A thorough and largely convincing argument for the validity of reincarnation in the Christian worldview.

HE THAT HATH EARS…

A FRESH LOOK AT REINCARNATION AND OTHER MIRACLES, HOW THEY WORK, AND WHY THEY MAKE SENSE

A writer explores the connections between Christianity and various concepts of reincarnation.

Hook (Yankee Gone Home, 2017, etc.) believes that the Judeo-Christian Scriptures fully support a more or less standard view of reincarnation—that human souls migrate from body to body and time period to time period, with or without clear recollections of their previous lives. Traditional theological stances have tended to hold the opposite line, taking the key cue from biblical verses like this one found in Hebrews: “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the Judgment.” In counterargument, Hook goes straight to the heart of the matter, citing the Gospel of John, in which Jesus famously says: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” When, later in John, Jesus asks his disciples who the people say he is, they report one rumor that claims he’s Elijah reincarnated. The author is a true believer in reincarnation, asserting that “all pain and human sufferings are not due to mere chance, but rather to the consequences of misbehavior in past and sometimes current lives.” Hook seeks to convince readers that the doctrine of reincarnation represents a “path to union with the divine” that runs straight to Jesus (“The best news ever given to mankind”). The author believes that science will eventually be able to prove all of this empirically. This enthusiasm occasionally leads him to overreach, as when he declares that the scientific evidence for reincarnation has grown to the point of being “almost overwhelming” when in fact no impressive mounds of solid proof exist. But readers familiar with reincarnation literature will expect such overstatements, and the tone here is charmingly avuncular: The author includes friendly anecdotes as well as clear discussions of human physiology. Hook’s reading is extremely wide-ranging and energetic; Christian researchers and New Age fans alike should be captivated.

A thorough and largely convincing argument for the validity of reincarnation in the Christian worldview.

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9885796-6-8

Page Count: 188

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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  • Rolling Stone & Kirkus' Best Music Books of 2020

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor. One of Kirkus and Rolling Stone’s Best Music Books of 2020.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.

THE ART OF SOLITUDE

A teacher and scholar of Buddhism offers a formally varied account of the available rewards of solitude.

“As Mother Ayahuasca takes me in her arms, I realize that last night I vomited up my attachment to Buddhism. In passing out, I died. In coming to, I was, so to speak, reborn. I no longer have to fight these battles, I repeat to myself. I am no longer a combatant in the dharma wars. It feels as if the course of my life has shifted onto another vector, like a train shunted off its familiar track onto a new trajectory.” Readers of Batchelor’s previous books (Secular Buddhism: Imagining the Dharma in an Uncertain World, 2017, etc.) will recognize in this passage the culmination of his decadeslong shift away from the religious commitments of Buddhism toward an ecumenical and homegrown philosophy of life. Writing in a variety of modes—memoir, history, collage, essay, biography, and meditation instruction—the author doesn’t argue for his approach to solitude as much as offer it for contemplation. Essentially, Batchelor implies that if you read what Buddha said here and what Montaigne said there, and if you consider something the author has noticed, and if you reflect on your own experience, you have the possibility to improve the quality of your life. For introspective readers, it’s easy to hear in this approach a direct response to Pascal’s claim that “all of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Batchelor wants to relieve us of this inability by offering his example of how to do just that. “Solitude is an art. Mental training is needed to refine and stabilize it,” he writes. “When you practice solitude, you dedicate yourself to the care of the soul.” Whatever a soul is, the author goes a long way toward soothing it.

A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-25093-0

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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