imagine the shock on every guests face? Parents fainting, nauthubillah… everywhere.

                      Yeah, I can imagine, it is a lot of pressure. Just Insha’Allah, may Allah (SWT) help you achieve your dreams.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    4. Ana bikair alhamdullah 😂
                      Awesome Arabic knowledge 😂
                      I agree I think our Dads, grandparents etc just grew up not knowing that what they’re supporting is feminism so they’ll never really identify with the label.

                      But also because they just can’t be bothered supporting anything other than their family 😂

                      Ah, a Black wedding dress I want to be at that wedding watching all the aunties gossip about it for weeks it’ll be an unforgettable wedding 😂

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                    5. Oh my God. Is it ana bikair? I’ve been saying ana BIN khair. Whoops. I am also confused which one either jamal or jamaal means camel because I know one is elongated.

                      And they never will identify with the feminist label, but you don’t really need to sport the label to be one! So now when someone says they’re not a feminist, but their actions prove otherwise, I’m calm.

                      I think this is where it differs maybe with South Asian communities because we really emphasise the community spirit, which I’m sure most communities do, but with South Asians (and black communities, I believe), to us it’s everything. By the way, have you seen that picture of the south Asian man being used as a hand sanitiser display in Saudi Arabia? I need to talk more about the relationships between Saudi Arabia and South Asians, we POC are so divided, so sometimes that label irks me because, other than black communities, the rest of us completely crap on each other.

                      I have a feeling that if my young cousin was to ever get married, she’ll go to her own wedding dressed in black sweatpants and a hoodie, this girl does not care about anything but her own comfort. 😂

                      Liked by 1 person

                    6. Oooooo I would so do the same as your cousin. My sister and I already decided that for my wedding I’m wearing a jump suit 😂

                      It’s really sad how we treat each other especially the Gulf areas like Saudi, Kuwait etc. Of course not everyone is mistreated there but there are a lot of bad eggs who don’t get shamed for what they do when they should.

                      One thing on me ‘If I know my death day’ Bucket list is to go up to a terrible world leader and just call them out for their horrible decisions and the way they treat others.

                      It’s shameful how Saudi Arabia cares more about its relationship with the UK and the USA than helping their fellow Muslim brothers and sisters in all of the countries struggling.

                      It is Ana bikair, Ana bin khair is saying I am the son of Khair (good) 😂

                      But I’m sure people got what you meant 😊

                      As for Camel, it’s pronounced Jamaal, but it’s not a very long ‘a’ but not a short ‘a’ either if you get what I mean… 😂 But both spellings work to be honest

                      Like

  2. I am so intrigued by A Little Bit of Philosophy! I have also heard great things about Mindy Kaling’s writing, but have yet to actually read any of her books. Thanks for your thoughts on these, Sophia!

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  3. Mindy’s book had me cracking up. It’s hilarious. Admittedly, I didn’t finish The Mindy Project. I got through maybe 2 seasons before I quit haha. Is it awful that I had never heard of Tracy Beaker until now?? I feel so out of the loop! Wonderful reviews as always 🙂

    Like

    1. I think I watched one episode, the pilot, but didn’t continue. 😦 Her humour is pretty deadpan which can be difficult for me to grasp… but her writing itself is great.

      Don’t worry, it’s more of a British classic! I would still recommend Jacqueline Wilson books – her books are middle grade – YA, and a lot of themes are hard-hitting, but you don’t really catch it when you’re young. I definitely want to reread her books! 😞 and thank you! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha yeah I totally get that. It got tiresome to me after a while.

        Oh, I love when that happens! Realizing things you missed when you were a kid. Granted, for me it mostly happens with music haha. You can make it a Year of Jacqueline Wilson!

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        1. I feel like it was Mindy chasing the cooler version of Ryan from The Office once again.

          Pahaha. You mean like Spice Girls and two becomes one? Because boy did I not realise what those lyrics meant until a few years ago and was completely shocked that I was singing those lyrics at such a young age. Roll on Dustbin Baby!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Sophia! A Little History of Philosophy has been on my TBR list for a while. Your review makes me want to move it up a notch or two. I did recently read a childhood favorite, Ursula LeGuin’s Earthsea trilogy. I enjoyed it as much as I did when I was a kid but found it to be much darker and more bleak than I realized it when I was younger. I’d not previously heard of Tracy Beaker, but yes, society must take a more compassionate approach to young children in foster care. Here in America especially, States must do a better job of monitoring and regulating the foster care system because it is riddled with abuse and injustice.

    It’s good to hear from you, Sophia. I hope you’re doing well.

    Take care, be well, and fight the good fight,

    Denny

    Like

    1. It’s definitely a book that you’ll enjoy, but I don’t know if you’ve progressed from the beginners stage, so a lot of might be old news to you. But it’s still fascinating to see how philosophy has evolved and diversified to adapt to a variety of factors that make up society. It would be interesting to see what you make of Immanuel Kant, he has some great recommendations, and some that are too extreme.

      My friend gifted me a copy of the first book in the Earthsea trilogy, and I’m going to get around to reading it this year because I’ve heard a lot of great things about it. Childhood favourites seem much darker when we read them as an adult, don’t they? I guess we know more of the world now, so our childhood ideals and dreams are shattered. I guess it can be pretty overwhelming because I’m sure, like many who pick up childhood favourites, we expect to return to that sense of innocence only to find that we had idealised it.

      It’s so tragic. I know that some of these children leave their homes to escape child abuse, only to end up being abused in foster homes. Who can they trust after seeing all of this? I worked for a children’s charity and the stuff that I heard really shocked me, but there are people in the profession who are genuinely working towards helping children and you people.

      It’s lovely to hear from you too, Denny. I hope you’re doing well too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m doing well, Sophia, thank you. Just trying hard not to get bogged down in all the pain & suffering I see around me & in the world at large. It’s tough sometimes. I know our relationship suffered somewhat last year because I allowed my growing frustration & bitterness to cause me to lash out at you. I regret my behavior toward you, am sorry for it, I apologize, and I ask your forgiveness. Thank you for having already forgiven me before I even asked for it.

        Take care, be well, and keep fighting the good fight!

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        1. I understand how you feel. Gotta truly cherish those moments of happiness we receive each day – mine is arts & crafts.

          Thank you for apologising and I accept your apology. I know you don’t have bad intentions, and I think, for me, I need to remember that some people mean harm & some don’t and that difference is vital – you are definitely in the latter camp. I’m glad we’ve resolved this & I have more respect for you now. I hope you’re well. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me? is on my March TBR! I hope I’ll find it as memorable as you have (I need a dose of “There’s no space for you unless you make it” right now), and I’ll make sure to check Why Not Me? soon.

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    1. I hope you enjoy it, the first third of the book is so inspiring, and I hope you’ll be able to draw some lessons from it like I have. Why Not Me? is a lot lighter, but people seem to like either one or the other, so I don’t know which you’ll prefer!

      Liked by 1 person

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