(Fiction: Thrillers, Fiction: General, Science)
In some ways Michael Crichton’s Next mixes genres in a way that Jurassic Park never did, unless you found that novel as funny as this one is!
A mixture of scientific thriller and comedy satire, Next takes a glimpse into the very near future (or is it already the present?) into the post-cloning world, where Dolly the sheep is a mere step along the way to a more bizarre and surreal world than we might care to imagine - a world where the legal, moral and spiritual implications of genetic engineering and scientific progress take on confusing, annoying and at times sinister shades! For in this world, genes are patented, and you will have a legal battle on your hands if you claim your genes as your own personal property! I will never forget the bizarre thoughts of the genetically modified parrot Gerrard - and who could forget Dave, the part human, part Chimpanzee hybrid who gets adopted by his creator’s family, and tries to pass as a (severely deformed) human child…
A very good read, although some may find the lack of action and the humour a little hard going compared to other Michael Crichton novels.
However, while Jurassic park is probably some way off in the real future, Next, as the title suggests, might be looking into a world of terrifying ramifications that is only round the corner!
The Art of Happiness - His Holiness The Dalai Lama & Howard C Cutler
(Psychology/Self Help, Psychology: Meditation, Metaphysics, Philosophy, Esoteric, Buddhism, Personal Development)
Happiness - everyone is searching for it, but how do we know that so few find it, truly? Probably by the continuous flow of self help books that reach the bestseller lists - achieve happiness through diet, image, riches, friends, travel, hypnosis, etc etc. Still more we look at the addictions around us and see people trying to gain happiness through drink, drugs, sex, power… The list goes on. In a world of truly happy human beings, there would perhaps be less conflict, less trouble. It is probably a tragedy in some ways that the Dalai Lama’s The Art of Happiness, co-authored with Howard C. Cutler, has sold so many copies and spawned a series of such books! For it speaks of so many who come searching, who have not yet found deep, lasting happiness, who still search for it and perhaps pick up this book.
Then again, those who read the book cannot fail to have their lives touched in subtle ways, helping not only them, but having knock on effects on others they encounter. One thing is certain - there is suffering (and that is one of the Buddha’s 4 Noble Truths) - but the fact that there is suffering also means an end to suffering, and in its place happiness, some kind of liberation.
The Art of Happiness is subtitled “A Handbook For Living” - but don’t expect 10 practical tips for getting through your day or for dealing with road rage! The authors, rather, take us through an organic journey of discussions and observations, experiences and considerations, giving rather a general direction which we may or may not choose to follow. As with much of Buddhism, there is no right or wrong, merely the observation that certain actions lead to suffering and some do not.
As probably the most famous Buddhist in the world, and an accomplished and learned man, the Dalai Lama could hide his message in lots of esoteric language and rituals; he is instead very human, bringing some of his Buddhist ideals and principles to us in very human and very accessible ways. In reading the book we gather the general guiding principles that lead away from suffering and towards our true purpose and birthright - the striving for, the right to be happy.
Kate Blackie is author of this blog. She attended National Cathedral School. She excelled in academics. She was a president of the student council. Kate also loves athletics, camping and basketball. Kate takes part in Essay Writer Contest which is held by Edusson.