A well-written and welcoming take on the traditional tenets of Western religion.

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The Celestial Proposal

OUR INVITATION TO JOIN THE GOD KIND

A passionate rereading of Christianity and the nature of personal faith.

Canadian author Rozek’s debut takes the form of an enthusiastic top-to-bottom re-envisioning of the Christian mythos. Rozek cites such influences as C. S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters (1942), Erich von Däniken’s Chariots of the Gods (1970) and the Christian-mystic writings of Zecharia Sitchin as she goes back to the Bible with fresh eyes and reads it anew in search of the answers to basic questions such as “Why am I here?” or “What’s the purpose of life anyway?” She views these questions as central to “the game of life” and tells her readers, “To get to the ultimate level, we must play it seriously with all the skills we have.” The schema of quasi–Judeo-Christian faith she derives from her readings is personal and interactive. She reminds her readers that the Bible is full of references to heavenly interactions with the lives of humans, and in her view, this is a necessary thing. “Our world today still needs celestial intervention desperately.” That intervention comes about at the behest of “the Great Ones”—“a collection of benevolent, celestial God-beings: the Source, the Son and Spirit.” She also spends a good deal of time on forerunners and servants, the supernatural beings known as angels. Rozek’s conceptual revamping of traditional biblical ideas ultimately appeals to the well-known Christian narrative: Jesus died as a sacrifice and as a living key to redemption. “By accepting the death of this Great One as a ransom for our freedom,” Rozek writes, “each of us can belong to something far greater than ourselves.” The book then broadens from this dramatized 21st-century recasting of the Messiah story to include some intriguingly wider suggestions for how the faithful of any denomination can find meaning: “The Great Ones know that in order for us to have abundant lives, we must first learn how to love.” Familiar concepts, sure, but Rozek’s unconventional perspective makes them seem invigoratingly new.

A well-written and welcoming take on the traditional tenets of Western religion.

Pub Date: Nov. 25, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-9919917-0-9

Page Count: 353

Publisher: Books of Life Publishing House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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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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