An enjoyable, generously illustrated book that will stimulate readers to reconsider Gibran, his work, and his heritage.

KAHLIL GIBRAN

BEYOND BORDERS

Jean and Kahlil George Gibran chronicle the life of their famous relation in an updated—and greatly expanded—version of their 1974 book, Kahlil Gibran: His Life and World.

The authors’ subject, the Lebanese-American poet Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931), is unquestionably interesting, and this new edition of the book features plenty of new research and many more photographs—an important addition given that Gibran was also a visual artist. Gibran was a young boy when his father became involved in a political scandal in their home of Bsharri, Mount Lebanon. His mother took her children to Boston, where they lived in the Syrian section of town. Publisher and art photographer Fred Holland Day initially spotted Gibran’s talent for art, and he helped him learn English, sparking his interest in literature. By the age of 15, Gibran was creating illustrations for Day’s books and submitting to New York publishers. However, around the same time, he was sent back to Lebanon to study; his family feared he was too Americanized. The strong connections the authors have for their subject illustrate the deep ties of the Syrian people to their heritage. They are also excellent at explaining how the artist/writer lived a dual life: two languages, two careers, and both Arabic- and English-speaking colleagues. Gibran was lucky to find good mentors, including Day, fellow writer Josephine Peabody, and Mary Haskell, his patron. Haskell was his lifelong financial savior, but she also helped him translate his work into English while maintaining the feel of his thoughts. Gibran was always involved in groups of writers, Syrians, and politicians, and his strong feelings for his homeland were a vital part of his soul. Auguste Rodin called him the William Blake of the 20th century, and his influence is still felt today, most notably with the continued sales of The Prophet, which was published in 1923 and has never been out of print.

An enjoyable, generously illustrated book that will stimulate readers to reconsider Gibran, his work, and his heritage.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-56656-085-6

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Interlink

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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