May assist those looking for a bibliography of serious works about the afterlife.

Free Will after Life

A STUDY

This short read presents ideas and speculation about the nature of freedom in the afterlife, without delving into any one particular theory.

Brinkman’s debut collection of various views on the afterlife focuses on the possibility of free will for disembodied souls, astral bodies, spiritual selves or whatever is left after our flesh dissolves. For such a hotly debated concept, both within religious and secular contexts, the author believes there’s surprising consensus about what happens after death. She begins by discussing free will and consciousness, briefly summarizing various current and past philosophers and psychologists, New-Age authors and Eastern mystics. Brinkman doesn’t provide much context for engaging with these works; each author’s opinion is weighed equally, regardless of discipline or authority. In lightly addressing long-standing philosophical questions about the nature of the soul, as well as the arguments for and against free will, the first half of the guide seems incomplete. This weakens the foundation for the latter half, in which Brinkman discusses how New-Age and Eastern thinkers perceive the stages of the afterlife. Brinkman does offer her step-by-step opinion of what happens when we die. She invokes some familiar, even archetypal ideas, such as the judgment of the dead (here framed as a calm discussion with the spiritual self) and contact with various entities. Luckily for us, if we have lived a life without harming others, many pleasant afterlife activities may be available, as well as perfect homes and other amenities. Most of all, we will have time to make decisions about what we’ll do, including whether we’ll re-enter the physical world. The question of free will after death, however, hardly seems paramount in this worldview. The afterlife looks much like life itself, except better, without all the pain of the body or the problems of movement, physical health or sleep (though apparently, we may rest). Academics may consider the work unsupported, while New Agers may find the relentless citation of other thinkers to be tiring.

May assist those looking for a bibliography of serious works about the afterlife.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2013

ISBN: 978-1452568317

Page Count: 150

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2013

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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Fans will find comfort in Lawson’s dependably winning mix of shameless irreverence, wicked humor, and vulnerability.

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BROKEN (IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY)

The Bloggess is back to survey the hazards and hilarity of imperfection.

Lawson is a wanderer. Whether on her award-winning blog or in the pages of her bestselling books, she reliably takes readers to places they weren’t even aware they wanted to go—e.g., shopping for dog condoms or witnessing what appears to be a satanic ritual. Longtime fans of the author’s prose know that the destinations really aren’t the point; it’s the laugh-out-loud, tears-streaming-down-your-face journeys that make her writing so irresistible. This book is another solid collection of humorous musings on everyday life, or at least the life of a self-described “super introvert” who has a fantastic imagination and dozens of chosen spirit animals. While Furiously Happy centered on the idea of making good mental health days exceptionally good, her latest celebrates the notion that being broken is beautiful—or at least nothing to be ashamed of. “I have managed to fuck shit up in shockingly impressive ways and still be considered a fairly acceptable person,” writes Lawson, who has made something of an art form out of awkward confessionals. For example, she chronicles a mix-up at the post office that left her with a “big ol’ sack filled with a dozen small squishy penises [with] smiley faces painted on them.” It’s not all laughs, though, as the author addresses her ongoing battle with both physical and mental illness, including a trial of transcranial magnetic stimulation, a relatively new therapy for people who suffer from treatment-resistant depression. The author’s colloquial narrative style may not suit the linear-narrative crowd, but this isn’t for them. “What we really want,” she writes, “is to know we’re not alone in our terribleness….Human foibles are what make us us, and the art of mortification is what brings us all together.” The material is fresh, but the scaffolding is the same.

Fans will find comfort in Lawson’s dependably winning mix of shameless irreverence, wicked humor, and vulnerability.

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-07703-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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