Not quite a sermon, not quite a cautionary tale, not quite fiction, this fast-paced narrative blends hard-won experience...

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THE GOLDEN THREAD

An intimate account of how belief in God’s “golden thread” sustained a grieving mother.

Cates’ heartfelt debut memoir chronicles a nightmare experience that will likely make all parents want to hug their children. A few inattentive seconds driving (she tried to fix an eyelash jammed painfully in her eye) changed life forever for this wife and mother of two beautiful blond children. Cates and her 6-year-old daughter, Grace, escaped relatively free of injury when their car crashed into a gravel-filled dump truck. But sweet, 8-year-old Malak died, gravely injured by (ironically) the seat belt meant to protect him (too late, Cates and husband Chad learned he needed a booster seat, too). Described in dramatic prose and animated by reconstructed conversations, the heart-rending memoir often turns telenovela dramatic and full of gossip, making for a good read. Consequences pile up as fodder for this ruthlessly honest account that swings from self-pity to survival. Cates felt lost, “crawling up from a hole that went to the center of the earth.” She and her husband tried to regain past happiness by taking a dream family vacation in Bermuda. But a dark truth emerged that made her believe her “once picture-perfect story had slipped into a trashy novel” when Chad’s “internal inferno” of blame brought divorce. It’s a sad story, and she tells it vividly and emotionally, keeping the reader wondering whether she’ll surface with her faith intact. Ultimately, she traded her fairy-tale view of God and prayer for a more mature and nuanced belief in “God’s grace and mercy.” She also offers advice to look for signs of God’s reaching out via little things (in her case pennies, birds) connecting one’s life to God’s plan with “golden threads” of faith.

Not quite a sermon, not quite a cautionary tale, not quite fiction, this fast-paced narrative blends hard-won experience with renewed, reconsidered faith.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-1480811546

Page Count: 218

Publisher: Archway Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

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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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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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