A compassionate, creative and well-intentioned memoir.

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They Serve Bagels in Heaven

ONE COUPLE'S STORY OF LOVE, ETERNITY, AND THE COSMIC IMPORTANCE OF EVERYDAY LIFE

A memoir and treatise on faith, love, and life after death.

Weinberg (Love’s Eternal Marriage, 2012) presents a new edition of her book, first published in 2001, exploring the ramifications of her husband Saul’s tragic death in an automobile accident, which she survived. Shortly after the tragedy, Weinberg received a strong spiritual message telling her that she should “be loving and kind to everyone.” As she physically recovered and grappled with her grief, she encountered several mediums and spiritual healers who hinted that Saul might still be with her in spirit. She eventually found her way to a healer who claimed to have direct messages from Saul. In his messages, Weinberg says, Saul explained life beyond the grave, the nature of Heaven, and human beings’ true purpose on Earth: “Your soul purpose is the gift you came here to share with the human race, no matter how simple or grand it may seem,” he said. “It also involves the personal relationship lessons you came here to learn this time around.” For Saul and Irene, he said, this lesson took the form of multiple lives spent as soul mates, spanning major events of world history and the specific history of the Jewish people. These stories add narrative drama to a book that mainly serves to explain Weinberg’s ideas on how people can come to grips with the concept of life after death, and how they can live better lives on Earth. The prose is straightforward, with little literary or aesthetic embellishment, but it makes the ideas easy to understand. However, the author gives little attention to her own personal, emotional experiences, aside from the details necessary to set the scenes, and this somewhat obscures the story of her emotional journey. That said, this is a big-hearted, earnest memoir that shows Weinberg’s clear desire to help readers. Believers in spiritualism and life after death will find plenty of food for thought.

A compassionate, creative and well-intentioned memoir.

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2001

ISBN: 978-1493618668

Page Count: 160

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2014

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

OPEN BOOK

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.

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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