An intriguing and ruminative work documenting one man’s mystical odyssey in Jesus.

SUPREME REALIZATION

HEALING, JOY, PROSPERITY & PEACE: A JOURNEY INTO THE DEPTHS OF CONSCIOUS ENERGY

A man recounts his journey away from Jesus and back again in this Christian memoir.

Raised as a Roman Catholic in Sri Lanka, Nayagan left the church in his 20s due to what he perceived as its corrupt behaviors and unpersuasive teachings regarding the nature of God. Searching for answers to some of his questions, he explored other religious traditions, including Hinduism. That religion formed the center of a South Asian immigrant community in the United States—a community of which the author soon found himself a member—and in it, the young man discovered many echoes of those things that spoke to him in Catholicism. Eventually, these explorations turned him back toward the place he began: the Bible and the teachings of Jesus. What’s more, his renewed study of Christian texts drew him to seek a better understanding of modern science, philosophy, psychology, and medicine. Combining these findings with the resonant lessons he gained from Hinduism, Nayagan offers this spiritual work from someone who is not quite a Catholic. “This relationship with Christ, as my Guru, is the cornerstone of my being and the basis of this book,” writes the author in his preface. “This book is not a literary contribution, but the fruition of a journal written regularly about an unusual journey.” It is an examination of Christian mysticism from the perspective of one man’s spiritual path, but the author hopes that others may find within it signposts directing their own spiritual adventures. Nayagan’s prose is lucid and balanced, moving easily between textual criticism and more aphoristic statements: “God is not alternating between goodness and indifference. He is closest to us as we go through trials. When our sufferings from trials become intensified, the Lord invites us to speak to Him openly.” It’s an idiosyncratic book, and the many New Age flourishes—like the subtitle—do not do it any favors. In content, though, the work is a thoughtful, occasionally stimulating blend of Christian and Vedic ideas. It will surely appeal to a number of readers, particularly those who find themselves on the periphery of conventional Christianity.

An intriguing and ruminative work documenting one man’s mystical odyssey in Jesus.

Pub Date: May 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-08-788915-3

Page Count: 376

Publisher: Indy Pub

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2020

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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