In her debut collection of verse, Coleman investigates reasons for prayer.

There are a number of self-help and Christian inspiration books that look at prayer, but Coleman’s take presents a unique concept that stands apart. Instead of offering a listing of prayers or a “how-to” approach, the author asks readers to pray for people they don’t know and may never meet, with a poetic compilation of people worthy of readers’ sentiments. The idea came to the author soon after September 11, 2001; Coleman, who lost several friends and acquaintances that day, turned her thoughts to the many survivors and the depth of their suffering. Praying for strangers led her to a greater sense of interconnection with humanity, and she felt a distinct calling to care for people through prayer. Her short, poemlike descriptions of this wide range of people in need of prayer will evoke readers’ sense of compassion and justice: “A single dad with a family of daughters needs a prayer today. / He is trying his best but sometimes he is overwhelmed.” A variety of worthy subjects—victims of Agent Orange, hospice workers, struggling teenagers, girls sold into the sex trade, recovering alcoholics—all find a page in Coleman’s book. The author, who divides the book into chapters that provide a basic order to the collection, shrugs off convention and urges readers to use this volume however they feel most comfortable: “If you find a page in the book that resonates with you and you want to remain for a few days on that page, do so.” Non-Catholics may not immediately recognize the concept of the book from its title—the term “intention” in relation to prayer is an almost exclusively Roman Catholic usage—but this book will find a wide audience among devout readers. An unusual yet inspiring take on prayer. 


Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2011

ISBN: 978-1449725969

Page Count: 244

Publisher: WestBow/Thomas Nelson

Review Posted Online: April 2, 2012

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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 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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This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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