An earnest remembrance that will be most appropriate for readers trying to strengthen their religious faith after the death...

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THE LOUDEST QUIET GIRL

MESSAGES OF HOPE IN A DARK WORLD

A mother’s memoir on losing her daughter to a tragic car accident.

On December 9, 2013, the author’s only child, Erin Rodriques, was 23 years old, planning her upcoming wedding, and starting a graduate degree program at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts. That day, she went missing: She didn’t show up for work at her relatively new job, or come home to her fiance, Josh. Her parents, the author and Abel Rodriques, formed part of a search party, and the next day, Erin was found to have died after her car crashed, upside down, in a local pond. Wedding plans were replaced by funeral plans. What happened, the author says, remains a mystery, but police reported that that the car likely skidded down an icy hill before flipping over. For the next five years, the author researched the details of her daughter’s life, and she offers a sort of scrapbook in this volume, which features plenty of black-and-white photos of Erin and her family members. Erin’s journal writings spoke of her growing Catholic faith, and the author recognized that that she now had to “walk the talk about the afterlife I claimed to have believed in all those years.” The book shows that when someone young dies suddenly, it has great effects on those around them, especially in a tight-knit college community; Erin’s alma mater, Assumption College, created a memorial garden for her. It’s hard not to feel for the author, who writes that she waited a long time to give birth to her only child, and she shows how much she wants the world to know her. Specifically, Rodriques says, she made it her mission to get Erin’s writing about faith into the world, and in that, she is successful. Some of the book’s content will appeal most to people who knew Erin personally. However, anyone who’s lost someone will be able to relate to the author’s search for signs from her deceased daughter.

An earnest remembrance that will be most appropriate for readers trying to strengthen their religious faith after the death of a loved one.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-72832-369-5

Page Count: 214

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 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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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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