Authentic, accessible prose mixed with real insight.

THE LANGUAGE GOD TALKS

ON SCIENCE AND RELIGION

Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Wouk (A Hole in Texas, 2004, etc.) tackles calculus, the Talmud and cranky, cantankerous physicists in a poignant examination of science and religion.

In a crowded book market filled with self-serving and redundant theories about humankind’s place in the grand scheme, it is rare to encounter an original, honest, charming voice. Such is the case with Wouk’s latest work. The author’s journey began with an innocent but daunting challenge from the great Cal Tech physicist Richard Feynman, who, during one of their discussions of quantum mechanics, asked Wouk if he knew calculus. Wouk admitted that he did not. “You had better learn it,” Feynman replied. “It’s the language God talks.” What followed was an earnest search to master said language in an effort to grapple with the all-to-human desire to better understand existence. During his search, Wouk discovered that God is in fact bilingual. His second language is one the author, and other mere mortals who flunked calculus, have more than a passing knowledge of—the language of faith. Be it Judaism, Christianity or any other religion, Wouk demonstrates that the divide between science and religion can be crossed, and one doesn’t need a Nobel Prize to do it. However, there are no guarantees that you will find answers once you cross the chasm. To say that it’s the journey and not the destination that matters would be to understate the profound respect and awe the author shows for all those engaged in the search for life’s big answers, whichever language they speak. Wouk’s humility, humor and insight make the book a joy to read and a wonder to contemplate. What the book lacks in pages, it makes up for in soul.

Authentic, accessible prose mixed with real insight.

Pub Date: April 5, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-316-07845-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2010

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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THE WEIGHT OF GLORY

The name of C.S. Lewis will no doubt attract many readers to this volume, for he has won a splendid reputation by his brilliant writing. These sermons, however, are so abstruse, so involved and so dull that few of those who pick up the volume will finish it. There is none of the satire of the Screw Tape Letters, none of the practicality of some of his later radio addresses, none of the directness of some of his earlier theological books.

Pub Date: June 15, 1949

ISBN: 0060653205

Page Count: 212

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1949

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