A wise and uplifting manual of encouragement for readers seeking to take stock of their lives and shelve their bad habits.

THE MESSY JOYS OF BEING HUMAN

A wide-ranging motivational guide urges readers to embrace change in order to grow.

Rosenau opens her nonfiction debut with clear intent: Her book is for people who feel trapped in counterproductive routines and want to get “unstuck” from patterns of behavior that no longer (and perhaps never did) satisfy them. Sometimes, she observes, people get ensnared in how they see their own stories and how they view themselves in those narratives. “Doing that,” she writes, “can end up creating entrenched patterns that limit the ways we interact and the possibilities we strive to manifest.” In a series of fast-paced chapters that are written in an enormously engaging voice, the author attempts to look deep into the souls of her readers, seeking to know their real selves—how, as the old saying goes, they treat stray dogs and shopping carts. She professes to want to concentrate on how people deal with sorrow and joy, how they respond to the happiness of their friends even when they are in low spirits. “We’re all a little bit light,” Rosenau writes. “But we’re also murky.” She wishes to empower her readers to seize this dichotomy and begin a personal transformation that will be at various times fun and a tough slog. The author mixes her motivational insights with personal anecdotes and a heavy sprinkling of concepts from Jewish culture like yetzer hatov, an inclination toward the good (or bad, in the case of yetzer hara). But the book’s strongest running thread is its rich and warmhearted human empathy. “Understanding why we’re suffering doesn’t make it any easier or make what’s hurting hurt any less,” Rosenau reminds her readers while reassuring them: “You will have a solid sense of trust in yourself and your decision-making. You will feel your Yes in every part of you: body, mind and soul.” Readers feeling a lack of that self-trust will find a great burst of Yes in these pages.

A wise and uplifting manual of encouragement for readers seeking to take stock of their lives and shelve their bad habits.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-73253-375-2

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Riverview Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more