Book Review – God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens

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I’ll keep this brief as it’s the sort of book that is either preaching (pun intended) to the converted or will be avoided like the plague depending on where you stand…

For me it argues many of the same points as Richard Dawkins The God Delusion in fairly much the same fashion wandering thorough the nature of the origin of religions,  why they exist, why people cling on to them and his thoughts about the damage they have done and continue to do.

I have “Arguably” (his enormous collection of collected pieces and essays) which covers a lot of the same ground as here so maybe that’s why some of what I was reading felt like a repetition of things of his I’d read before. I would point you towards “Mortality”, his short book written as he knew he was dying from cancer for some incredible meditations on the issues of death, dying and how you face it knowing that there’s nothing on the far side.

If you haven’t read him before though, and in particular his writings on organised religions, this is probably the place to start.

Just another potent reminder of what an incredible mind and voice he was and how his take on so many things was cut off cruelly and too early.

The Chris Cleave Book Club Public Interview

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He was an absolute gentleman, not only being warm, thoughtful and witty in his answers but hanging around after to sign books and then (despite just being back from a long book tour of North America) coming to the pub after to take part in the blind book swap!

One of our book club members said:

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A few shots from last night’s Rick O’Shea Book Club author interview and then, at the bottom, details of our next one…

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Rick O%27Shea Chris Jessie Burton

If you fancy coming the FB event page is here – https://www.facebook.com/events/498827280321501/

Launches, Ceremonies, Interviews – The May/June Version

Right so, time moves on and a couple of things update that you might like to come to…

Monday May 23rd:

Presenting the CBI Book Of The Year Awards 2016 – Smock Alley Theatre

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Tuesday May 24th:

The Rick O’Shea Book Club May Event with Chris Cleave.

I’ll be interviewing Chris about his career and his brand new book Everyone Brave Is Forgiven and then we head off for a few beers and a blind book swap to Against The Grain in Wexford Street.

All welcome but join the book club and stick your name down here if you’re coming – https://www.facebook.com/groups/therickosheabookclub/

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Wednesday May 25th:

Presenting the 2016 Social Media Awards – RDS, Dublin.

You know how that goes, right?

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Thursday June 16th:

Conducting the Bloomsday Interview 2016 with Michael Chabon & Ayelet Waldman – O’Reilly Theatre.

I’m honoured to be conducting this year’s interview to finish off Bloomsday 2016 with Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Michael Chabon and New York Times best-seller Ayelet Waldman in Joyce’s alma mater, Belvedere College.

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Friday June 17th:

Brand new radio show.

Tuesday July 5th:

To Be Announced (author interview).

Wednesday July 6th:

Launching Cat Hogan’s new book They All Fall Down – venue and time TBA.

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Come play.

You May Like These Craft Beers…

Another month, another few ideas for things you might like to stick in the fridge and then stick in front of you…

First off, a location. We ended up in The Villager in Chapelizod at a birthday party. Downstairs seems fairly ordinary but the upstairs has been completely revamped – full of cocktails, craft beers in bottle and a nice vibe. Worth a wander if you’re out there.

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Tried the first of the new Yellowbelly series of beers – you have to love whoever is doing their graphics for them…

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8 Degrees have a a new one, and yes they have.

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And a thought. I had forgotten just how sold the St. Mel’s Pale Ale is until I was in a hotel at the weekend and it was the only thing that caught my eye. Glad it did.

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Then a few other things were sampled too…

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More next month – you can read all the old stuff HERE.

Book Review – United States Of Japan by Peter Tieryas

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It’s one of the better work tropes of this part of the world in recent times – what if the Axis powers had won the second world war? More specifically, what if Japan was the ruler of America decades later and, in a setting not dissimilar to Philip K. Dick’s legendary The Man In The High Castle, life went on? It in, Beniko Ishimura is a government censor of video games, there’s a new, unapproved one in which the USA won the war and it may be part of a bigger conspiracy that threatens Japanese rule there.

It’s depiction of America in the latter 20th century under Japanese rule is great and very well thought out (look, anything that involves giant mecha is a winner in my book) and the alternate technologies that exist, some of them decades ahead of their time are quite cool. Aside from the flashy baubles the rest of the book is solid, whips along apace and gives you the daily reality of what it must be to live in a society like that well.

If it does have one thing letting it down it’s the premise itself. Unfortunately when you set yourself up in a world so similar in concept to one of the best known classics of alternate history SF, you’re always going to be compared to it.

Still, if you like your alt-histories this one is well worth a go.