An impassioned plea to fully engage in the dance of life.

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How to Dance with the Universe

OPTIMISM WITH OPEN EYES

A Serbian-born engineer, now based in Vancouver, shares his views on how to have a harmonious, successful life in this hybrid self-help guide/memoir.

For Spasa, dancing is an apt metaphor for how people must respond to life: they must get into rhythm with the vibrations of the universe (which he sees as spiritual, collective energy, or what others define as God), requiring a special effort and focus, including an ability to adjust. In this debut guide, the author discusses his ideology within the context of his own life challenges, which include a failed first marriage, several critical health issues, and a fluctuating international computer/engineering career, acknowledging, “misery is the best motivator for moving upwards.” He emphasizes that one must embrace the concepts of abundance and the law of attraction yet also “to be optimistic with open eyes,” i.e., still attain education and training, be aware of and manage underlying fears, and fight inertia. He offers a “life energies” diagram showcasing the interplay of capacity, personal capabilities, and “objective problems” and details “eight pillars” of wealth management, stressing the value of home equity lines of credit. He also refers to his visit to John of God in Brazil, providing a replica of his photo that reveals an array of orbs surrounding that famed healer. Directing readers to more material available on his website, Spasa notes, “It is my hope that you will take the active role and slowly take the lead in your personal dance with your God, or my Universe.” Spasa brings a lot of heart and humility to his narrative, admitting, “I could never have imagined that I would have the strength and burning desire necessary to write a book.” His overarching message to be prepared as well as positive is effectively conveyed. He provides an illuminating example from professional tennis, where mental and spiritual strength can only boost essential foundational training. But the author’s far-reaching discussions at times become too digressive, including the mention that 9/11 “came right in the time to cover the gap for NATO existence.” 

An impassioned plea to fully engage in the dance of life.

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4602-7134-6

Page Count: 210

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: July 4, 2016

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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