Self-help meets memoir in this mishmash of influences offering spiritual direction and practical habits for healthier living.




Attar’s essays on self-fulfillment and creative exploration blend lessons from pop-psychology and spirituality.

In her debut memoir/self-help guide, the author borrows from religious and spiritual customs from India, Syria, Mexico, and the U.S., incorporates the work of Freud and Jung and other self-help texts, and recommends the basics—a good diet, exercise, and proper sleep hygiene. Various types of meditation in the traditions of both Buddhism and Christianity are explored, and the author notes that prayer, with its ritualistic repetition, is remarkably similar to meditation in its practice. Like many self-help authors, she urges readers to stay positive; by revisiting good experiences, positive thoughts can be enhanced and even replace self-defeating ones. The concept of the personal myth, or the “stories that explain and give meaning to the unique, individual events of our lives,” is introduced late in the work and encapsulates the author’s approach: Attar cherry-picks aspects from her many, and sometimes disparate, areas of interest to create a guiding credo. Eastern and Western philosophies and religions, modern psychology, Greek mythology, even tarot and other forms of fortunetelling are used as examples not just to teach and challenge readers, but also to frame the author’s own experiences alongside the text’s lessons. This meandering guide is a grab bag of exercises for mindfulness and exploration of the self that offers scientific evidence for the benefits of such practices, drawing from Andrew Newberg’s work on the study of religious experiences and behavior on the brain. The text cites other self-help resources, such as Tom Rath’s Eat Move Sleep and Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages, giving interested readers further areas of study. The sheer breadth of influences is at times overwhelming. Taken individually, the essays are concise and offer useful questions that aid self-exploration and can be revisited in any order.

Self-help meets memoir in this mishmash of influences offering spiritual direction and practical habits for healthier living.

Pub Date: March 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9864225-0-8

Page Count: 149

Publisher: Largeheart Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2018

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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