Reviews of books read last month: a book about ancient philosophy and three novels. 1. "Philosophy for Life and Other Dangerous Situations" by Jules Evans <http://www.amazon.com/Philosophy-Life/dp/1608682293> While using cognitive behaviour therapy to deal with an emotional crisis, the author found CBT incorporated many ideas from ancient philosophy. This book aims to show how we can learn how to live better and more fulfilling lives by learning from the lessons of Epicureans, Platonists, Stoics, Sceptics and other schools of philosophy. In addition to describing and critiquing these philosophies, the author highlights practical uses, such as in the military, business, the Occupy movement and psychology. The author looks beyond the individual to our relationship and responsibility to society as a whole. I found the book an interesting and wide overview of Western philosophy, and has kindled my interest to investigate further. 2. "Mr g: A Novel About The Creation" by Alan Lightman <http://www.amazon.com/Mr-g/dp/030774485X> The author, a physicist and educator, has written an updated story about the creation of the universe. Mr g, wanting a change from the bland and constant Void, decides to conduct an experiment. He creates a universe, which introduces new concepts such as time and space. Mr g sets out the laws which will govern the growth of the universe, including cause and effect. Eventually, intelligent life develops, and he must decide if and when he should intervene. Accompanying him are his Aunt Penelope, Uncle Deva, the mysterious Belhor, and his sidekicks, the Baphomets. The novel brings together the latest understanding of the origins of our universe with themes from other creation stories, religions and the author's own imagination. The novel reminded me of the "Cosmicomics" stories by Italo Calvino. 3. "One Hand Clapping" by Anthony Burgess <http://www.amazon.com/One-Hand-Clapping/dp/0786706317> This is a dark, satirical novel set in the 1960s in England. A young couple living in a council estate dream of permanent happiness. For a brief moment, it appears they've realised that dream. Howard works as a used car salesman, and his wife Janet works in a supermarket. They enjoy watching quiz shows on TV. Howard has a photographic memory, so he decides to go on a quiz show himself. Things look promising after he wins a thousand pounds. Through luck and shrewd gambling, he parlays those winnings into a small fortune. The couple are set for life, but things soon take a tragicomic turn. Not as well known as the author's classic "A Clockwork Orange", this novel is worth a read. 4. "Ship Breaker" by Paolo Bacigalupi <http://www.amazon.com/Ship-Breaker/dp/0316056197> This novel is set in the near-future, when major coastal cities have "drowned" following major climate change. A rogue faction of a global shipping company wants to use the owner's daughter as "leverage" in the boardroom. With the help of a loyal captain, the girl flees in a high-tech clipper. But they run into a "city killer" hurricane, and the ship gets wrecked on the Gulf Coast of the US. The ship is found by a pair of desperate scavengers, who must decide whether to help the girl, or turn her in to her pursuers for a tidy reward. This is a fast-paced novel packed with imagination. Mainly aimed at a young adult audience, this novel should appeal to anyone interested in a post-apocalyptic adventure.