A sincere and compassionate work whose themes are sometimes overshadowed by flamboyant presentation.

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THE SHAPESHIFTER

A memoir of divine love that reads like a heady dream.

Debut author Navone writes that she’s had numerous visions and mystical experiences over the course of her life, but none surpass her extraordinary encounter with spiritual beings—“a group of Enlightened Masters from the Brotherhood of Light”—who, she says, gave her the means to write this book through the power of channeling. This “Divine Intervention” transformed her worldview, she notes, and had an overall positive impact on her life. Early on, she calls the tendency to live one’s life according to the whims of one’s ego “the Waiting Room.” She says that a person can live in a beautiful place, surrounded by luxuries, as she was, and still be in the Waiting Room if one has a “closed heart.” But a deep, powerful yearning for something greater, she asserts, can be the seed that grows into a divine revelation, allowing one to cast off fear and insecurity. The author traces her own metamorphosis from her first spiritual encounters to the channeling of this book. Readers follow her as she travels to many different places, including India and Brazil, on a quest to find sacred portals where she could receive divine messages. Eventually she found herself in Egypt, gazing in awe at the ancient pyramids, and there, she says, she worked feverishly on the book for long periods with little rest. Throughout this work, Navone writes passionately, her words filled with emotion: “Beloved reader, it is time to wake up and feel the immense power that already resides in each one of us.” Her descriptions of her time in Egypt, in particular, are rich with symbolism and heavy with meaning. As a result, it may take some effort on the part of the reader to cut through the flowery language (“I came to realize that Light is pure consciousness, that Love is what unifies all parts of us into Oneness; the universal glue that both binds us and dissolves all feelings of separation”) in order to understand the simple message within.

A sincere and compassionate work whose themes are sometimes overshadowed by flamboyant presentation.

Pub Date: April 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-939116-37-6

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Waterside Productions

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2019

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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

INTO THE WILD

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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