A positive, emotional, and straightforward manual on Christian coping strategies.

BROKEN LENSES

VOLUME 2: SEEING OTHERS’ VALUE IN A WORLD OF DIVISION

A Christian guide focuses on leaning on God during life’s rock-bottom moments.

The heart of Bernath’s sequel is a holistic call for readers to embrace the kinder and more uplifting aspects of the Christian faith. In a series of brief chapters, she draws on aspects of her own life, including intervals of heavy drinking and a rape she suffered during her college years, in order to illustrate the kinds of setbacks and tragedies her readers may likewise encounter. Throughout her book, she encourages her readers to follow the healing tenets of the Christian faith they share and to let those precepts guide them in dealing with other people. At one point, she asserts: “When we devalue those around us, we don’t treat them as God treats them. Devaluing others makes it that much easier for mistreatment or abuse to occur too—whether the abuse is physical, sexual, verbal, or in any of its other forms. The destruction in this world that comes from abuse results from someone not seeing another as valuable as God sees that person.” Each of the manual’s chapters offers open, lined space for readers to include their own thoughts and experiences. All of the heartfelt sections continue the narrative throughline of God’s wide-ranging compassion. Bernath deftly illustrates this mercy by sharing the fact that God “made himself real to me in a tangible way,” helping her to overcome the nightmares that plagued her childhood. “Darkness has no power over light, just as Satan has no power over God,” she writes. “Satan’s darkness cannot overcome God’s light.” Readers familiar with this kind of Christian inspirational literature will be better able to reconcile the contradictions here—by the author’s own theology, if God is always watching, then he observes myriad serious crimes and doesn’t intervene. Likewise, when she claims “God will never ask us to do something he isn’t also willing to do,” she’s overlooking the fact that God isn’t willing to worship someone. Still, her upbeat message of hope and compassion will appeal to Christian readers.

A positive, emotional, and straightforward manual on Christian coping strategies.

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-63195-282-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Morgan James Faith

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2021

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 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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